In our Scripture Memory Project, we memorize a Bible verse a week. We focus on one chapter at a time. And we meet a partner once a week for accountability.
There’s a great project in the spiritual life that we’d like to introduce you to. For some of those people who practice it, it turns out to be the most transformative and useful project they’ve ever tried: the Scripture Memory Project.
There are Christian believers who actually memorize Scripture. Most of them don’t make a big fanfare about this wonderful practice they’ve found. But if you Google “Scripture Memory” or search for it on YouTube, you’ll find a lot of hits.
We’d like to share with you what works for us. It’s really simple. Maybe that’s part of why it works. The essence of our Scripture Memory Project is these three points:
1. Memorize one Bible verse a week. Some people have a much more aggressive goal: three or more verses a week, perhaps a chapter a week. But for most people, our modest program has a very attainable goal: just one verse a week. We find that can fit within the busy lives that most people live.
2. Focus on one chapter at a time, memorizing verse after verse in sequence, week after week, instead of jumping around to different books of the Bible each week. So last week was 2 Peter 1:17. This week, it’s 2 Peter 1:18. Next week, it will be 2 Peter 1:19. It’s in sequence. Each verse fits with the previous one and the next one.
3. Meet somebody else briefly, once a week, to recite the scheduled verse to each other. If not in-person, then by weekly phone call or better yet, FaceTime or video call.
Here’s a little bit on each of those three points . . .
1. ONE VERSE A WEEK
Some people are gifted for memorization. Think of actors who are handed pages of script to memorize by the next day. Think of classical pianists who memorize pages and pages of difficult sheet music. Think of the politician who memorizes a long speech.
Or watch some people memorize Scripture. It’s almost like there’s a supernatural gift going on. They eat up the verses like a combine eats up a cornfield.
But many of us don’t have such natural talents. Few of us have a supernatural gift for memorizing the Bible. So we muddle along.
We’ve known people who set too high of a standard for themselves (or others). Then when they couldn’t achieve their goal, they felt defeated. It was a vicious circle for themselves and others.
Why not set a goal you can actually achieve? For most people, memorizing just one verse a week is attainable.
If you find out that you can do more, go ahead and do more.
Our own program is to memorize about one verse a week.
2. ONE CHAPTER AT A TIME
Some people have made a list: “Here are the 100 most important Bible verses to memorize,” they might say. Those lists are really helpful.
One such list is the excellent Topical Memory System, published by The Navigators. The 60 verses in it have served people well for decades.
But some people find it too challenging to jump all over the Bible, getting verses from here-and-there. Last week, it was 2 Corinthians 5:17. This week it’s Joshua 1:8. Next week it will be Revelation 12:11. Mind you, we like those verses a lot.
It’s just that working through a whole chapter, verse-by-verse, seems to work better for more people. They seem to get more out of it. And the material seems to have a better chance at not getting lost.
If we gradually work our way through one chapter, the verses are more likely to weave together into their own cohesive whole.
3. A BRIEF MOMENT OF ACCOUNTABILITY EACH WEEK
In our own lives, we’ve found it much more productive to meet with somebody for a few minutes each week. We check in, quote the scheduled verse to each other, and then we’re free to go our separate ways.
There’s no “scolding” involved. If one of us is not able to quote the scheduled verse, there’s no shame.
But the fact that our meeting is coming up motivates us to make sure we have that verse down.
In our day, there are many ways to meet. A phone call, a FaceTime chat, a Skype visit, or anything like that can be an occasional substitute for meeting in person.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.