Here I present 7 of the most frequently asked questions about memorizing books and passages. And I invite all of you to add your two cents to any of my answers, and then ask any other questions you have. Together we can spur one another on.

Where should I begin? Psalm 1 is the perfect place to start. The content motivates because it addresses the one who is blessed because he meditates on God’s Word day and night. Review will be simple requiring only one minute for all six verses.

Which version of the Bible should I memorize? Any version of the Bible works, but it will be easier for you if you memorize in the version you are the most familiar with.

How can I make sure I don’t forget what I’ve memorized? A system of review is absolutely critical and each person should find a system, or devise their own, that works for them. A simple suggestion for beginners: After you finish memorizing a book/passage, pick one day of the week, for example Monday, that you will always review that book. After you finish your next book/passage you will assign that one to another day, let’s say Wednesday. Follow this pattern for your first 7 books/passages. Other suggestions are in chapter 9 of my new book (2013), page 129.

If I memorized a book years ago, but then I forgot it, should I go back and pick it up or start something new? It’s totally up to you but it will be easier than you think to pick it back up. If it took you 6 months the first time, it will probably take only 3 months to relearn it. And you will not feel defeated that you lost it. Make sure this time you have a review system in place.

Can anyone do this, memorize an entire book, or just some people? I would say the vast majority of people CAN do this. The human brain is designed to learn by memorizing. Granted, some people are better at it than others. But don’t let that discourage you. Just because you can’t run a marathon doesn’t mean you can’t walk around the block. Not everyone will memorize Revelation, or want to. We can all memorize the 23rd Psalm.

How can I possibly fit in memorizing to my already packed schedule? I hear you! Most memorizers that I know also have packed schedules. My advice is to learn to incorporate Scripture memory into things you are already doing: your morning shower routine, exercising, walking the dog, commuting to and from work, household chores, waiting here and there. Find pockets of time in your day, a minute here and a minute there—we all have them. What I found was that eventually my love for memorizing caused me to drop some things from my schedule that weren’t as enjoyable or beneficial.

How many verses a week should I take on? This is also up to you to find the pace that works for you. First, let me remind you of one the goals in memorizing—to keep God and His Word in your heart and mind throughout the day. Therefore, it’s important to take on enough verses so that you force yourself to run to God’s Word throughout the day. For example, if you only do one verse a week, this doesn’t keep you meditating on God’s Word day and night. And you’re not establishing the habit of capturing those dead moments for God’s Word. I do one verse a day until I finish a chapter and then I take a week or more to review what I’ve learned before moving on to the next chapter.

There is not one way to memorize. Since we have a community of memorizers I welcome your input to balance out my suggestions. Different methods work for different people. And, feel free to ask any follow up questions, or any new ones!

7 comments to FAQ

  • JaneMB Scott

    I like to memorize a complete thought or sentence at a time rather than a verse – sometimes this will be a verse but often it’s a little bit more.

  • Chérie

    More often than not, I get a comment instead of a question, and the comment is always the same..,”I wish I could do that, but I don’t have TIME”… 
    It’s hard to verbally prove that they DO have the time, but its currently being used up with radio/TV/iPod or worse…worrying while their hands are busy. 

  • Vickie

    With the chapters I have worked on, I find it effective to work on sections of verses that go together and I sort of name them in my head, for example in John, chapter 1, when John gets questioned by the Pharises starting in verse 19, in my head, I’m working on the “interrogation” verses. I’ll do several at a time, until that section gets set in my mind. I love it and can just picture those moments in my mind. John so establishes who Jesus is in that chapter. I want to be able to share this clearly with unbelievers, so memorizing this chapter is so important to me. All of the “and they asked…and he answered” are the best examples to use in evangelizing. When we are asked we must be ready to answer and having His Word memorized is the best preparation. Also wanted to say I review during my driving time. Onlookers may think I’m talking to myself, but I don’t care, ha!. And I stopped playing “brain” games on my electronic devices, I believe memorizing scripture is the best brain exercise ever!

    • That’s so helpful Vickie. Thanks for sharing. I think a lot of us memorize while we’re driving. It’s a great way to redeem the drive time.

  • Josh

    My problem is with review; I have trouble keeping my mind on it for a long time, and after a few verses, my mind is on another topic, often relating to the verse I just quoted. Thus getting through a whole book takes a long time! I know no one who is willing to listen to me quote the whole letter to the Philippians, so there’s no help there…

    The complaint I hear is, “I can’t memorize.” Yet people memorize hundreds of popular songs, movie quotes, and other useless things, just by repetition.

    I have a question: how are we to decide what to memorize next? There are so many good things, it’s hard to choose one to commit to for the next 2 months (that’s how long it takes for me to memorize around 100 verses).

    • Hi Josh, You asked what to memorize next. I did a blog post on that question and you can find it in the archives – “What should I memorize next?” September 25, 2013.
      Also, a good way to review without your mind wandering is to have the passage printed out and then recite it, using another piece of paper that covers the words and then you move it down one line at a time. You can print any scripture passage from http://www.biblegateway.com or from any other bible website. Another great resource is http://www.Scripturetyper.com You can type in your passage and it will show you if you made mistakes.