Billy Graham once said, "The Bible is the only thing that combats the devil. Quote the scripture, and the devil will run."
I don't know about you, but I want the devil to flee. Maybe you're like me and have great intentions to memorize scripture. You pick out the verse and read it over and over, but it just doesn't stick. I thought there HAS to be a better way to get scripture to stick in my brain so that it will ultimately change my heart. Because isn't that the whole point?
Here are 5 better ways to memorize scriptures:
Focus on a single verse
Think in terms of quality over quantity. Be realistic in the time frame of how many verses you want to memorize. Start with one verse a week. It's far better to fully memorize a single verse than to halfway know five. After you have completely memorized the verse, then add the next one.
Write the verse in a journal or notebook
There's something very satisfying about seeing the verses you've memorized over the years in a single place. I'm the queen of a post it note here, on a napkin there... If you keep them in a single notebook, it's easier to track your progress. You also have a place to refer back to when you want to review what you've learned. One of the cool things that happens when you keep your scriptures in a journal is that you see how God has used those verses specifically in your life. Powerful stuff, my friends.
Sketch out the images or important words you "see" when you read the scripture
"But I'm not an artist!!" That's ok. God's not grading your artwork. He's looking to transform your heart. The more you meditate on His word, and wrestle with it, the more you'll understand it. If you suffer from perfectionism, like me, use a scratch piece of paper. You have all the freedom in the world to try out your ideas without messing up. The focus here is on process far more than product. Think in terms of what is going to help you "see" the scripture when you want recall it, thus helping you remember.
Create a notecard with the scripture and the image
This is in addition to writing the scripture in your journal or notebook. You want to have it in portable form. Add your artwork here too. The more meaningful you make the card, the better. Again, we are not trying to be Picasso.... but who knows, maybe you're better at the creative part than you think. Attach the card to your bathroom mirror when you're getting ready in the morning, take it with you to work or while you're out running errands. Keep it where you will see it throughout the day. You need to see the verse continually to memorize it completely.
Say the verse OUT LOUD several times
It helps to hear the verse aloud. No, really. Out Loud! It may feel a little awkward in the beginning, but the more you physically speak God's words, the more your faith will be increased. Don't take my word for it, it's scriptural.
"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." Romans 10:17
As you audibly say the verse, you are hearing the message. There is power in the Word!
As you're saying the verse, start and end with the address. (That's the book of the Bible, the chapter, and the verse, like Romans 10:17 from above.) You'll want to know where you found the scripture after you've committed it memory. Break the scripture down into its natural phrasings. Use the bite size pieces to build up to memorizing the complete verse. Eventually you'll be able to say it from start to finish automatically.
Like any new skill, the more you practice, the easier it gets. Our brains are amazing things.... while it may take you more time to memorize that first verse, the subsequent verses you add will come more quickly. I like to compare it to physical exercise. When we exercise a muscle it becomes stronger. The same is true for our minds.
I ask you to give these memorization techniques an honest chance. The rewards you reap make the time and effort you spend worth it. You'll have a journal to track your progress, the ability to quote the verse word-for-word, and more importantly you'll be hiding the living word of God in your heart. Ultimately when you bathe yourself in scripture, you are prepared when you need to make the devil run!