Growing up, most of us were taught to memorize single verses of the Bible. But there’s a case to be made for extended Bible memory of chapters and verses.
Watch this video where I share my own thoughts on why I have chosen to memorize larger chunks of the Bible as opposed to single verses:
Follow along with all the Bible Memory Goal YouTube videos!
If you’re like me, you were taught to memorize a smattering of verses throughout the Bible, some which felt random and others which were more organized (i.e. “The Romans Road“).
My son is currently doing the same thing, but in light of my own challenge to memorize the New Testament, he and I have been talking about tackling a larger portion of Scripture, such as an entire book.
Yes, a 9-year old can memorize a book of the Bible. So can a (not yet) 40-year old.
But why would you want to do that? Here are five reasons I’d like to share with you, which were inspired in part by the book An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture by Andrew Davis.
Because There is NO Wasted Scripture
One thing I love about memorizing entire chapters and books of the Bible is that it instills in me this idea that no Scripture is wasted.
If this truly is the Word of God, doesn’t every word matter?
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true…2 Timothy 3:16
I grew up in a church that went through the Bible, verse by verse, from front cover to back cover. At times it felt tedious, but looking back I’m thankful.
You can skip over the hard parts when you treat the Bible this way.
And it’s not just the hard parts. I’ve been encouraged by a lot of verses that aren’t “popular” verses to memorize, yet they’ve been impactful to me as I’ve memorized them.
Because You Don’t Want to Miss the Tone
Most of the time, I try to avoid communicating important things over text message because it’s so easy to be misunderstood.
Biblical authors didn’t have the luxury that we do of recording audio and video, though. They had to rely on tone.
Even Paul acknowledges the fact that he writes his letters with emotion:
How I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!Galatians 4:20
If you read through the fourth chapter of Galatians a few times, you’ll begin to hear this frustrated tone that Paul has. He’s not letting his emotions get the best of him…this is intentional!
And when we only memorize single verses in Scripture, we often miss this important tone.
Because You Miss the Flow of Argument
Many of the books in both the New and Old Testament are held up today as important documents not just because of their historical value, but also because of their literary value.
The way that Paul builds on his arguments to his audience in the book of Romans is brilliant!
The same goes for the book of Hebrews, the letter to the Galatians and plenty of other books in the Bible.
It’s incredibly difficult to pull a verse out of this kind of argument and understand both the underlying arguments and the final argument. This only happens when you see the full picture.
Because Biblical Context is Important!
This is really just summing up what I’ve already said in the first three points here.
Context is key.
Let’s take, for example, one of the most popular verses from the book of Philippians.
I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.Philippians 4:13
I grew up with this as the go-to verse at times when I was overwhelmed, over-worked or over-committed. “Yes, I can!” was the general takeaway here. This is the #1 reason why Susan Heck memorized the whole New Testament instead of just one or two verses. Context.
Yet if you look at the two verses prior to this one (verses 11 and 12), you’ll see that Paul and Timothy are specifically talking about living in need and living with plenty. They say that they have finally learned the “secret of being content in any and every situation…”
And what was that secret to being content?
It’s through Him who gives us strength.
With and without context, the meanings can be interpreted entirely different.
Because Memorizing Books is Efficient!
Ok, I have to admit that this is a very personal reason. I value efficiency in every part of my life, and Bible memory is no different.
The truth is, though, that memorizing twenty verses from the same book, in the same chapter, that are on the same topic, is significantly easier than memorizing 20 random verses scattered throughout different books of the Bible.
It’s simply more efficient to dedicate more time to one cohesive section of Scripture. Our brains can make connections and don’t have to worry about figuring out which new book, chapter and verse it is.
All that being said, I hope you understand that I’m not against memorizing individual verses of the Bible.
I do hope, however, that I may have been able to convince you that tackling an extended portion of Scripture is worthwhile! The next step is to start looking at which book of the Bible you should start memorizing 🙂
God has been challenging me to memorize the Bible but then i hear those like you that talk about the books of the bible. I look at the books in the New Testament and i get do overwhelmed at all of the words. I have always had a hard time with memorizing. Can you help me
Try using the First Letter Mnemonic method. You write out the scripture, but only write out the first letter of each word and practice memorising with it. Your brain recognises and fills in the gaps with just that letter for reference. I memorised a whole Psalm within 3 days the first time I tried it. (Psalm 84). Hope it works for you! 🙂