Though I probably never said it out loud, I used to think (somewhere in the back of my mind) that scripture memory wasn’t necessary anymore. With the Internet in my pocket at all times, who needs to spend the time and energy to actually memorize parts of the Bible? Now, this thought never left my mouth because
a. I have good Christian friends who would haul off and slap me for saying something like that, then ramble on about how I can trust “wounds from a friend” and
b. I knew in a different place in my mind it was a tired excuse for my laziness.
If I had to bet, some of you reading this have had similar thoughts.
“That kind of thing is for ‘professional Christians.’”
“I can just Google any verse I need.”
“I don’t need to memorize it when I have four different Bible apps on my phone.”
All of these things have run through my head at some point or another.
I say that so when I tell you the many merits of scripture memory and offer tips for trying it yourself, you won’t write us off as some super-Christian couple that has all their crap together and is perfectly proper in every way.
We are you, and this is for you. The experience we’ve had memorizing scripture together has yielded benefits in our individual relationships with the Lord and our relationship as husband and wife.
We decided to memorize Philippians together when Maranda had to learn the book as part of a seminary class assignment. When we began, the most immediate and profound benefit was that we were literally dwelling on scripture all day, every day.
If you’ve ever been in a play or maybe played music and you’ve had to memorize lines, this phenomenon will be familiar. Every time I had a quiet moment (as rare as they may be) I found myself repeating it back to myself.
“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus…”
And it’s funny what happens when you repeat something over and over and over again—you start to learn it. And I don’t mean “learn it” as in just remembering the words (although that happens), but you begin to learn the rich truths and lessons in ways that actually bear fruit in your life.
Sure, you’ve heard sermons on Philippians at some point or another, or you’ve read it in your quiet time, but when you are constantly repeating it to yourself, and you find yourself in the middle of an action or thought that is contradictory to the teaching, it is much simpler to change. Immediately.
This also improved our time together as a couple. We found that rather than the rut we often fall into of comparing complaints or just general small talk (which is not innately a bad thing), we were discussing Scripture.
“What stood out to you?”
“Why would Paul write that?”
“This is funny/interesting/profound…”
It sanctified our conversation and gave us tools to encourage one another. Wonderful.
It was also (hold your breath) really fun. We had a great time memorizing these passages together, quizzing each other, improvising new and fun ways to review, using goofy accents as we practiced. It was truly a blast.
Now that you know the perks, here are some tips to experience them for yourselves.
1. Make a plan.
I know that seems obvious, but it’s true. If you don’t make a plan, you won’t stick with it.
We divided the book into notecards with 6-10 verses on each, then we set out to memorize one notecard per week.
This worked great for us, but get creative here. Write sticky notes on your bathroom mirror. Try one of the many scripture memory tools available on the World Wide Web.
2. You need outside accountability.
This is huge. I have gotten behind several times already, and without outside accountability, I would have never thought I could make up the slack. I have a class to report to and two college students in our small group learning it as well. I can’t get behind.
3. Have intentional conversations.
God’s word is powerful and life changing—talk that out with your spouse. Our favorite question is, “How can I apply this to my life?” We have learned so much and really deepened our intimacy in this area.
That seems like another obvious one, but it’s true. Review it on your own. Review it together. Say it out loud and use muscle memory. Make those new brain pathways. Review! This is where the project has really refined and purified our time and conversations together.
5. Make it fun!
We have had some of the best times doing the silliest things. We took turns saying every other word as fast as we could. We gave high fives (or a smooch on the mouth) every time we got to a verb. I liked to say the verses I was learning in different accents and make Maranda guess the person or region. We have laughed so much during this time. This does not have to be a project you come to fear or avoid.
Try it for yourself. They don’t make an app with all these benefits.
Have you considered memorizing Scripture with your spouse? Start a conversation by sharing one of these photos: