In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear says, “You do not rise to the level of your goals; you fall to the level of your systems.” Being successful at Scripture memory is not about having a great memory but rather, how good your Scripture memory system is.
I can make the following two promises from over 35 years of implementing this habit in my own life, and I have several other close friends who would say the same…
- YOU CAN DO THIS! My memory is not great, but as you will soon learn, it is not about memory, it is about daily discipline!
- GOD’S WORD HAS INCREDIBLE POWER! When you internalize it, you will encounter the incredible power and encouragement of the Word of God.
The goal of your system is to learn key verses to help you grow and to keep them fresh in your mind.
DEVELOP YOUR LIST
Begin to develop a list of the specific Scriptures that speak to areas you want to grow spiritually.
- Memorize Offensively – Look for passages that talk about the character of God and the nature of the gospel. The goal is to be so focused on Him that the draw of sin will weaken in your life.
- Memorize Defensively – Look for passages that answer the lie of temptation with the truth of Scripture. Jesus responded to temptation (the lie) with “It is written” (the truth). Jesus used the right Scripture that exposed the deceptive nature of each temptation. As we learn to memorize Scripture this way, we will be prepared when temptation comes.
Commit five minutes a day to learn and to review your verse during your daily routine. This could be on your commute to work, while exercising, or when waiting in line. We all have time every day we can claim to make this work. What is your time?
TO LEARN – READ, REPEAT, READ, REPEAT
Everyone remembers those things they repeat often. Here is what taking a verse through the learning process would look like:
Day 1: say the verse 25 times
Day 2: say the verse 20 times
Day 3: say the verse 15 times
Day 4: say the verse 10 times
Day 5: say the verse 5 times
Once the learning process is complete, you will move each verse to daily review.
SET UP A REVIEW SYSTEM
Having a simple review system will keep these verses fresh for the rest of your life. That would look like the following:
Daily review these verses, saying them once a day for 60 days. Once complete move it to weekly review.
Here, simply place verses evenly throughout the seven days of a week with the goal of reviewing each verse, saying them once a week for 10 weeks.
- Monday review
- Tuesday review
- Wednesday review
- Thursday review
- Friday review
- Saturday review
- Sunday review
Review the verse, saying it once a month for life by dividing them in your monthly review of 1-28 days and evenly separating verses throughout the month. If at any time the verse needs refreshing, you can simply start it back further in the system.
From a small start of just 5 minutes invested each day, you may see this grow to 7 to 10 minutes once your system grows to 100-200 verses. Think about the incredible resource this will be in your life as you begin small and allow this to grow into a spiritual powerhouse over a few years.
John is the Director of Word of Life Youth Ministries. He and his wife Pam have served with Word of Life for over 33 years in several regions including Southern California and North East Pennsylvania. They currently live in upstate NY where John has been serving in his current role since November, 2014.