Throughout the years, I’ve had dozens of people ask me about Bible memorization in open air preaching. I’ve been asked questions about how to memorize the Scriptures (techniques) and what Scriptures to memorize. So, I figured I’d write a blog post on it, so that I have something to point people to when I’m asked this question in the future.
There are all sorts of methods people use, to memorize Scripture. My advice is to take part in as many techniques as possible. This way, you have a better chance of solidifying the Scriptures in your mind, that you are attempting to memorize. Here are some principles that I use, when memorizing Scripture:
1) Don’t overdo it – Don’t start out trying to memorize 20 verses a week. Such an extreme plan like that, typically leads to someone giving up, due to failure Start small, with maybe one verse/passage every two weeks. You could always increase how many verses you memorize every 2 weeks, later on. YET, If you are consistent with that plan (1 verse/passage every two weeks), you will have memorized 26 verses/passages in the first year. After 10 years of doing this, you’ll have 260 verses/passages memorized! Think long term, instead of short term. Be consistent and be faithful. The goal is not to be able to say, “Look at me, I have lots of Bible verses memorized!” The goal is to retain the verses in your memory, obey the verses and preach the verses.
2) Review, Review, Review – Reviewing the Scriptures that you memorized weeks, months or even years ago, is SO IMPORTANT to retaining them long term. I am constantly reviewing Scriptures that I have already memorized. You don’t have to review every Scripture every day, but review all of them on a consistent basis. If you don’t review, you will most likely “lose” the verses over time.
3) Use Note Cards – These can get lost, at times, so don’t completely rely on these. Have a master list somewhere, of all the verses that you have memorized. I use memory verse note cards as bookmarks in books that I am reading. That way I review each respective verse, every time I read the book it is in. I also put the note cards places – shower door, mirror, car, front shirt pocket, night stand, etc. That way you constantly have God’s Word before you and you make it easier to memorize it and meditate upon it.
4) Use A Highlighter In Your Bible & Categorize Scriptures – Highlight the Scriptures that you are memorizing. For me, It makes it easier to memorize it and locate it in my Bible. I actually use a system where I highlight Scriptures in a specific color, depending on what category I put them in – open air preaching verses (green), “theological verses” (orange), apologetic verses (pink), prophecy verses (purple), “other” verses (blue), etc. I also write down the open air preaching verses on one of the blank pages, in the back of my Bible. I have them separated into groups – Holiness, Grace & Mercy, Hell/Judgment, Sin/Repentance, Losing Salvation, etc.
5) Use A Smart Phone App – I use an app called, Remember Me. I really like it and it has helped me in my Bible memorization, quite a bit. If you have an Android Phone, then check it out! I can’t remember if it was a free app or one that had to be paid for. Even if it is one that you have to pay for, it is worth it, in my opinion. Basically, without having to have note cards on me, I always have my Bible memory verses on me, as long as I have my phone. Remember Me has all kinds of nice features. Check it out! It’s great!
6) Typing, Listening, Speaking, Thinking – There is simply wisdom in using as many methods as possible, to solidify the Scriptures in your mind. Type out the verse/passage that you are trying to memorize. Listen to it on audio, while you are working, exercising or doing chores. Saying the Scriptures out loud, will also help you to memorize them. If you are just sitting around doing nothing, think about your memory verses. Rehearse them in your head. In doing so, you are obeying the Scriptures, in meditating upon them.
7) OBEY THEM! – Don’t be a hypocrite. One of the main points of Scripture memorization is to help you obey God’s Word. If you memorize God’s Word, but don’t obey it, you make Judgment Day much worse on yourself. Don’t deceive yourself – OBEY GOD’S WORD – James 1:22
8) Preach Them! – This is another one of the main reasons to memorize Scriptures. Share the truths of God’s Word with other people – sinners and saints. As you read through the Scriptures, in your daily reading time, note new verses that you want to memorize for your evangelistic efforts. Maybe you received an objection to the faith, while you were engaging in evangelism. Find the answer in the Scriptures and memorize it. This will be very beneficial in making you an effective witness to the lost.
Now, here are some verses that I believe would be good to memorize, for use in your evangelistic outreaches:
On Hell/Judgment/Sin/Wrath: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Ephesians 5:5-7, 2 Timothy 3:5, Titus 1:16, Jude 4, Jude 14-15, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, Hebrews 4:13, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Hebrews 9:27, Matthew 13:41-43, James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-17, Matthew 7:13-14, Romans 2:4-11, Proverbs 15:3, Malachi 4:1, John 5:28-29, Proverbs 16:18, Job 34:21-22, Proverbs 15:19, Proverbs 17:15, Luke 12:15, Matthew 12:33-37, Proverbs 14:27, Luke 12:4-5
On the Cross/Mercy/Salvation: John 3:16-18, Romans 5:6-8, 1 Timothy 2:3-6, 1 Peter 2:24-25, Isaiah 53:5-6, Isaiah 55:6-7, John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Acts 3:19, Galatians 1:3-4, 2 Corinthians 5:15, James 1:21-22, Proverbs 16:6, James 4:8-10, Isaiah 1:16-18, Hebrews 9:22, Leviticus 17:11, Ephesians 2:8-9
On Holiness/Obedience/Hypocrisy: 1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 Corinthians 9;27, John 5:14, John 8:11, Matthew 5:48, 1 John 1:5-6, 1 John 2:3-6, 1 John 3:7-10, 1 John 5:3-4, Hebrews 5:9, Philippians 4:13, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 6:19-21, Revelation 22:14-15, 1 Peter 1:14-19, James 2:19-20, 1 John 3:18-19, 2 Timothy 2:19, Colossians 1:27-28, 2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1, Romans 8:1, Romans 8:13-14, John 14:15, John 14:21, John 15:14, Romans 6:14, Ephesians 2:10. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, Titus 2:11-12, Ezekiel 33:18-19, 1 Corinthians 7:19, 3 John 11, Galatians 5:24, Matthew 7:21-27, John 8:32-36, James 1:26, Romans 6:6-7, Genesis 6:9, Galatians 5:16
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