14 Ways for Adults to Memorize Scripture

In a previous post giving a personal testimony about Scripture Memorization I wrote that I would give some ideas for how adults can memorize Scripture.  This is my list of ideas.  You should be able to find something that fits you … your learning style, personality, etc.  Incorporating variety into the way you memorize Bible verses should help keep it from getting boring, from being mere routine.  Who said Scripture memory can’t be fun?

  1. Use a Scripture memory system like the Navigators’ Topical Memory System or  The MacArthur Scripture Memory System.  (links will take you affiliate store)
  2. Make your own set of verse cards on three by five cards or printed on cardstock.  Take them with you where ever you go.  Keep rotating through them.
  3. Use a buddy system where you learn Scripture together and hold each other accountable.  Small groups, not just one-on-one relationships, can be a good place to employ the buddy system.
  4. Use music.  There are plenty of Scripture memory songs for children out there. (The link will take you to our affiliate store.)  Although designed for children, this music could be an easy way for us adults to learn as well.  Scripture Release offers some free downloads of songs based on Scripture verses that are geared more for adults.
  5. Get creative and make up your own song using a Scripture verse for the lyrics.
  6. Write it out on a chalk or white board and erase a word and then another and then another, each time trying to say the verse with the missing words.
  7. Get some how-to books used for children’s ministry and make it fun for yourself using some of the game ideas suggested in them.  One book in our affiliate store is 52 Ways to Teach Memory Verses.  Who said adults can’t memorize verses using games and other activities?
  8. Use a computer program.  You can find programs on the internet by using a search engine, with keywords like “scripture memory program” or “scripture memory software.”  Tack on the word “free” and you will find plenty of freebies.
  9. Find an app for your cell phone for Scripture memorization.
  10. Work with the same verse or passage in a variety of ways.  Read it silently.  Read it aloud.  Study it.  Write it out.
  11. Put some rhythm into it.  Say it with emphasis on different words or syllables, clapping or tapping to each word, etc.
  12. Make symbols or draw pictures to represent words or phrases, either literally on paper or with mental images.  Use these images to guide you through recall of the verse.
  13. Each time you say the verse aloud, do it differently (i.e., regular volume, a whisper, loud, fast, slow, normal speed, etc.).
  14. Make a recording of verses you want to memorize and take it with you in the car to play on a continuous loop as you travel.

The Walls We Adults Have Built

Jesus Says We Adults Need to be like Little ChildrenJesus said His followers need to be like little children (Matt. 18:3; 19:14).

Here is the problem:  By the time we have reached adulthood, that child-like trust, transparency, and sense of awe so vital to our spiritual growth and relationships with one another has been replaced with walls.

Walls That Block Out Unwanted Feelings:

How quickly we learn that life doesn’t always go our way, that it sometimes includes suffering.  Bad things do happen to good people.  And, it doesn’t feel good.   We try to block out the negative reactions these events can cause, repressing our feelings.  Why?  Perhaps we have learned along the way that big boys don’t cry, that we shouldn’t be a wimp.  We may have gotten pegged as not having enough faith.  If we don’t feel, then we won’t react.  If we don’t react, we won’t have to be uncomfortable around others.  We’ve learned to mask our feelings so well that sometimes we aren’t even honest with ourselves about how we feel about both the good and bad of life.

Result:  We lose that child-like awe and wonder.

Walls That Keep a Distance Between Us and Other People:

Too often, as children, we are hurt by the very people who we most look to for care, understanding, attention, and love … parents, family, teachers, best friends.  Perhaps we were neglected, abused, rejected, or betrayed.  We feel like we’ve been let down.  Relational hurts, especially those experienced early in life, can cause us to say, “Never again.”  We try to prevent the same thing from reoccurring.

Result:  We no longer have that child-like trust.

Walls That Hide Who We Really Are:

We didn’t make the grade, get the part, or win the competition.  We felt the shame of disappointing our parents or teachers.  We were put down one too many times.  Soon we don’t even like ourselves.  We begin to play the part, saying and doing what we feel people expect of us.  We don’t want others to see our weaknesses or failures so we begin to make excuses or blame someone or something else.

Result:  We no longer have that child-like transparency.

Walls That Keep Us From Growing Spiritually:

If you are a teacher of an adult Bible class, you soon realize that these same walls also keep truth and growth opportunities from getting in.  Consequently, part of our task as teachers of adults is breaking walls down.

Breaking Walls Down Training Session for Teachers of Adult Bible ClassesThe Breaking Walls Down Training Session for Teachers of Adult Bible Classes gives nine different tools you can use to chisel away at those walls.

Breaking down the walls in your life will probably take you out of your comfort zone.  You may not feel safe.  So, start in your relationship with the Lord.  Find your security in Him.  Get a sense of how much He truly is there for you, working on your behalf.  Pull on the power and resources He extends to you. Then, if others let you down or if life gets hard, you can be okay because your source of significance is in Him.  You are loved with an unending love.

Baffled by Adult Ministries

I remember sitting down with a pastor of a church quite a few years ago about doing some teacher training at his church.  We got talking about adult ministries and he expressed how he was baffled about the lack of books and training materials for adult ministries.

The MinTools.com site has a page devoted to adult ministry resources.  You will notice only a few of the books in the general section linking to our affiliate bookstores, as of the writing of this post.  And, of those books, none are current.

Disciple Making Teachers: How to Equip Adults for Growth and Action (1997)

Ministering to Today’s Adults (1999)

The 7 Ways of Teaching the Bible to Adults: Using Our Multiple Intelligences to Build Faith (2000)

The Christian Educator’s Handbook on Adult Education (1998)

Now, you will find resources on some of the various sub-groupings like men’s and women’s ministry, younger, middle, and senior age adults, single and married adults.  But, — why so few general books on adult ministries?

If you were to check out the children’s ministry and youth ministry resource pages, you will find a good number of general ministry training resources for those age groups and I haven’t listed near all of the ones I could have.  But,  — you will not find this kind of volume for adult ministry training.

A popular online Christian bookstore has specialty stores by age levels.  The list includes infant/toddlers, children, youth, single adult, and senior adult.    Again, you do not find adult ministry listed as you do children and youth ministries.  Though some adults are included (what about married, younger and middle aged adults?), the list does not contain a general adult section.

Children’s and youth ministries are very important but so are adults.  Think about it:  Jesus, though welcoming children to Himself, primarily ministered to adults.  The Bible, though relevant to children and youth, is written as an adult book.  And, the Bible is clear that the main responsibility for the nurture of children and youth belongs to parents.  We need to know how to effectively minister to adults so their walk with God flows into the training of their children.

Perhaps the pastor I visited is right to be baffled.

Why isn’t more emphasis put on adult ministry training?