A Scripture Memory Method That Actually Works

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Scripture memory is one of those spiritual disciplines we all know we should be doing, yet many (dare I say most) of us find it difficult and frustrating, so we avoid the subject altogether. We don’t know where to start. Or maybe we get excited and start out well, only to be discouraged when we come to a difficult section, so we stop the whole process assuming we just can’t memorize

Is this true? Are there just some of us who can memorize Scripture and others who can’t? Is the spiritual discipline of Scripture just a practice for super-Christians? Susan Heck teaches us that the answer these questions is a hearty NO. Because there are no super-Christians

A Scripture Memory Method That Actually Works

Friend, I am so excited to offer you encouragement and hope in the area of Scripture memory. When we interviewed Susan on the Women’s Hope Podcast, I was invigorated and I felt hope for the first time ever that I could actually begin a Scripture memory system and complete it successfully. You can find more about Susan’s testimony here. 

The strongest relationships I have in my life are the ones with sisters and brothers who faithfully hold me accountable to God’s Word. Please, invite someone local on this journey with you. Look each other in the eye and grow together. It will deepen your relationships with each other, but more importantly, you will grow in grace together. What a sweet time you will share!

We have included the podcast in this post which explains Susan’s method. We have also shared the podcast show notes with time stamps to help you navigate the discussion. At the end of this post, we will share some apps and resources we have found to be helpful. 

Podcast Show Notes (Including time stamps)

6:50 Why memorize Scripture? Can’t we just Google what we want to know?

9:20 What is the Biblical instruction on Scripture memory? (Psalm 1, Colossians 3:16)

11:50 What are the advantages of memorizing long passages as opposed to isolated verses?

13:18 Feedback from others who have struggled with the memory verse method (isolated verses out of context) is that the long passages/whole books method is simpler to do successfully. 

Susan Heck’s Scripture Memory Method (time stamp 14:00)

  1. Record your own voice reading the passage on your phone. (verse numbers or not – your decision)
  2. When you listen to the recording speed it up in your recorder as fast as you can go and still understand it (we’ve found 1.5 times works for us)
  3. Listen to the recording every day as often as you can. While you’re getting ready for the day, while you’re doing chores, driving in the car, whenever there’s idle time.
  4. Make a photocopy of the current section you are working on from your own Bible and keep it with you. Read over it every day. Appointments in doctor’s offices, waiting in line at the grocery store, sitting in traffic or at traffic lights are all good places to read it over. (Just be sure you’re paying attention and go when the light turns green if you’re at a traffic light!)
  5. Review, review, review. When you go from one verse to the next within a chapter, be sure to be reviewing the previous verses you’ve learned. Example: You have memorized James 1:1 and are ready to go to verse 2. Begin at verse one and “add in” verse 2. Continue this process through the whole chapter. 
  6. Once you finish the book, repeat it every day for 30 days for retention. 
  7. After the 30 days, place each book on a review schedule that works for you. (Susan recommends 2 weeks)
Tip! While you are repeating the recently memorized book, don’t lose momentum! Go ahead and begin the next book you choose!

19:38 How to review chapters

20:55 The importance of an accountability partner for review

21:40 Menopausal and other hormonal changes can possibly cause memory challenges, but keep pressing on! Susan is 60, and has been consistently memorizing Scripture since she was 30. 

22:00 Doctors encourage memorization exercises for safeguarding against dementia in the elderly. 

Some Additional Tools We’ve Found Helpful

iPhone

The iPhone comes pre-loaded with a voice recorder that has adjustable “playback speed.” 

Android

RecForge II Audio Recorder has a great free version that will do everything you need for Scripture memory

Either Platform

Memorize Anything App has a free version on iPhone ($1.00 on Android) that Susan has gotten great feedback on, but hasn’t used it herself. 

Scripture Typer App free version has been very helpful to us. It offers a kinesthetic way to engage in Scripture memory in addition to the audio and visual methods mentioned in the podcast. If you choose to upgrade to the paid version, you can also record your own voice reading the Scripture. 

Final Note

Once more, we are so excited to be memorizing Scripture with you! Work at your own pace. The key is to keep going until you finish no matter how long it takes. Don’t get discouraged, just be faithful and consistent. The Christian life is a progressive growth process. Just keep growing.