Spiritual Growth

Scripture Memory

Postcards From Corinth


“A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this” (Deuteronomy 22:5) .

Strange as it may seem, this is the first verse of scripture I ever memorized. I mean, I didn’t put it on a 3 by 5 card or anything, I just thought it was amusing that this verse would find its way into the Bible and it stuck in my head.

Funny, I haven’t found much use for it in ministry over the years. Seldom have I been in a situation where a rebuke of cross-dressing was called for. But should the occasion arise, rest assured, I’m prepared.

I’m the type of person who remembers ideas and concepts. I have never been drawn to the practice of Bible memorization because generally speaking, I generally know what the passage generally says and where to find it in the Bible if I need to, at least generally.

But in a variety of recently tempting circumstances, I have begun to rethink my earlier arrogance. There are times when the gist of a passage is not enough. Reread this account of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness:

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:1-4) .

I think it’s safe to assume that Jesus knew the gist of scripture. Yet He quotes God’s Word itself to dispense with the temptation. While certainly a good reason in itself for memorizing scripture, I have found the exercise to go far beyond temptation in scope.

God’s Word provides a jumping off point for praise and worship, which the gist of passages doesn’t seem to do. The memorized Word renews the mind, leading to a transformed life. In Romans 12:2, Paul says not to be conformed to this world, but instead to be transformed. How? By renewing your mind and seeing life from God’s perspective (truth) not the world’s perspective (lies).


There are alot of memory systems out there and I’m sure there is merit in all of them. It isn’t so much the system you use as it is staying with the program. That said, here is a very basic plan for how to memorize Scripture.

  • Read the verse through several times thoughtfully aloud.
  • Using natural phrases, learn the topic, reference, first phrase and so on...
  • Write out the verse as part of the learning process.
  • Review the verses frequently throughout the week. A good goal is 2–3 verses per week.
  • Review the verse you memorized once a day for seven weeks. Then continue to review that verse once a week for seven months.

That may seem like a lot to keep track of, but if you use the attached Tracking Sheet (download the PDF) it’s pretty simple -- especially if you make Scripture memory review a regular part of your daily Quiet Time.


Well, for starters, memorize verses that you find especially meaningful. Then you might want to think about memorizing verses in some of the following categories, so as to be equipped with the Word of God for any and every good work the Lord may call you to.

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