Most Scripture memory programs focus on verses, but it’s far more helpful to memorize longer portions of the Bible, focusing on special passages.
The Benefits of Scripture Memory
All of the Bible is inspired by God and authoritative to guide our lives under the Lordship of Christ. But some passages (like the ones below) are especially electric! These are powerful passages for the Holy Spirit to use to renew our minds, heal our hearts, and form us more into the image of Christ so that we become the kind of people who consistently love the people around us.
By memorizing Scripture we fill our minds with the structure, wisdom, and grace of God’s Word. Be focusing on long passages we experience the flow of God’s life that is in the Bible. If we only memorize verses then we are more susceptible to making God’s Word say what we want it to say rather than what it is saying. However, using short Scripture phrases to Abide in Prayer is also an effective spiritual discipline and one that is complementary to memorizing long passages of the Bible.
The Bible itself testifies to the transformational and healing power of Scripture memory. For instance, the Lord said to Joshua when he was a young leader, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).
Scripture Memory as a Discipline
There is much that to be said for Memorizing Scripture. A key is that it naturally leads to Scripture Meditation because in order to memorize Scripture you have to think about that it means and why one verse follows the next. Then once we have God’s Word stored away in our minds we can meditate on it as we’re brushing our teeth, driving, waiting in line, or taking a prayer walk we can use the words of God for meditation and prayer!
Of course, to keep a Scripture memory passage available for meditation we’ll have to refresh on it from time to time. This is part of the blessing because each time we memorize or re-memorize a Bible passage God will reveal new insights to us. With the Psalmist we’ll be able to say, “I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes” (Psalm 119:98).
My Story with Scripture Memory
In the year 2006 I was encouraged by Dallas Willard to memorize whole chapters of the Bible. At first I was overwhelmed. Over the years I had memorized many verses but not whole chapters! Like most people I thought it’d be too hard for me to memorize an entire chapter from the Bible. However, I had memorized Psalm 23 and so I decided to give it a try and see if I couldn’t build on that foundation.
Sure enough I was able to it. As Dallas said all it took was a lot of time in Scripture to work on three things: repetition, concentration, and understanding. In the hope that you will be similarly inspired, I’d like to share with you my favorite Scripture memory passages from the Bible and their theme. Most of the electric Scripture memory passages below I have memorized.
May the Lord use one or more of these Scripture memory passages to light up your heart for Christ!
The Electric Bible Passages for Scripture Memory
Exodus 20:1-17 (Memorize the list of ten. To confess in and delight in the law.)
Matthew 6:9-13 (Spin off personal prayers from each phrase.)
Matthew 11:25-30 (MSG with paraphrases version)
Fruit of the Spirit
Armor of God
Do Not Worry
Matthew 6:25-31 or Luke 12:22-34
Joy! Joy! Joy!
Philippians 1 – 4 (Or 4:4-13; also 2:1-18 on humility and 3:7-14 on living for Christ alone)
How to Be Formed in Christ
Colossians 1-3 (Condensed; Paul’s Curriculum for Christlikeness)
1 Corinthians 13
Life Beyond the Grave
1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 49, 52, 54-58
Being Transformed in God’s Glory
2 Corinthians 4
Love God and One Another
1 John 4
Life in the Spirit
Romans 8 (Condensed)
Advent / Christmas
The Suffering Servant