Memorizing Scripture…for a Change

Memorizing a Bible verse (or verses) is beneficial and, actually, not that difficult to do (see The Easy Way to Memorize Scripture). Success in memorizing Scripture, however, is not the ultimate goal but a means through which believers can become more Christ-like.

There is a beneficial balance between putting Scripture to memory and practicing Scripture in everyday life. As many believers have experienced, it is possible to give “lip-service” to God’s Word and disregard “life-service.” Not only is “lip service” a half-hearted way to follow Christ, but it can be an indication of spiritual delusion.

James 1:22, But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Obedience to Scripture is tangible proof of a believer’s love for Jesus Christ. Only through consistent practice of

God’s Word found in the Bible can a believer grow in discernment and maturity. 

John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

Hebrews 5:14, But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Those who hide God’s Word in their heart and determine to allow that Word to be worked out in everyday life situations – with reliance on the Holy Spirit to enable them to do so – will live in a manner that brings glory to the Lord.

Psalm 119:11, I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

In order to be a doer of the Word with understanding, a believer must know the context in which the verses appear. Reading the verses before and after the verse(s) to be memorized helps one to understand the meaning of the Scripture and avoid unbiblical application. You can use a Bible dictionary to look up meanings of words along with commentaries to understand the overall view.

Sometimes the memory passages become more meaningful and easier to memorize if they are broken down from one or more sentences into their natural parts. For example, the “structure” of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 could be:

2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

Original Passage

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Passage Broken Down

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Breaking down a passage into smaller parts can help a believer meditate on its meaning while also making it easier to repeat and memorize.

Since a primary purpose of God’s Word is to change lives, memorizing portions of Scripture helps in this process. The Memory Verse Worksheet (which can be accessed by viewing the PDF version of the article) is a tool that demonstrates how a plan for scriptural application can be developed.



What does the Scripture say? (Verse reference and text)
2 Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (Taken from the New American Standard Bible)

What does the Scripture mean?

  • inspired: God breathed (God’s own word in His own word)
  • profitable: useful; helpful, beneficial, productive

For what purpose?

  • teaching: doctrine (content of)
  • reproof: to convict; rebuking in order to convict of wrong doctrine (teaching);
  • does not necessarily bring to a confession but it brings to the knowledge of right and wrong
  • correction: restore to the original and proper condition (in Greek literature it refers to setting upright an object that had fallen or helping a person back onto their feet after tripping); a positive response after one receives reproof
  • training in righteousness: to instruct (bringing up and training children); a positive sense

For what result?

  • adequate: complete; sufficient; completely qualified in everything
  • equipped: to put in appropriate condition; outfitted; able to meet all the demand

My words:

The Word of God is God’s own words. They are beneficial and productive for my life. He has penned them through human authors for the purpose of:

  • Teaching me doctrine (the pattern of how I should live)
  • Convicting when I stray from the pattern
  • Showing me how to correct my life according to the pattern
  • Helping me to grow up and continue in the pattern

He has given me the word so that as I obey it I will be completely qualified for and able to meet any demands of service He has called me to do.

How does it apply to me?

The Word of God is His word to me. It is the instruction manual for my life and who knows better how I should function than the Creator? It should be the only authoritative guide in my life and I need to know it and do it in order to serve Him as He intended me to serve.

What must I do to change? (Be specific)

Set aside time each day to read and meditate and pray. (Commit this time to the Lord as an appointment and explainmy commitment to my family so they will not disturb me unless an emergency occurs.) When: In the evening after dinner for 1 hour
Where: In the den
What: Proverbs—1 each day for 31 daysHow: Each week, memorize 2 verses from Proverbs using the Memory Verse WorksheetPray as Holy Spirit leads in addition to prayer requests (divide prayer list over 7 days so all requests are mentioned at least once by the end of the week)


Memorizing Scripture…For A Change © 2008 WordTruth, Inc—
Verses from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version © 2001Version by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers