What good is bread if you don’t eat it?
If we want to live, we have to eat.
The Bible tells us that “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deut. 8:3)
But what good is bread if you don’t eat it?
Physically, we eat by chewing and swallowing. Spiritually, we eat by reading and memorizing.
And just as we do not eat one slice of bread on Sunday, expecting that to sustain us for a week, we should not be satisfied to read a few verses here and there and be done.
A better way to eat our Bible is by memorizing it.
Why you need to memorize large chunks of the Bible
Memorization allows you to better understand what you read.
It protects you from destructive mindsets (if you’re meditating on Scripture, you’ll be too busy to entertain negative thoughts).
And it gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to remind you of relevant verses right when you need them.
On a practical note, it’s easier to remember twenty verses in a row than twenty unrelated verses scattered randomly throughout the Bible.
And by memorizing entire books and chapters, you can more easily recall verse references without relying on a search engine.
Ready to start memorizing?
Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Even if your end goal is to memorize a large chunk of the Bible, the process requires you to take one step at a time.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. And continues with another. And another.
Unless you have seven-league boots, you’re going to have to keep taking one step at a time for a long, long time.
But as long as you persist, you will look back one day and be stunned at how far you’ve come.
To facilitate persistence, don’t wear yourself out too soon.
Aim to memorize at least one verse, but no more than three per day, every day (depending on the length of the verse). You want to make sure you have each verse down before you add more.
Memorizing the Bible is like building a house. You must make sure every level is solid before you try to build the next one.
Write your verses on an index card
The best way to memorize is to use as many senses as possible to solidify your memory. Handwriting helps you engage three of your senses: visual, kinesthetic (movement), and tactile (touch)
Writing your verses on an index card and adding to it day after day will help your brain remember. It will also increase your motivation as you see how far you’ve come.
Plus, an index card is small and fits anywhere — as a bookmark in your Bible, purse, wallet, pocket, anything.
And if you lose it, no worries! Writing another index card will just give you extra practice.
Speak out loud
Hearing is another important sense to help you remember verses.
When you start a new verse, say it out loud as often as you can. Experiment with volume and word emphasis.
(For example Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Trust in the Lord with all your heart).
As you are driving, washing dishes, or doing any other mindless task, say your verses out loud. That will help familiarize your mouth and ear to the feel and sound of the words.
Pay attention to details
Don’t settle for paraphrases. The more you force yourself to memorize the details accurately (including every “filler word” like: and, or, that), the less likely you are to forget the verse.
Besides, you never know whether or not the seemingly unimportant words are actually critical to the verse’s meaning.
When you memorize a verse or two a day, adding to what you’ve learned the day before, you will end up knowing verses 1–10 like the back of your hand and find yourself stumbling on 11–20.
To avoid this, review the verses backward.
In other words, when you are reviewing your verses, memorize verse 10 out loud. Then speak verses 9–10 out loud. Then verses 8–10, then 7–10, and so on and so forth.
By the time you’ve reviewed your verses all the way back to verse 1, you will have reviewed verse 10 a total of ten times, verse 9 nine times, and so on and so forth, ensuring that you will give yourself enough practice with the latter verses.
If you’re particularly fond of technology, check out Scripture Typer. This is a helpful free app that allows you to memorize verses by typing them out on your phone or computer.
Incorporate your other talents/hobbies
A fellow respected Medium writer, Janis Cox, is a gifted artist. She often posts pictures of illustrated Bible verses. Not only are the illustrations beautiful, but I’m also sure they help her (and those who see her work!) remember the verses as well.
As for me, I have a background in music, so writing Bible verse songs like this one helps me to memorize verses.
Involve other people
Meals are more enjoyable when shared with others. So if you have friends or family who are willing to memorize with you, enlist their help!
In college, my friend and I memorized one verse a day and met up once a week to recite the verses to each other, discuss what they meant, and update each other on life. Not only did we form a great relationship, wbut we alsomemorized an entire book (James) in one semester. It was fun and we felt accomplished and supported throughout the semester.
A final word
Not eating makes you physically weak. Not reading God’s Word will do the same, spiritually.
But if you memorize the Bible, you will never starve — because you’ll always have a supply of “snacks” stored in your mind to nibble on.
The key to Bible chunk memorization is not to sit down for five hours, stuff your brain with an entire book, and then ignore the Word for the rest of the week.
Instead, memorize (and review what you’ve memorized) the way you eat — several times a day, every day.
Don’t hurry. Savor the experience. Be consistent.
In time, regular feeding on God’s Word will help you grow strong and healthy, inside and out.