New Year, New Challenge

The new year snuck up on me and January is half over. I wrote some goals but I’m a little slow on implementing them. How about you? If you want to memorize something this year, and I hope you do, let me offer some suggestions for Scripture memory goals depending on your desire and experience. Choose as many as are helpful to you.

JUMP IN AND GET WET. If you’ve been inspired to memorize a passage or book of the Bible, it’s a great time to take the plunge. Begin with Psalm 1. With only 6 verses, it’s quick, motivational, and it only takes 1 minute to review. Start with verse 1 and add a new verse each day. When completed, review for another 6 days, then review once a week. Now you’re ready for a new project. I suggest the book of Titus, or another short book. Psalms are also easy short projects.

RECAPTURE WHAT YOU’VE LOST. If you memorized a book in the past, but lost it because you didn’t review, don’t beat yourself up about it. Go back and pick it up. You’ll be amazed how quickly it will come back, especially the early chapters.

DIFFERENT AUTHOR. If the books you’ve memorized are all Paul’s letters, branch out to James, or Peter, or John, or another author.

NEW GENRE. Try a different genre than you’ve done before. If you’re accustomed to doing letters, consider expanding your base:
History – e.g. Ruth, portions of Acts, Esther
Prophets – e.g. Isaiah passage, Habakkuk, Jonah, Haggai, Malachi
Proverbs – chapters 1-9, and 31 are thematic and therefore easier than chapters 10-30
Gospel – take a portion, Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) or Upper Room (John 13-17)
Poetry – Psalms, Song of Songs, Isaiah 40
Parables – prodigal son Lk 15, good Samaritan Lk 10, the sower Mk 4

STRETCH YOURSELF. If you’ve been memorizing for many years, choose a longer book that inspires you or intrigues you. E.g. Romans, Hebrews, Revelation, 2 Corinthians, Acts, a Gospel. Make a plan to break it down (e.g. 1 chapter every month or every other month). Longer books can be a multiple-year project.

STUDY AT THE SAME TIME. For years my routine was to memorize a book first and then study it. Now I’m studying and memorizing at the same time. This does take considerably longer because you can’t study while you drive. Go with what works for you.

FIND A PARTNER, someone you can recite your verses with, or someone who also wants to memorize. It’s not necessary that you both memorize the same passage or the same version.

JOIN A GROUP. There is no end to the encouragement and inspiration of a group. Find two friends who want to memorize and you have a group.

Be careful as you set goals. Unfulfilled goals can discourage you later by heaping unnecessary guilt and self-condemnation. If you’re just starting or if you’re a Scripture-memory dropout, take small steps so that you can develop new habits. Train yourself to capture dead time in your day when your hands are busy but your mind is free.

My Scripture memory goals for this year include reviewing all my old passages and books, and taking on a new project, 1 Corinthians 1-4. And maybe a psalm or two, not sure yet.

I’d love to heart about your memorizing goals for this year. Tell us what you’re memorizing so we can get some ideas and be inspired.

29 comments to New Year, New Challenge

  • Beverly Schlomann

    My goal is similar. I am picking up and “renewing” some past passages, and then one new psalm a month. January is Psalm 56

    • Hi Beverly, Review is so important, otherwise we lose it. I love the one psalm a month. I’m going to look up 56 right now because it doesn’t come to mind. And I love finding new gems in the psalms. Thank you Beverly, and bless you and your efforts in 2017.

      • Beverly Schlomann

        I love the example of what to do when facing opposition and the unknown. Praise God. Praise His word. Know that God is for me. Take my fear to a trustworthy God. Don’t be paralyzed but continue to obey. And praise God –first and last.

  • Thanks for these suggestions, Janet. The new year is often the perfect time for people to try memorizing for the first time, or to return to it again, so this is much appreciated. I’ll be sharing it with my Hide His Word Facebook group. We start memorizing Psalm 121 together next week.

  • Holly

    I do! (want to memorize something new this year). The new year and new goals are so exciting. I’m eyeing Jonah. Haggai was the first Old Testament book I memorized so it would be nice to memorize another.

    After I memorized Haggai, I read Lynn Austin’s three books, The Restoration Chronicles. Oh my! They are historical, Biblical fiction and follow very closely to the Bible accounts of Haggai, Zerubbabel, Joshua the high priest, Ezra, and Nehemiah with mentions of Daniel, Esther, and Mordecai. It was exciting to read what I had memorized, placed in its historical context. The books gave me an even better understanding of what I had memorized. Hope it’s okay to share that 🙂

  • Angela Hogan

    Hmmm…I don’t know what passage to work on next. …just looked at my list and think I’ll start 2 Peter 1. I know what I REALLY need to be doing is individual verses and I’ve started that recently and just have the hardest time with it. I’d almost rather learn a whole chapter just to have the one verse memorized! That’s not because it’s so much easier or bc I’d get context, but I’m just terrible at pulling small verses and references out of my memory. What I mean is, there’s no flow of thought so it’s harder to go from one to another and know what you need to review. Any advice or encouragement? I know I need to do it and I’m avoiding getting back into it because it’s “not as much fun”—I know, that’s not a good reason.

    Anyhoo, thought I would mention a really fun, easy to learn memory project I found on Youtube and just taught to the teenage girls at our church. The video is called “How to Remember the Book of Acts” and it was put out by Stillwater Bible Church in OK. It’s like “Walk Through the Bible” but just with the chapters of the book of Acts. For example, you say the number of the chapter and then a rhyming trigger word that helps you remember an important event from that chapter. For example, 1–Son (Son ascends), 2–Dew (Holy Spirit descends like dew at Pentecost). 3–Knee (Peter and John heal a lame man). It has hand motions and is really FUN and you’ll likely never forget the events in Acts again! Anyway, just a thought.

    • Hi Angela, As far as memorizing individual verses, I agree that its much harder than doing a passage. I am not opposed to memorizing individual verses if that is what people want to do, but I don’t think its “required”. For me, its more motivating to do a passage. In fact, I only memorize passages so I really don’t have any tips for how to make it flow. Perhaps others can jump in with their suggestions.

    • I watched part of the You Tube video. It’s a helpful way to remember where things are in the book of Acts. Thank you for passing that along.

  • Shelly Larson

    Janet, as always, your comments about Scripture memorization are helpful and encouraging. Thanks for investing in spurring us on to know the Word and allow it to penetrate our minds and hearts, bearing fruit! I agree with you that it’s a great idea to review work we’ve memorized in the past–it comes back so quickly with a little attention. Over Christmas, I reviewed my Romans memory work–it so inspired me that I told a friend and she has chosen to learn Romans 8!
    Meanwhile, another friend and I are working through 1 Peter–what a difference that accountability makes! And what a difference 1 Peter is making in my life. Like you, I’m studying as I go–very helpful!
    God bless all who are making new commitments to memorize His Word this year!

    • Shelly, Most of the people in my scripture memory group are there because they were inspired by someone else to memorize. Hearing God’s Word lights a fire in us, and there’s such joy in watching it spread.

  • Laura de la Hoyde

    Well I just read your book and decided to do Titus… I live in France, and i whatsapped a group of friends in different places in the world to see if they wanted to pitch in expecting a lot of “no”s but we are probably 12 now and all working on it together! I am so encouraged, and it has been a blessing to us all!

  • Carmen Cole

    You can study while you drive! I recite my passage in the voice memos of my phone, then when I drive I let it play and recite along with it.

    • Hi Carmen, so great to hear from you. Love your suggestion. I memorize while I drive but I’ve never tried recording it on my phone. Thanks for sharing that.

  • Carolyn

    Hi Janet… I started Colossians before Thanksgiving and the Holy Spirit just has me tarrying here in Ch 1.
    I, too, study as I memorize, presently in conjunction with a yearly Bible study of the Gospel of John and Scripture review. I am always delighted as the Lord weaves His Word together and into my heart. Thank you, thank you for sharing your love of God’s Word in your book. It has been my pleasure to share it with others. I’m part of a group called WOW (Women of the Word) that meets 2x monthly now after reading your book together. It is such a blessing!

    • Hi Carolyn, so glad to hear about your group. For me a group keeps me accountable, and our meeting is always so inspirational just hearing the word recited. thanks for telling us about it.

  • I only found you in the last couple of months… Our womens group has just started studying the book of 1 Peter. I thought it would be easier to memorize a book as I was studying, but it seems to be more challenging than expected. However, I’m looking forward to how much more intimate I’ll be with this book, but also with the Father who inspired it. Thank you for your message!

    • Hi Teresa, There are several ways to combine studying with memorizing, but its also worth considering that by memorizing a book you are getting an in depth study on its own. You’re covering every single word! Some people study before they memorize, some study after they memorize (that’s my old method), some find that memorizing is a study in itself. Work with what works for you at your stage of life. No matter how much time we invest in God’s Word, the benefits are infinitely more. So glad to hear from you.

  • Ruth

    I am thinking about starting 1 John. We are going to study it in our Sunday School class starting next month. I always have a hard time deciding what to learn next because there are so many things I want to memorize! I have been reviewing 2 Timothy, which I learned in the fall, and Matthew 1:18-2:23, which I did in December. If anyone is interested, Scripture Memory Fellowship is starting a program for memorizing the Sermon on the Mount or the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20 this month. I did their 2 Timothy Project in the fall and enjoyed it. You can see their website at

    • Hi Ruth, Thanks for all that helpful info. One word of caution on 1 John. It is an incredible book with rich truth, but memorizing it is challenging. There are 9 “dear children” and 6 “dear friends” (in NIV) and sometimes your mind runs back to the other dear friends. I memorized it more than ten years ago and I still get confused. I’m not saying don’t memorize it, just be aware that it can be tricky with the repetitive phrases.

  • Ruth

    Thanks for the tip. I actually had thought about memorizing 1 John quite awhile ago and didn’t because of the repetition. Sometimes it helps me if I notice that before I start and figure out where the confusing parts are. I guess I’ll try, and if it’s confusing I’ll try to learn what I can from it and not be too hard on myself. 🙂

  • Catherine

    Nice to read encouraging words from you Janet. I have a lot to do- picking up from where I stopped, and do it allover again. I will be starting with Psalm 1, then Psalm 121. I did not consistently review, so I lost most of it. I had also started on the book of Titus. I will start over again on Titus once am done with the 2 Psalms, trusting God to finish strong.

    • Don’t be discouraged Catherine. Memorizing something the second time, it will come back quicker than you think. Press on dear sister.

  • Shan

    Hi,Janet, thanks for your New Year post! It’s been 2 years since I heard you on the radio and started memorizing Scripture again. I have done several wonderful chapters and passages such as Ephesians 1 and 2, Romans 8, John 17 and a number of Psalms. But I’m still wanting to get 52 key passages under my belt. A few weeks ago, I decided to group two related passages together to review in a week to 10 days. I started out with I Cor. 6:19-20 (…you were bought with a price…) and I Peter 1:18-19 (…you were ransomed from the futile ways…). That seemed to help in remembering both the passages and the references. The same week I also reviewed Eph. 1 and focused on the weak links (vs. 8,9, 19). For some reason, I haven’t given up on memorizing 52 key passages because I find it so helpful either when I listen to preaching or try to admonish myself or share with others. Thank God for another New Year and new beginning 🙂 Happy New Year and Happy Scripture Memorization to you and your granddaughter!

    • Hi Shan, 52 passages is a great goal. Don’t let that overwhelm you, just take them one at a time. It is amazing how much we can accomplish over time if we keep at it. I’ve been on this memorizing journey for 25 years now. There’s so much more I want to do, but I’m sure time will run out before I get to all of them. The main thing is to keep Scripture in your heart and mind throughout the day so that you can walk closely with God. I’m so thrilled to be part of your story. God will also use you as a fork in the road for someone else. Press on dear Shan!