How to memorize
Here is a straightforward method for memorizing a verse or passage of scripture:
- Read through the scripture verse(s) carefully and slowly and out loud.
- Copy the scripture verse(s) over in your own handwriting, writing on every other line of the paper.
- Read the scripture verse(s) out loud again.
- Using an index card or a piece of paper, cover up all of the words except the first line. Say that line over to yourself three times. Now, gaze off into space for a moment and try to say the line from memory.
- Repeat this with the rest of the lines in the verse, saying the lines you have already worked on, too. If the scripture verse is not divided into segments (like with commas), divide it yourself into groups of one or two lines.
- For passages (as opposed to verses), once you have one verse down, go to the next one, again working line by line.
- Put those two verses together, and then move on. Repeat this until you reach the end of the scripture passage.
For children too young to read or write, please see the Resources section below.
- Write the first letter of each word on an index card and practice with the card, using the letters to prompt you
- Record yourself reading the scripture verse(s) and listen to it (if you can load it on an iPod or MP3 player, that is awesome practice)
- Say the scripture verse(s) out loud when you are walking by yourself
- Say it while you are in the shower, drying your hair, or exercising (repetitive motion like a foot striking the track will help get the pattern of the scripture verse(s) in your mind)
- Write it out over and over
- Print the scripture out and seal inside a ziplock bag. Attach it to the wall of the shower and read through (or sing!) it while you’re in the shower each morning.
- This article shares five suggestions for memorizing with young children
- Copy the verse out in pencil. Erase words one at a time randomly throughout the scripture verse.
- The Church shares information on scripture mastery, including a web app and an android app to aid in memorizing.
- Download this free 21-Day Bible Memory Verse Challenge. By itself, it’s great Family Home Evening or devotional material.
- You can compare scripture memory apps and try a few.
- Read about how one seminary teacher taught scripture mastery (very detailed post).
- Many scripture mastery games can be used in the home for memorizing. Find a list here.
- Charlotte Mason (a Christian homeschooling curriculum) has a scripture memorization method for children. You can read how one LDS family adapted the method to meet their needs.
- The book His Word in My Heart is a wonderful volume about one woman’s journey through memorizing scripture. This book is specifically about the Bible, and its ideas and methods work for all works of scripture.
If you’d like to read about what Church leaders have said about memorizing scriptures, here are some articles & quotes:
- Why Memorize Scriptures (youth)
- The Power of Scripture – Elder Richard G. Scott
- Three Keys to Getting More Out of the Scriptures – William D. Oswald
“May I suggest that in our family night gatherings we make it a project to memorize one scripture citation a week pertinent to this work. At the conclusion of a year our children will have on their lips a fund of scripture which will remain with them throughout their lives.”
Gordon B. Hinckley, April 1959 General Conference
“[I]t is desirable that our children should learn to memorize important passages; such that will leave a strong impression upon their lives; scriptural passages that they will use as their guiding star; scriptural passages that will help to form convictions in their minds of right and wrong; scriptural passages that will bring conviction to their hearts.”
Elder Joseph M. Tanner, April 1901 General Conference
“I have discovered that many times you don’t fully understand a scripture until you memorize it. And sometimes I have memorized a passage because it seemed important and valuable to me- then afterwards I discovered deeper meanings that I hadn’t even known were there. When you find a passage that particularly impresses you, consider taking the time to commit it to memory, word perfect. Then not only will you be able to remember it, but you will probably grow in your understanding as well. But that’s not all. By memorizing scripture you show the Lord that you esteem his words to be of great value- and then he will be more likely to speak to you and give you more.”
Elder Gene R. Cook, “Searching the Scriptures”, p. 114