Scripture Memory

One of the hallmarks of the Navigators ministry throughout our history has been placing an extremely high value on God's word and by giving our time and attention to it by memorizing it.  The reason is simple: our purpose is to become more and more like Jesus Christ.  But how can we do this if we don't obey God's word?  And how can we obey it if we do not know it and understand it?  And how can we understand if we do not study it, memorize it and meditate on it as much as we can?
Obedience to the word of God gives us guidance in everything we do today and into the future.  But, it also purifies our minds and heals our hearts from any damage it may have received from past ignorance and sin.  Many Christians did not grow up in Christian homes where the word of God was central.  Many Christians are trapped in sin and the damage done by these and past sins is hindering their fellowship with God.
Scripture Memory is taking God's Word and hiding it in our heart for guidance, protection, and encouragement.  We will not always have our Bibles with us, but we can never be separated from the verses we have memorized.
Why should Christians memorize Scripture?

• First and foremost, we are commanded to learn God's Word and meditate upon it. (Deut 6:6-7; Josh 1:8; Col 3:16).
• Another reason is that memorizing Scripture helps keep us from sin.  Psalm 37:31; 119:9-11; Matt 4:1-10
• It transforms our minds to think God's thoughts (Rom 12:1-2), enables the Holy Spirit to guide us (Prov 6:20-22), and gives us a working knowledge of the Bible (Psalm 119:105).
• Scripture memory also helps equip us for witnessing (I Peter 3:15; Acts 18:28) and counseling those in need (I Thess 2:13).
• Hiding God's Word in our hearts helps produce spiritual growth in our lives (I Peter 2:2; Acts 20:32).
How to Memorize Scripture
The first step in beginning a program of Scripture memory is to realize its importance.  Memorizing takes disciplined effort and just plain hard work.  We must understand the benefits of Scripture Memory if we are to continue to exert our minds in learning new verses.
A second step is to set a realistic goal.  Within this self-study course, we have suggested 2 verses per week.  This will allow you plenty of time during the week not only for new memory work, but also to review previous verses you have learned.  Studies have shown if you review a new verse every day for two months, and then once per month after that, you will remember it when you need it.
A third step is to formulate a plan.  Decide what you will memorize, and when and where.  If you fail to plan your memory work, you are planning to fail!  I recommend beginning with a pre-printed system, called the Topical Memory System, from the Navigators, or pick meaningful verses and/or passages to help you in your personal life and ministry.  You may choose to write out your verses on a sheet of paper, a 3' x 5' card, or the small verse cards specially designed for Scripture Memory (available in Christian bookstores or from your Navigator Staff).
When you actually memorize, the following tips will help you be more effective:
1. Read the context around the verse to see what the verse is really teaching.
2. Work on one phrase at a time.
3. Memorize out loud, if possible.
4. Memorize word perfect.
5. Repeat the verse with the reference "before" and "after." This will help you remember not only the verse but also where it is found.
6. Meditate on what the verse is saying.
1. Visualize it.
2. Share it.
3. Sing it.
4. Pray it.
5. Apply it
Finally, count on God's help as you memorize.  He wants you to learn his Word and will give you the wisdom and strength to do so!  A common excuse for not memorizing Scripture is "I just don't have time."  While the truth of that statement can be debated (we make time for the things that are important to us), what people need to realize is that there are many times when you can "kill two birds with one stone" and memorize Scripture while involved in other activities.  For example, you can learn verses while waiting for an appointment or riding in a car (while driving it is best to concentrate on the road!).  Many people memorize when they walk or exercise.  Others memorize while performing routine daily tasks: brushing their teeth, shaving, going to the restroom, walking to class, and washing the dishes.  The possibilities are endless if you will only look around!
A Practical Review System
Someone in the Navigators has stated that there are three secrets to Scripture Memory:
1) Review
2) Review
3) Review

Even if we learn a verse perfectly, it will not stay with us unless we review periodically.  When you are working on a new verse, you should review it several times daily.  This will help you learn it quickly.  Review each recently memorized verse every day for two months.  This firmly plants the verse in your mind.  Finally, reviewing all your verses at least once a month will help keep them fresh in your mind - ready to use!

Memorize 1 or 2 new verses from your outside window of your scripture memory pack.  Review your latest 12 to 24 verses contained within your pack.  Review your well-known verses for the appropriate day which you have pulled out from your scripture memory box and placed in the other inside pocket of your scripture memory pack.
By not reviewing your well-known verses so often (once a week, maybe even once a month) you can be assured of not having to spend so much time in memory and review on a daily basis and yet, you can memorize and retain hundreds of verses.