Memorizing Scripture

By: Caleb Walden

Jesus ends the Sermon on the Mount with this statement: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24). To build our houses on the rock symbolizes a life that is not easily shaken, a life that is resilient, a life that can stand against adversity and trials. But the way we get this life is by putting Jesus’ words into practice.

The only problem is that, in order to put Jesus' words into practice and build this solid foundation, we must first know God’s Word. Second, we must remember His words even in the middle of everyday life.

The most effective way I have found to do this is to memorize God’s Word. Bible memorization is when we pick verses, sections, or books from God’s Word to burn into our brain. The goal is to be able to repeat them anywhere and anytime even without a Bible in front of us.

The reason Bible memorization is so effective is because we take the perfect Word of God—that was given to us to guide us, refresh us, and teach us—and we make it a literal part of our brains and thought patterns. When we memorize Scripture, our brain changes because we start to view life through the lens of what we have memorized. We can’t help but be led to put Jesus’ words into practice because what we have memorized constantly leads us to obey in every moment.

To memorize Scripture is not something the church just came up with. David wrote in Psalm 1:2 that blessed in the person who meditates on God’s Word day and night. In Matthew 4 when Jesus was being tempted by Satan, three times Jesus quoted Scripture from memory to fight the temptation. He didn’t have a Bible around. Jesus had the verses memorized, and it gave Him the power to obey even in the midst of temptation.

So, when it comes to putting Jesus words into practice and building our lives on the solid foundation of God’s Word, remember:

• Bible Memorization makes God’s Word a part of you.

• Bible memorization is following the example of Jesus.

• Bible memorization gives you power to fight temptation.

My favorite author Dallas Willard wrote, “If I had to choose between all the disciplines of spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs.”

Let me give you two ideas on how to get started memorizing God’s word:

1. Literally surround yourself with the verse you want to memorize.

In Deuteronomy 11:18, God says, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” It was a practice of the nation of Israel to actually wear Bible verses on them at all times.

A great way we can practice this today is to print out the verse and put it in our mirror so we can read it every morning as we get ready. We can tape it to the steering wheel of our cars and read at stoplights (not during traffic—I don’t want to be responsible for your wreck!). We can put it on our desk at work, or set it as our screen background. The point is to read the verse as many times as possible in a day until it becomes memory.

2. Download the “Bible Memory” App.

You should be able to find this in the app store of your phone. It costs $10.00 for the complete version, but it’s worth it! The app works by downloading the verses you would like to memorize and then having you type the first letter of each word. It then slowly takes away words until you can type out the first letter of every word without any hints or help. 

This has been the most helpful tool in my own life, and it is very accessible. Instead of turning to social media or answering emails when you are supposed to be off the clock, you can open up your Bible memory app and make the Word of God a part of you.

To end, I want to give you a few chapters I suggest memorizing if you don’t already have something in mind:

• Philippians 2

• Colossians 3

• Romans 8

Best wishes on your memorization journey! And if you ever see me around, let me know how your memorizing is going.

Caleb Walden is a youth pastor at Shepherd Church, the church that he grew up in. He has a passion for teaching the gospel and helping people learn to actively live out their faith. In his spare time, he loves to go mountain biking and to drive his Jeep with his wife.