Recently, we watched a presentation on the topic of memorizing Scripture that was very inspiring! We were memorizing some passages here and there, but not much. Now that we’ve seen how important it really is, though, we’re taking it much more seriously! While researching the subject, Ricky also came across statements in the writings of Sister White counseling us to memorize whole chapters of the Bible. Now there’s a challenge! But this is God’s instruction; we must take heed.
Therefore, we are applying ourselves to this task, particularly the chapters Sister White recommended. Of course, we won’t stop there, but these chapters make a natural starting point. We will also memorize individual verses, of course, as there are many that are excellent weapons against the temptations of the devil, as Jesus demonstrated in the wilderness. If He found single sentences a good defense against Satan’s fiery darts, then they are good enough for us, too. Besides, we both let our memories deteriorate over the years, so we need to build them back up gradually. By God’s grace, someday we’ll be memorizing entire books!
We highly recommend that you join us! There are many benefits, both spiritual and mental. You’ll understand the Bible better, gain greater self-control, and improve your memory in general. In fact, just a short time after beginning, Ricky said this:
I’ve only just started Bible memorization and I’m already noticing tremendous effects! I feel closer to God, more disciplined, more focused, and things I can’t even describe!
Why Memorize Scripture?
Although I just mentioned a few good reasons to commit the Bible to memory, there is another reason, which is far more important. Quite simply, God commands it! Consider these statements (and this is not an exhaustive list):
Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul ….
— Deuteronomy 11:18a
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.
— Psalm 119:11
Let thine heart retain My words: keep My commandments, and live.
— Proverbs 4:4b
Obey the words of Christ by searching the Scriptures, and through diligent study have the Word of God stored in your memory, so that in any emergency you can say earnestly, solemnly, “It is written.”
— E.G. White, Letter 20, 1895
While your hands are engaged in labor, if you desire to become intelligent in spiritual things, if you desire to have your mind directed heavenward, you might commit to memory texts or portions of the Scriptures, and thus train your mind to dwell upon things that are pure and lovely. The heart that is stored with the precious truths of God’s word, is fortified against the temptation of Satan, against impure thoughts and unholy actions. […] The angels of God will be near to instruct him who is of a teachable spirit. Then read the precious utterances of God’s word slowly, patiently, reverently.
— E.G. White, Youth’s Instructor, July 28, 1892
A Warning Against Careless Study
There is an additional reason to memorize the Word of God carefully. We need to be able to cite the Scriptures when giving evidence of our faith, or sharing the Gospel with others. If we do not commit the Word to memory, and thoroughly, we will naturally misquote it at such times. This is not a light matter, as we read in the following quote. This is a mistake I have made myself, and I thank God for His mercy toward me.
Some who are teaching present truth are not acquainted with their Bibles. They are so deficient in Bible knowledge that it is difficult for them to quote a text of Scripture correctly from memory. By blundering along in the awkward manner they do, they sin against God. They mangle the Scripture, and make the Bible say things that are not written therein.
— 2 Testimonies, pp. 341-342
These quotes are pretty convincing, right? Do you feel inspired? I hope so!
Now, without further ado, here are the chapters of the Bible that we have been instructed to memorize. I will provide the quotes from Sister White for each one.
Bible Chapters to Memorize
There is no end to the wealth of treasures in God’s Word. As I mentioned above, it is best to start with shorter, easier verses (like Philippians 4:13) if you are new to memorization. But we must progress with the goal in mind to memorize the Bible chapters that God especially indicated through Sister White. Don’t worry! You can memorize these chapters one verse at a time, too, rather than trying to do it all at once.
The words in the first Psalm need to be committed to memory.
— Manuscript 144, 1897
[Psalm 34:1-8 quoted.] Let this chapter be read and committed to memory.
— Manuscript 70, 1897
Present before your children the instruction given in the 119th Psalm. Take this precious lesson, and read it with tender, softened hearts. Encourage your children to commit the same to memory, especially the first sixteen verses.
— Manuscript 12, 1898
The whole of the fifty-first chapter of Isaiah is worthy of close, earnest study, and we would do well to commit it to memory. It has a special application to those who are living in the last days.
— Review and Herald, December 1, 1896
[Isaiah 53:2-3 quoted.] This chapter should be studied. It presents Christ as the Lamb of God. Those who are lifted up with pride, whose souls are filled with vanity, should look upon this picture of their Redeemer, and humble themselves in the dust. The entire chapter should be committed to memory. Its influence will subdue and humble the soul defiled by sin and uplifted by self-exaltation.
— Youth’s Instructor, December 20, 1900
The mind must be restrained, and not allowed to wander. It should be trained to dwell upon the Scriptures; even whole chapters may be committed to memory, to be repeated when Satan comes in with his temptations. The fifty-eighth of Isaiah is a profitable chapter for this purpose.
— Review and Herald, April 8, 1884
I hope that these few suggestions may help older persons as well as younger ones to become acquainted with the Word in accordance with the directions that Christ has given in the sixth chapter of John. My brethren and sisters, this chapter contains lessons that all need to learn. Read and study it. Meditate upon the truths that it contains. Eat the bread of life. Commit this chapter to memory, and keep the magazines off your tables.
— Letter 343, 1905
I feel intensely when I read and dwell upon the subjects contained in the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th chapters of John. These lessons are of deep import and need to be studied and even committed to memory. The richest promises are found here.
— Manuscript 42, 1890
1 Corinthians 12 & 13
The 12th and 13th chapters of First Corinthians should be committed to memory, written in the mind and heart.
— Manuscript 82, 1898
And if these Bible chapters aren’t enough for you memorize…
… you could always add the following suggestions to your list!
- The Beatitudes (or even the whole Sermon on the Mount!)
- The Ten Commandments
- Psalm 91
- Revelation 14
- Malachi 4
- Leviticus 26
- These gems from Deuteronomy
As important as it is to memorize the Bible, we must not forget that this does not automatically mean we understand it. We must not get so caught up in the challenge of memorization that we forget the most important thing. Here is some inspired counsel to this end:
To read a certain number of chapters daily, or commit to memory a stipulated amount without careful thought as to the meaning of the sacred text, is a work of little profit. We cannot obtain wisdom without earnest attention and prayerful study.
— Review and Herald, October 9, 1883
Let’s Memorize Chapters of the Bible Together!
Friends, this is a tremendous experience; please don’t miss out! Although the idea of memorizing entire chapters of the Bible might seem intimidating (especially Psalm 119), we are confident that God will help us accomplish it, for “all His biddings are enablings” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 333). We invite you to join us!
“But,” you might be asking, “how can I memorize whole chapters of the Bible when I can’t even remember more than a verse or two?” There are, in fact, lots of great techniques for memorization out there. Since our minds are generally much weaker in this late stage of earth’s history, we need to make a special effort. Thankfully, we don’t need to guess as to how to do that.
These Things Will Make It Easier:
- Use an old English Bible Version (e.g. KJV, RV, ASV, or Webster’s Common Version), as evidence shows that that style of English is easier to memorize.
- Work with at least one other person. Not only is it more fun, but it keeps you accountable.
- Be consistent. The single most important thing is not having a naturally good memory, but being consistent and diligent.
- Make use of tools, such as those listed below, or Scripture cards. Here is a system that uses cards that is especially good for families memorizing Scripture together.
- Study each verse carefully, to be sure you understand it. This really does help you remember it better.
- Always slowly read out loud as you go. If you find you could not remember a certain part correctly, just read that verse again seven times (God’s perfect number). The repetition of speaking aloud the texts over and over again is what ingrains it into your memory.
- Always begin a memorization session with prayer. Ask God to help you, not only to memorize, but to instill what you are reciting into your heart, to be carried out in your life. You can prayerfully claim the Scriptures in the mighty Name of Jesus.
O there is so much spiritual power, if you apply these principles!
Tools and Services
There are many tools out there for helping you memorize Scripture more easily. Their creators clearly assume that you will memorize single verses of the Bible, rather than whole chapters, but you can easily adapt them. Here are the ones that we are using:
- FAST Missions – They have lots of good tips, training courses, and a simple memorization system. It’s great for a beginner with no confidence in his/her memory. Most of the features cost money, but they offer a different course for free each month, so you can still do a lot for free.
- Remember Me – This app has been extremely helpful to us and is the best Android app that we could find. It’s also available on iOS, Amazon Kindle, and even on Windows 10 for PC users. Visit the website for links to these other versions.
- Voice Recorder – Just record your memory texts by voice. Then you can play the recordings as you have free moments. Hearing yourself reading the Scriptures has an impactful influence on remembering them. Remember Me also has a voice recording function for its flashcards feature.
- e-Sword – We use this to study each verse before we commit it to memory (see below).
Tips for Using These Tools
If you are using your smartphone, you should keep it in airplane mode. Don’t worry, the apps work just fine offline. RF radiation is damaging to the body, especially the brain, so that’s the last thing you want when trying to improve your memory! Besides, it’s very distracting to receive calls or notifications when you’re practising your memory texts.
Since no Bible version translates everything perfectly, we like to carefully study each verse in e-Sword. We look at concordances, sometimes even going to the ancient Hebrew lexicon, and read Bible commentaries for especially challenging words. This allows us to better understand the text and choose the best translation to memorize. It even helps us to memorize the texts, as we familiarize ourselves with them. We highly recommend you do the same, for, once you commit something to memory, it will be hard to change later on. So, you want to be sure it’s correct before you begin.
Remember Me allows you to input custom text, so we also change the title “the LORD” to God’s actual Name. We believe the use of God’s true Name will revive as we revive (not before, though, lest we take His Holy Name in vain by living unholy lives). This is one of our favourite features of this app, along with the different memorization techniques it includes. Just keep going through each exercise and keep reading aloud as you do. I also recommend tapping the three bars on the upper left, then ‘Account’, and selecting ‘very often’ under ‘Review Frequency’ to help ensure that you do not forget your memory texts.
Are you ready?
Sign up for the Crash Course at FAST Missions today and get started!
PS: Once you’re getting the hang of memorizing Scripture, I suggest that you also try memorizing a few hymns, so that you can sing them anytime. It’s a wonderful way to praise God as you work, draw closer to Him, and prepare for the time of trouble, when we will have neither Bibles nor hymnals!