Well, there is actually no one right way to memorize scripture. Like in education, everyone learns differently. Working with the Youth Bible Quizzing ministry for 6 years, I have seen so many different kinds of kids, with all the learning types and even several with learning disabilities. ALL have successfully learned to memorize. I truly believe that ANYONE can learn to memorize verses.
At a high level, learning styles include – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (actions/touch) and most people are probably a combination of them. All these types can be incorporated into memorizing verses.
Here are some ways that I have seen kids learn their verses and tips picked up from current and former quizzers:
- read over and say aloud, repeat, repeat,
- memorize and then write them out
- record yourself reading the passages, and then listen on your iPod
- listen to someone else recite their verses
- memorize by the first letter of each word of the verse
12 Tricks to Help Memorize
- Memorize the verse reference – the number is a key or hook in your brain. For example, Romans 1:17 is the verse tht led Martin Luther to his belief in justification by faith. In my brain, this verse comes with a mental image of a picture I saw of Martin Luther.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
- Find connections – connect the last word of one verse to the first word of the next verse by some association or find repetitive words or a rhythm in the phrasing: note the words tongue and fire repeated here as well as the mental picture created by James’ wording here (James 3:5-6):
5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
- Clear your brain – after memorizing a verse or a passage, say your A, B, Cs or sing a song and then go back and say the verse again, similar to clearing your palatte for a tasting.
- SLEEP – get LOTS of sleep – sleep is related to storing the things you learned that day into your permanent memory
- Draw – draw a picture of the verse (works for the gospels more so than the letters).
- DRAMA – recite the verses in a dramatic way, either as if you are the writer (ie. Paul or Jesus) saying the words, or as a preacher or with a British accent or something to help lock it into your brain
- SING – sing the verse to a tune that you know
- Acronyms – make acronyms when the verse contains a list – GAP helped me remember this verse (Romans 12:2) – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is Good and Acceptable and Perfect
- Visual – many kids say that they know what the words look like on the page, and where the verse is on the page, where the paragraph breaks are etc. So keep using the same printed text. Use coloured highlighters to identify people, places or things.
10. GUM – chew a particular flavour of gum when you are memorizing and then chew that same flavour of gum when you need to recite the verses.
11. Stuck in my head – let the words roll over in your head the way that song lyrics do throughout your day.
12. Write them on the walls or mirrors at your home – this is from when we were memorizing Romans chapter 8 earlier in the year. It’s dry-erase marker on the bathroom mirror.
Try different things to see what works best for you. I always tell people that memorizing is like training a muscle, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
I would love to hear other memorizing tips – please share and let me know what works for you!