Is there one thing you can do to increase your knowledge of God, deepen your relationship with Christ, have an answer for those who have questions, and increase your mental capacity as a whole, create greater self discipline, and deepen your worship and ability to lead other’s in worship. Yes. Memorize scripture.
Before you say, “I just can’t memorize anything, let alone scripture,” that may be true right now, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, it’s hard to start. It’s even harder when nothing seems to stick and you think it would be more fun to hit your thumb with a hammer. But memorization gets easier over time and things will stick. For some it takes a few weeks, some a month, for others, well, just keep with it.
This list is far from exhaustive (although some might find it exhausting, see what I did there) but it’s a good start on foundational scripture. I used the English Standard Version since it’s known for having the best flow. The Lad’s at Crossway say, “The ESV is an “essentially literal” translation that seeks, as far as possible, to reproduce the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer.” Don’t worry, the verses flow better than that quote.
Following this list, I’ll include some help to make things a little easier. Okay, let’s get to it:
John 3:16-17 (Most people know the first part, but not the second because their Sunday school teacher said they didn’t have to.)
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Galations 5:22-23 (Evidence of the spirit in us.)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.
1 Corinthians 13:4–8a (In a world that has no idea what Love is, here is the answer, turns out, it’s not that big a mystery.)
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.
1John 1:8-9 (This is just straight up true, forgiveness requires nothing else.)
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Romans 10:9-10 (This spells out the path to salvation like a straight line.)
9 Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
1 Chronicles 29: 10-12 (I threw this in because it’s my life verse, but it’s from the Living Bible Translation, not ESV like the others, what can I say.)
11 Yours is the mighty power and glory and victory and majesty. Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything. 12 Riches and honor come from you alone, and you are the ruler of all mankind; your hand controls power and might, and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength.
Here is a quick list of helps to get you started:
1. Say the verse out loud while reading it.
2. Write the verses over and over. You don’t even have to have a pen or paper. Use your finger on any surface (typing it on a keyboard, however, does not help).
3. Be consistent with review.
4. Put the verse to music. It doesn’t have to sound good, it just has to help.
5. Use hand motions, the more ridiculous the better.
So like it says in James 1:25, Go Do It! (I’m paraphrasing, of course.)
What's Your Reaction?
Christopher Watson is an author of six books, both fiction and non-fiction. He is also a musician and composer with a B.A. in Music from Azusa Pacific University. For several years Christopher led worship at The Springs Church while attending Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas Texas. He's been involved with worship in a number of churches in California and the Pacific Northwest both as a musician and in production and technology. Now he lives and writes in Washington State with his amazing wife, wonderful daughters, and highly intelligent dog, Ellie Mae.