Countercultural

Look Deeper, See Clearer, Run Harder

4 Excuses to Not Memorize Scripture

Hey! Camden here. I’m so excited to share my first guest post from my friend Dakota. What you need to know about Dakota is he loves Jesus, he loves the Bible, and his JOB is to help people memorize Scripture. I’m excited to have him share his experiences with you.


If the thought of memorizing Scripture makes you cringe, then you know how I felt six years ago when I was challenged to start memorizing myself.

Photo credit: Dakota Lynch

Photo credit: Dakota Lynch

It took me about four seconds to come up with a list of reasons why Scripture memory just wasn’t for me. I was quite proud of my list of excuses:

  1. I have a bad memory.
  2. I don’t have enough time.
  3. Scripture memory might be commendable, but it’s probably not a requirement.
  4. Plenty of good people I know have never memorized a Bible verse.

Despite my excuses, I decided to give Scripture memory a try for the next 40 days and see if it was worthwhile. More than 2,000 days later I’m still memorizing, and here’s what I’ve learned in the meantime:

1. Scripture memory is transformative.

Nearly every expression of your individuality comes from the archives of your memory. Your favorite foods and personal preferences, the ability to recognize the face of a loved one, and even reading this paragraph in English depends entirely on your capacity to remember.

Considering the influence memory has on our daily lives, the value of filling it with Scripture can hardly be understated. The purity and completeness of Scripture is such that it converts the soul and enlightens the eyes (Ps. 19:7, 8) — especially when it’s working from the inside out.

2. Scripture memory makes obedience possible.

Knowledge of God’s Word always precedes obedience to God’s Word. Put another way, conformity to the image of Christ doesn’t happen by accident; it is always the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in the life of a believer (Galatians 5:22-23), as well as our own diligence to study the Scripture and live as doers of the Word (Jam. 1:22).

In John 15:7, abiding in Christ is inseparably linked with His words abiding in us. Again, the Holy Spirit’s vital role in this process is described by the Lord in John 14:26: “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will…bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” Abiding continually in Christ is absolutely necessary (vs. 6), but it’s only possible when His words are abiding in us.

3. Scripture memory is hard.

We’ve all heard about those people who can solve a Rubix Cube blindfolded or perform long division mentally, but don’t expect to uncover some trick that makes Scripture memory a cinch. Over the years I’ve spoken with hundreds of people about Scripture memory in both formal and informal settings, meeting people with hundreds and even thousands of verses memorized word-for-word. Surprisingly, even these “elite” memorizers don’t claim it’s easy; they simply claim it’s worth the effort.

If you’re intimidated by the perceived complexity of an effective memory routine, remember that it’s okay to start slow. Just pick a chapter or a handful of verses to memorize, set a reasonable deadline to keep yourself on track, and start memorizing! Scripture memory is very much an investment of time, and like all good investments, the return is far more valuable than the deposit.

What excuses have kept you back from Scripture memory? What tools or methods have you found helpful for Scripture memory? Share in the comments below!

  • Good thoughts Dakota. I do try to memorise scripture (… but strictly with an “s” as I am in the UK :-)) I find a regular slot once a week works for me.
    I have found the recall of scripture can make a sermon much more compelling and real. Also I have more than once been convinced and convicted by verses which I thought I knew but I only really knew when I got to the level of individual words and phrases – memorising makes you go down to that level. Too often we skinm scripture and assume we have read it.

  • Rev Peter

    Thank you for your wonderful post!

    If you want to do Bible memorisation with a long-term strategy, I recommend the app Remember Me. It makes memorising not only fun but also makes sure you will never forget the Words of God that you have learned.

    It’s so easy to use it’s now even part of Google Play for Families!