There are many ways to memorize the Scriptures. Here are five ways that I can think of.
- The Entire Book (James, Ephesians, Romans etc…):
This is a lot of work, and it’s translation-dependent. If you decided to change your mind later and switch to another translation then it will be a problem. And if you have already memorized a book, then it will certainly discourage you to switch to another translation. Choose wisely.
- Memorize Portion(s):
The entire Psalms 23 for example, or the Lord’s Prayer. The aim is not to memorize the entire book, but just parts or sections that will minister to you and others. Again, this is translation-dependent, but because you’re not memorizing an entire book, you can switch around. Psalms 23 in KJV, Matthew 4:1-11 in ESV (for example).
- Memorize Verse(s):
By now you should see a pattern. We’re going from big to small. This allows you to memorize a lot of verses, but it’s assumed that you know the context so that you can use it properly when you recall it.
- Memorize Verse Numbers:
This method requires the least work and it’s translation-independent. This is currently my method. I can recall the exact verse numbers for the Temptation of Christ (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13) for example. And since you’re not memorizing the content of the verse, you will need a Bible with you if you want to read it.
- Memorize Chapter Summary
This is also translation-independent. You’re not memorizing anything specific, but just the gist of what the chapter is about. For example, John 1 is about the Word that was in the beginning with God. John 3, Nicodemus, John 4, the woman at the well etc…
You can mix and match. There are portions I want to memorize (Method #2 – Psalms 23, Lord’s Prayer). There are verses I want to remember word for word so I can recall it from memory when resisting the Devil (Method #3 – 1 John 5:18, Mark 16:18, Ephesians 4:26-27). There are sections that I don’t want to memorize word for word, but just the index so I can look it up in the Bible (Method #4 – Matthew 4:1-11, for example).