Rethinking Church-Wide Bible Memorization

It’s the same thing every Sunday. Memory verse time! We believe it is important to memorize the Word of God. What we don’t want is for it to become routine and just another thing to fill the “church hour”.

Even though having a church-wide Bible memorization program is not a new thing, missionaries when starting a new church have to choose wether to do it or not. This allows for some thinking on its costs and benefits. After all, we don’t want to do it just because “that’s what you do in church”.

We have a lady that comes to our church that is a new Christian. She is interested in growing in her walk with the Lord, so we got a more mature lady in the church and they are doing a one-on-one Bible study together. She is excited about the Lord and she takes her Bible study seriously. Earlier in the month I introduced the idea of memorizing Bible verses together as a church. She said, “Good! The other day I shared a Bible verse that I memorized in our Bible study with an unsaved friend. Then, I wanted to show her the verse in the Bible. I couldn’t. I had memorized the verse, but not the reference!”

She was reacting to the two main things I had just shared about our new endeavor. I had told them, (1) that we would learn to say the reference in the beginning and in the end of the verse, (2) and that this year we would be memorizing verses that we can then use for personal evangelism.

It is important that people have a good handle on why they’re doing what they’re doing. Of course we went over the Biblical reasons why Bible memorization is important. But after you do that, it is important that people can visualize how it all works in practice. Grouping the Bible verses you are memorizing in a theme, will help people understand that this is not a religious practice. We are committing God’s Word to memory because we want to be used of God and we want to use the tools He gives us to use. This year we have been encouraging our people (many of them are new believers) to share their faith with others. In this context it made sense to them when we told them that the verses we are memorizing can be used in personal evangelism. After a few months of memorizing evangelistic verses, maybe we can go on to verses on the Divinity of Christ, verses for people struggling with temptation, verses for people grieving, and the list goes on and on.

This idea worked well for us, because in a church planting context everything about church is in its inception, but I believe any church-wide Bible memorization program can benefit from it. Here’s what we did:

  1. A Sunday School lesson on Bible memorization: Even if you’re in the middle of a series, you can pause that and have just one lesson on the importance of Bible memorization. There is a lot in the Bible about it. Use your own testimony and testimonies about it borrowed from other Christians. Encourage the people. Listen to their concerns and answer their questions. The hour will fly by.
  2. One verse a month: Maybe after a few months go by, your people are ready for two verses a month. There is no need to overwhelm them and anyone that memorize other verses if they want.
  3. Remember the reference!: The reference is repeated twice every time we say the verse out loud. It is almost as important to know the verse’s “address” as it is to know the verse itself.
  4. Group the verses by theme: This is an easy way to showcase the application of a Bible memorization program.
  5. Start with an easy one: We started with John 1:12. Of course some people already knew it. Others knew it, but did not know the reference. Some, that you think ought to know it already, did not know it.
  6. Repeat the verse in every service: It does not have to take a long time in the service. For the visitors, it shows your church loves the Word of God.
  7. Involve the children: You might want to reinforce the monthly verse in your children’s Sunday School, so that the whole family is working on the same verse.

You will never remember all the verses you’ve learned at once. But the Holy Spirit can bring to memory, when you need it the most, the one verse that will help you.

Question: Any good ideas on Bible memorization, or testimonies you would like to share? Leave us a comment bellow.