Looking for an easy way to memorize scripture? Here is an easy way that incorporates review so that you don’t forget the verses you have learned. In other words, it’s scripture memory that sticks! This is an almost magical way to memorize scripture that only takes about 10 minutes per day, or less. It is referred to as the Charlotte Mason Method, but it was made popular by Simply Charlotte Mason.
You simply read through a few scriptures a couple of times each day until you are so familiar with them that you have them memorized! The magic is in the method of reviewing those scriptures so that they stick. Read on for a more thorough explanation of this scripture memory that sticks…
First, Why Should You Memorize Scripture?
If we want to follow God, we need to know what He says. There is no better way to do this than to memorize His word.
If we follow Jesus, we want to be like Him. Jesus quoted 24 books of the Old Testament nearly 180 times in the New Testament. He must have thought that Scripture memory was important! If the Son of God needed to memorize scripture, we need to memorize it even more!
Here are a few scriptures that support scripture memory:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 ESVRomans 12:2 ESV
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”Colossians 3:16 ESV
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”Deuteronomy 6:6-9 ESV
Scripture Memory That Sticks: A How-To Guide
The first step in scripture memory that sticks is to gather your materials.
The supplies you will need for each memory verse box are:
- an index card box to hold your memory verses and tabs (We chose wooden boxes close to that size so we could paint them ourselves and have a special keepsake to hold God’s word.)
- a pack of index cards
- 41 note card dividers OR a printer and cardstock
Print your own dividers or order tabs that you can write on. If you have very young children who have trouble writing, it might save your sanity to print them! If you do so, I recommend color coding the tabs so that the Daily tab is one color, odd and even are another color, the days of the week are yet another color, and the days of the month are another color. Then you know you should be doing one tab of each color every day. Reinforce the tabs with clear tape.
Pre-made dividers can be more sturdy, depending on the kind that you buy. Here is a sample: Find-It Tabbed Index Cards, 3 x 5 Inches, Assorted Colors, 48-Pack (FT07216)
- something to write verses with (You may prefer something erasable for younger children. If you have artistic children, you may want to consider fun colored pens or markers. You can buy both erasable pens and markers.)
You may choose to have one box per family or one per person. I like one per person so that everyone can have their own to keep as they grow and leave the nest. For now, they can also take their own personal scripture memory box off to study if they wish, and there is not fighting over the box!
Step 1: Label the Dividers
Label the dividers as follows. Place them in the memory box in this order:
- 1 divider for each day of the week (Sunday, Monday, etc.)
- 31 dividers numbered 1-31 (1,2,3, etc.)
Step 2: Verses You Already Know
Write any verses your family already knows onto individual index cards. Make sure you include the verse and reference. Since references can be difficult to remember, but are very important, I like to write the reference at both the beginning and the end.
Stress the importance of neatness to your children because they will need to be able to read it for a long time to come! They will be using this for a long time to come. If you prefer, you could print off verses, but writing is proven to help with memorizing. I also cherish those little handwritten cards.
Place the verses you already know behind the numbered dividers, distributing them evenly. So if you have 5 verses that you know, you will place 1 verse behind 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Step 3: Verses You Wish to Memorize
Write cards for verses you wish to memorize.
Choose one verse to work on first. Place that card behind the Daily tab. This will be the memory verse that you will work on every day until you have it memorized. You will do this by reading it together a couple of times each day.
Place the rest of the verses you want to learn in front of the Daily divider to learn later.
*I refrain from suggesting verses, even though there are so many…that’s the problem. If you look at suggested lists, you could end up compiling the whole Bible! I prefer to let your kids find verses that are meaningful to them from the devotions and Bible readings they are already doing. It helps them pay attention to what they are learning in their other devotions. It also teaches them to look for how God is speaking directly to them.
Step 4: Saying the Verses Daily
Read aloud the verse you are memorizing (which is behind the Daily tab) 1-2 times per day. It helps to have set times of day to say the verses together. Everyone should join in saying the parts they know. Continue the daily readings until the entire family can recite the Scripture together easily.
Each day your family will say the verses behind four dividers:
- Odd or Even
- Day of the Week
- Date of the Month
For example, on Friday, the 24th, you will say the verses behind Daily, Even (because 24 is an even number), Friday, and 24. Though this might sound like a lot, the new verse is the only one that should be tricky. You have already memorized the others, so they will go quicker.
*Please note that if you are just beginning and you do not know many verses, you may not have verses behind all of these tabs yet.
Step 5: Moving the Verses
- There will only be 1 verse behind Daily because you should only be working on memorizing one verse at a time. You will not add any more verses to Daily until you have mastered that verse.
- Once you have mastered the verse behind the Daily tab, you will move the mastered verse to Odd or Even. It makes no difference which. You only want 1 verse behind Odd and 1 verse behind even at a time.
- Move the verse that was in that Odd or Even slot back to a Day of the Week slot. Again, the day you choose doesn’t really matter, as long as you only have 1 verse behind each day. If you go in order, replacing Monday, then Tuesday, then Wednesday, etc., it will help you give each verse ample time in that section.
- Move the verse that was in that Day of the Week slot to a numbered divider. Instead of being reviewed once a week, they will now be reviewed once a month. For example, if you moved it to the number 1, it will be reviewed on the first day of every month.
- You can put a new verse or passage to memorize behind the Daily divider.
- The cycle begins again!
Following this method, you will review a new verse every day. It even works with very young kids. Then you will graduate that verse to every other day, once a week, and finally, once a month. If you use the system every day of the month and you will review all the verses you know every month.
Since February, April, June, and November do not have 31 days, the verses behind 31 will be reviewed seven months out of the year. Put verses that you know very well behind 31 since they will be reviewed less. Similarly, make sure that you don’t put the trickiest verses behind 29 or 30 either, since February only has a 29th on Leap Year and never has a 30th.
After you have followed this system for a while, you will have placed one card behind each numbered divider. At that time, start at 1 again and keep adding more cards in order as you memorize them. Soon you’ll have several cards behind each numbered divider. Eventually you may have to have more than 1 box! Some people choose to retire memory verse cards when this happens, but I would be careful to review them occasionally. Don’t take for granted that you will never forget them!
Other Suggestions for Scripture Memory That Sticks
Just have fun with it! If your kids enjoy music, try singing along to Slugs and Bugs Sing the Bible or Seeds Family Worship. If they like playing games and doing activities, check out the book Who Says You Can’t Memorize?! Fun Ways to Learn Bible Verses. It never hurts to have fun! All these are great ways to practice scripture memory that sticks.
How does your family memorize scripture?