Memorizing large portions of Scripture is frequently (and understandably) seen as a daunting task. More times than not, I’ve heard “That’s just a lot – I just like to stick to memorizing individual verses” given as a response to the idea. “That’s good for you,” they’ll say “but I could never do that.”
Although I’d agree that memorizing large portions or entire chapters of the Bible is a daunting task (and though it does require a lot of work) it is more than worth it. Scripture memorization – not just verse memorization should be practiced by all Christians. Perhaps if more applied its practice, they’d find that their Creator is nearer to them and more glorious than they once recognized Him to be. Through the internalization of large portions of Scripture, maybe they’d find such memorization not only profitable in the journey of the faith – but essential.
So how do you begin memorizing large portions of Scripture? Once the task of memorizing shorter passages has been mastered, how can you transition into the longer ones? It certainly cannot be accomplished in our own strength. Seek the Lord and His strength in the journey and trust Him to supply it! Find what works best for you when it comes to memorizing Scripture – is it rote memorization, singing songs, writing out the verses, acting them out? Then take those methods that have been successful in the past and apply them to your longer passages as well. You may have to change up your system a little bit, but generally the same methods of memorization can still apply.
Memorize the chapters the same way as you memorize verses, but dedicate more time to it. If you are trying to reach a certain goal, try memorizing for thirty minutes a day instead of fifteen to get more accomplished within that time frame. Just as we memorize individual verses one word at a time, see memorizing larger passages as one verse at a time. Although it can be more difficult, the same God who empowers you to memorize shorter portions of Scripture also empowers you to memorize the longer ones. His grace is sufficient.
Often when it comes to remembering large portions of Scripture, it can be hard to recall the references along with the verses themselves. Try to find ways to connect the numbers with the first few words of the verse (whether it is making up story lines, mnemonics, or mental pictures) be creative! Memorization by song is also a great way to remember your verses. Try listening to or writing your own songs for the portion of Scripture you’d like to memorize. Play them on repeat! This method will help you to keep your verses in their proper order and songs themselves are hard to forget! When it comes to memorizing lists in the Bible, you can also make up mnemonics to help you remember the proper order (or see if you can find acronyms and words within the first letters of each verse down the page).
Just like with smaller passages, we can’t expect to remember what we are memorizing unless we repeat it. Make sure to allow the verses to sink deep into your mind before moving on by repeatedly working on them. Getting longer passages to stick in your long term memory takes more time, but the time you invest will be worth it. Be willing to sacrifice some things (maybe it’s waking up earlier, or setting aside a specific time in the day to review) to solidify your passages. You’ll need that extra time!
Lastly, always remember the importance of internalizing longer passages and even full chapters of the Bible. It can be harder to discipline yourself to do something (or to want to do it for that matter), if you don’t see its importance. Taking time to memorize chapters of the Bible has many benefits. You’ll be able to properly interpret the passage by knowing its context, thus gaining a better understanding of the big picture. You may also be surprised at the number of connections that can be made within the text itself that cannot be seen by just observing a single verse.
In the end, remember that none of this can be accomplished outside of the strength and grace supplied to you by Christ. Depend upon Him as you seek to memorize His Word in this season, and you’ll see the abundant fruit of His work in your life. God has created our minds with the ability to memorize His Word – He won’t fall short in helping us to accomplish that!
Written by NBB Alumna: Hannah Kohner