There’s no doubt that memorizing Bible verses is difficult for many people (myself included!). A big aspect of the challenge for me has been that I haven’t been very methodical about memorizing. I’d simply repeat a verse a few times and hope that it stuck, with no plan for review. Going about memorizing halfheartedly like this is a recipe for discouragement and–ultimately–failure.
Effective methods for memorizing Bible verses always involve an intentional approach to internalizing new verses and reviewing old ones. Don’t think that there is a magic formula out there for doing this without putting in the hard work.
You’ve got to commit to the process and show up daily.
Here are three ways I’ve found to effectively memorize Bible verses.
1) The John Piper method (verbal repetition)
I first heard about this simple way to memorize passages from the Bible on an episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast. Dr. Piper bases his approach on this booklet by Andy Davis.
For this method, you simply read the verse you’re memorizing ten time aloud, looking at the page. Then you say the verse ten times aloud without looking. Done for the day!
The second day you say your old verse ten times again for review, and follow the same procedure as before for your new verse.
On the third day say yesterday’s verse ten times, then the previous days’ verses together, then the standard procedure for your new verse. So once you get going, the routine is like this:
- Yesterday's verse first (10 times)
- Old verses all together (1 time)
- New verse (10 times reading aloud, 10 times without looking)
This the method I use primarily and I love it for its simplicity and structure.
2) Memverse (online software/typing/game)
Memverse is a great piece of software. I have used it extensively and really enjoy the benefits of memorizing this way, because it turns the learning and review process into a sort of game. You start by typing out the words to your verse. Each time you type it out, the software removes a word or two which you fill in by memory. You continue for several rounds until you’ve learned the verse.
There are “badges” and awards for you to unlock, charts to track your progress and time spent on memorizing, as well as an automatic review system. There’s also a built-in community for encouragement and inspiration.
If you spend a lot of time at your computer and think it wouldn’t be hard for you to discipline yourself to log in daily, this could be the way to go for you.
3) Index cards (the classic!)
Using index cards for memorization is a useful way to bring your verses and passages with you every where you go, without necessarily carrying around your whole Bible.
To learn a verse, write it out on one side of an index card. On the other side, write the reference. Use this like a flash card, saying the verse until you know it well and can recite it just from seeing the reference. You would do this each day for a new verse and keep your stack of cards handy for review.
As the number of verses you have memorized grows, you may need to organize your cards and review schedule with a small index card binder or file box.
Here are some free Bible flash cards that you can print at home
What methods have you used to effectively memorize Bible verses?