What To Do If You Can’t Memorize Scripture
I often get approached by an excited parishioner who has questions about a verse they read. They tell me the book, chapter and verse, but not what it actually says. I’m not sure if they think I have it all memorized, or perhaps it’s such a common verse that they assume I know it by heart.
Unfortunately, it’s very rare that I know that verse by its
location, yet as soon as they begin to quote it, I have no problem remembering
what it says.
That’s because I’m terrible at memorizing Scripture. I’m not sure if a pastor is allowed to say that, but it’s the truth.
This doesn’t mean I don’t know my Bible. I consider myself to be well educated on theology. For some reason, my brain just has a hard time memorizing certain things. I’ve tried to use books that teach you how to memorize Scripture. I’ve had flash cards I carry with me to help as well, but all to no avail.
I know I’m not alone in this because I have met lots of people who say the same thing. Although I don’t have it memorized, I can still quote large amounts of Scripture from memory.
How can I do that without memorizing it? Easy, I just remember it. Lots of us know things by heart that we never intentionally sat down to memorize. I can sing the entire theme to the Duck Tales cartoon series. I also know all the words to certain songs. Most of you reading this can at least get halfway through the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song.
I highly doubt you sat down with song lyrics, made flash cards and then worked for weeks to remember them all. It’s much more likely that you heard that song so many times that it just got stuck in your brain, and no matter what, you can’t get rid of it. This is how I know what I do with Scripture—not from intentional memorization but from constantly reading certain sections over and over.
If you find math difficult, it’s likely your brain also has a hard time sitting down and memorizing flash cards of Bible verses as well. So my encouragement to you is to not get frustrated but instead sit down and read the same chapter every day for a week. You may not retain all of it, but you will know a lot more than you did before. In fact, this is a very biblical way to do this.
If you haven’t noticed, there are lots of festivals mentioned in the Old Testament. One of the reasons for this was so that, every few months, a story about why that festival was created would be retold and passed onto the next generation.
Someone would read from the Bible, and after hearing it over and over you quickly knew the Bible in the same way you learned the story of The Three Little Pigs.
Not all of us learn the same way, but God’s Word is so rich that we should all strive to find a way to write it on our hearts.