“Memorize a chapter of the Bible every month” might have been a little optimistic for my New Year’s goal. Four days into January, I was already behind on my plan to memorize the first chapter of John before the end of the month. I knew how to memorize Scripture. The problem wasn’t my technique or my ability. My failure to memorize Scripture was due to my reliability. Every morning, I reviewed my verses and made what was little more than a stab at memorizing them. I read them. Quoted them a few times. Put them away as quickly as I picked them up.

How to memorize Scripture: Soak your heart with its truth

What I didn’t do was soak my heart in their truth, and that’s why they didn’t “stick.” One morning, I read through the first twelve verses of John 1 again.  The second time I read them through, the third verse came alive.

“All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:3) nasb

All things.

How to memorize Scripture: Apply it to your life

Does all mean all? The image of barbed wire instantly popped into my head. Barbed wire? Does Jesus care about barbed wire?  I pondered that crazy-sounding question a moment and read the verse again. If all things came into being by Him, and Scripture says it did, did barbed wire come into being by Jesus? In a manner of speaking, yes. He made the person who invented it, of course, as well as the mind out of which the invention came.

The thought wasn’t as random as it seemed. I was building a barbed-wire fence at the time but hadn’t quite finished it. Does Jesus care about the fencing wire so prevalent in the Southern U.S.? Yes, in multiple ways. He cares about the people who make the wire, build the fences, and stretch the wire. He cares about the animals for whom those sharp barbs provide security and protection, too.

Does Jesus care about all my concerns?

My second thought was about current trouble in the Middle East. My heart broke over recent governmental decisions there. I prayed at length about the situation and begged everyone who’d listen to join me in intercession. Occasionally, my prayers sounded a little accusatory, as if God overlooked the events that gave me such pause.

“What about there, Lord? It’s a mess right now,” I asked. 

All things.

Those two simple words resonated in my heart. Governments are established by God and have their authority with the permission of God. (Romans 13:1) He moves the heart of the king like channels of water. (Prov 21:1)

He knows.

God knows about the corruption in governments, crack-downs on religious freedom, and the persecution of believers. He knows about my friends who fled for their lives from their homeland.

Nothing escapes his notice. Nothing will be wasted.

It wasn’t the answer I wanted. My desire was for God to roll up His sleeves and wade into the battle. I wanted God to do things MY way, instead of His own. It’s a problem as old as creation.

We want our way instead of His.

How to Memorize Scripture: Embrace Nevertheless

My barbed wire pondering led, in a roundabout way, to “nevertheless” about a few things. “Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done.” (Luke 22:42)

The simple act of surrender to His will instead of mine brought me to the place I needed to be with Scripture memory. Suddenly, the verses came alive. “The light shined in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it” made perfect sense. None of the efforts of believers in the painful place of persecution were wasted. Light shined, but the darkness didn’t comprehend, exactly as John 1 said.

The importance of Scripture memory is not in the act of repeating words until we can say them by rote. The value comes when we allow the Word of God to invade our hearts, reveal truth to us, and change us. 

Scripture memory was much easier after the Word of God came alive in my heart, took root, and began to grow. 

How to memorize Scripture: Three Easy Steps

Do you want to memorize Scripture? Do you want the Word of God to come alive for you? If we “hide it in our hearts” and nurture it as we would seed in our garden, His Word will grow into full-bloom beauty in our lives and make us more like Jesus than ever before.

Don’t strive to gather a bunch of words. Instead, strive for the truth that transforms.

How to Memorize Scripture in Three Easy Steps:

  1. PLANT: Don’t tackle an entire passage at once. Choose one verse at a time and marinate in it. Repeat it throughout the day. Try writing it out several times to increase familiarity.
  2. WATER: Study the verse. Look up commentary on the passage.
  3. LIGHT: Ask God to help you understand and know its truth. Allow it to invade your heart and life until the truth becomes a part of you.

When you “know” the verse because you’ve lived it, move to the next verse. Don’t rush. Allow God’s word to do its powerful work in your heart.

Scripture becomes a part of your heart when you allow it to change you. It becomes a part of your life when you use it on a daily basis. Don’t stop with one perfect recitation of your goal passage. Continue to practice aloud weekly, then monthly, then every few months until your passage is a permanent part of your life.

“Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done.” Luke 22:42

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16

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How to Memorize Scripture

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Will We Make Room for God in Our Lives?

How to Trust God in Hard Times

Repentance: It’s Not Optional

On Being Beloved

Daffodils: Harbingers of Hope 

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How to Memorize Scripture

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