No time to memorize

When I begin to talk with someone about Scripture memory, the most common pushback is “I’m just so busy—I really don’t have time to add anything to my schedule.”

Soooooo… are they assuming that my schedule is all freed up, providing hours-on-end to memorize God’s Word?

Hardly the case. I too, cringe at the thought of adding anything to my schedule. But memorizing Scripture is compatible with a busy life.

When people with jam-packed lives neglect time in God’s Word, it leaves them unprepared for the battles of the day. Activity from dawn to dusk, often results in a parched and guilt-ridden soul. For this reason, busy people need Scripture memory more than people who have time to read their Bible every day.

Memorizing passages serves busy people well, because contrary to what most people assume, it takes very little time to memorize and review because you can do it while you do other things.

So where can Scripture fit in? Let’s take your morning routine. Even overachievers take a shower, dry hair, shave or do make-up, brush teeth, make coffee and/or breakfast, and then drive somewhere to work. That’s probably at least one hour.

Those repetitive tasks that don’t require concentration, fit perfectly with memorizing Scripture. Keep your verses on the counter in your bathroom, kitchen and car. Saying a Bible verse out loud, phrase by phrase, breathes life into drab mornings, and invites God into our day. Adding new verses each day enriches the experience and broadens the understanding. Meanwhile you’ve showered, coiffed and dressed—no extra time required.

When you’ve already got passages memorized, what can you review in that one hour?

• Psalm 121 takes less than one minute to review.
• Psalm 139 takes 2 minutes.
• Most chapters take 2 – 3 minutes.
• A five-chapter book, like James or 1 Peter, takes 15 minutes.

I can hear voices saying, “But I listen to the news when I’m getting ready in the morning.” Without apology I say, “Make the great exchange. Trade the bad news for the good, trade man’s words for God’s.”

As the day flies by, capture dead time to fill your heart and mind afresh with thoughts of God. Redeem wasted moments on your daily commute, waiting at the red light, the printer, the drive-thru, the carpool line, the pharmacy. Bible apps on your phone give you access to God’s Word any time. Exercising, and walking the dog— two other activities that work well with Scripture memory. A few minutes of Scripture here and there throughout your day transform idle time into a conversation with God. No one should be too busy for that.

I’d love to hear from the community. How do you fit Scripture memory into your busy life?

17 comments to No time to memorize

  • Richie

    What a good practical “how to” reminder. Drive time is my best chance to review as I am usually alone and at least 15 minutes from my destination. It beats the bad news in the radio any day!

  • Dear Janet, you have said it all so well, I can add little to your words; memorizing must be a desire of the heart, felt deep in the chambers of one’s heart to saturate life with His most precious Word.
    Thank you for touching so many lives with your example, and may we be in prayer for many during these difficult times in which we live, to draw their strength from memorizing His Word in their hearts.
    God be with all.

  • Lynette Nobles

    I am nearing the end of Titus 2. I can sense the Satanic tendrils reaching out to steal my joy and quench my desire to hide His word in my heart. Thank you so much for this encouragement today!

  • Patty


    Thank you for the encouragement of how easily we truly can find the time to do what is more important.

  • Chérie

    Washing dishes, making meals, folding laundry, driving, driving, driving, driving….

    My youngest we adopted has to go to several therapies each week, and I must make use of each of those 50 minute intervals for errands. (Doing errands with a 10 year old boy with special needs is not a good idea). Driving to and fro however, there are all kinds of mini-memorizing moments.

    When people tell me they “don’t have time” to memorize, I say these same truths that Janet has shared. Turn off the news. Don’t worry, the important stuff, —which isnt good anyway will find you. 

    If you are serious about wanting to memorize, and you still don’t think you have the time, try this:
    Get a piece of paper and make 3 columns. For 24 hours, write down exactly what you do in the 1st column, and how long each item took in the 2nd column, and what you were doing with “your mind” in the 3rd column. At dinner, you may be interacting with your family. Write that down. After dinner, you might do the dishes or load the dishwasher. What was occupying your mind during those few minutes? Did you reach for the radio, the TV button, or iTunes? 

    There isn’t ANYTHING I’ve given up that wasnt worth giving up to have so much of scripture etched in my memory and as Maureen put it “saturated in the deepest chambers of my heart.” (so awesome…gonna remember that one)

    • Love your words of exhortation Cherie. I’m actually on my way out the door for 2 errands, about 15 minutes of driving x two. By the time I get home I should be able to have covered many chapters. Why waste drive time? Communing with the Lord keeps me focused, eternal-minded and sooooo grateful.

  • Tony

    It seems that I’ve “READ this recipe” somewhere before. 😉 Thank you for the reminder.

  • This was great. Thank you for the encouragement to keep pressing on. I started using pockets of time at work for review. I’ve found creative ways to review and doing the review elevates my mood. The interesting thing that I didn’t anticipate was when coworkers asked what I was doing. I told them I was memorizing the book of James. Every single person in the restaurant where I work has asked the same question: “Why do you want to do that?”
    It made me realize how much we take for granted. We know the “whys”, we know the good it brings and we still avoid doing it.
    It’s been awesome to have them asking me questions about something so life altering.

    • Wow, I love hearing this. I too have been asked by strangers, and when I tell them “I’m memorizing Bible passages” they kind of look perplexed and dumbfounded, but maybe they think about it later, who knows? So proud of you Jackie, KEEP GOING!

  • Amy Calvetti

    I’m thankful for the timing of this topic. Two weeks ago my minister passed away suddenly at his home. Thirteen months ago we lost his wife in a car accident. Losing him brought a lot of grief back for him and for her. Since last April, when I started memorizing scripture, God has blessed me with his words during my times of sorrow. Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”. This passage has come to my rescue the most. God has shown me this truth in my life. That all joy and peace will be mine IF I trust in him.

    So tomorrow I will try to get back on the horse and review what I have already learned. After that I’ll take on what God leads me to next.

    PS. Janet, I’m excited to get to hear you speak in Brookfield, WI March 7. Can’t wait!!

    • Amy, such great sadness, and a mighty verse to put your hope in. May God’s Word sustain you and His presence reassure you. We serve a God who knows our pain and offers a refuge for our souls. How wonderful that you are coming to Elmbrook Church on March 7.

  • Kristy Z.

    “Make the great exchange. Trade the bad news for the good, trade man’s words for God’s.”

    You couldn’t have said it better, Janet. So often I find myself using spare minutes (like my two little ones’ nap time!) to check the news online. I tell myself I need to know what’s going on in the world, but really, what does that do for me? Thanks for the encouragement! I’m working on 1 Peter now. 🙂

  • Catherine

    Janet thanks for sharing this with us as we journey together in hiding God’s word in our hearts. And yes, what a beautiful exchange in so doing. I am a very busy mom of 2 little kids, but its very true as you stated, most of the times our minds are free. I have added a little to your guidelines; when my mind seem to soak in a lot or I am not physically and mentally busy, I take advantage of those moments and add quite a lot of verses, instead of 1 verse a day. And then take a lot more days or weeks reviewing and studying in depth. For example, I did Psalms 100 in one sitting- I knew most of the verses though, and Psalms 121 I also knew most of the verses and did it in one night. Actually I did Psalms 121 in bed when I realized I was not quickly falling asleep; and what beautiful truths there were pondering at night!

    • Thank you Catherine, I love tips from our community. It is amazing how much can be memorized in one sitting. Think about all the cramming we did in college. As long as we review later, otherwise it flies away.