Day 1: Choose your chapter {Tools to memorize}

be present

Today through Sunday we’re laying the foundation for memorizing a Bible chapter together, one step at a time. On Monday, Day 5, we’ll memorize our first verse!


1. Pray about what to memorize

These tools will work for any passage you want to memorize. Pick your own. But for this series, our examples will be with Isaiah 12:1-6. (Even if it’s not the passage you choose, you’ll probably have it memorized by default by October 31 if you read through each day’s posts.) Our Hide His Word memory group (HHW) through Do Not Depart is also currently learning Isaiah 12. It’s short; it’s relevant; it’s encouraging.

Prayerfully seek God’s guidance for what message he wants you to soak in.

2. Old Testament or New Testament?

Something long or short? Something relevant for this season, or a standard for all time? Something you can learn with your kids or on your own?

You have many options. My pattern is to alternate learning something from these four genres (but only one at a time!):

  • Old Testament Psalms
  • New Testament Gospel
  • anything other than Psalms in the Old Testament
  • New Testament letter

I also alternate between shorter chapters and longer chapters. Variety helps me stay motivated.

3. Partial or whole?

It doesn’t have to be a whole chapter either. Split it into parts. Or leave out a section. When I (attempted to) memorize Philippians, I intentionally omitted Philippians 2:19-30 because they weren’t as relevant and I was overloaded as it was. That’s okay. There are no rules! (Repeat that often.)

If you’re doing this for your own spiritual discipline, this is between you and God, and you two can change it up to fit your unique situation.

4.  Get suggestions from others.



* Pick a version and stick with it.
Which version should you use? Remaining undecided can sabotage your whole effort. Just choose the version you study in the most and go with it. You can aways change your mind later. At HHW our default version is ESV (that’s what I’ll use during this 31 Days), but other favorites include KJV, NKJV, and NIV.

* Don’t bite off too much.
If you’ve not memorized a chunk of scripture before, don’t choose a huge goal, like three chapters of the Sermon on the Mount. Start with something smaller like a Psalm or just a section of the Sermon on the Mount.

* Join Hide His Word (HHW) on Facebook.
I’ll refer often to the HHW group, and point you to materials we’ve created there with Do Not Depart. You’re welcome to join the group now just to have a look around, even if you don’t want to participate.

* Want a jump start?
Go ahead and start memorizing Isaiah 12:1 now. We’ll spend all next week on it together.


There’s no right or wrong method to use or passage to memorize. You don’t have to memorize anything!

God just wants you to be present with him and his truths, and scripture memory is one avenue for that.

Trust that he will be even more delighted than you that you’ll be spending concerted time together during the next 31 days.


* * *

Do you have a favorite version to memorize in? A favorite part of the Bible to memorize? What chapter will you be memorizing? Please share in the comments.

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Creating your schedule and 3×5 cards

31 days to memorize a Bible chapter

16 thoughts on “Day 1: Choose your chapter {Tools to memorize}

  1. blankLinda Stoll

    Bravely waiting with you as the clock ticks down these final minutes.

    We’re ready, we’re set … let’s GO!


    I’m dipping my toes into the water … and I’m in for Isaiah 12:1.

  2. blankJoanne Viola

    Lisa, this looks to be a wonderful & most helpful series. Scripture memorization is one of those things we can not apply ourselves to do. But it is so needed. Looking forward to the month ahead. Blessings as you write!

  3. blankTracey

    I’m going to tackle John 14. I’ve actually worked on memorizing this chapter before, but for some reason, it hasn’t stuck very well! I will have a head start since I know the first half of it pretty well, but I’d love to have it really cemented in my brain by the end of the month!!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      That’s awesome, Tracey. John 14 is one of my favorite chapters! I need to review it though; it’s been awhile. Nonetheless, even when we forget word-for-word, we still have the Spirit of the message living on in us. Time memorizing is always time well-spent.

  4. blankJune

    I’ll join you on Isaiah 12, Lisa. Great tips, excited to get started! I’ve used the Navigators memory system in the past and it worked really well for me.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Glad to have you on board with us, June! I’ve heard about the Navigators system but haven’t ever checked into it. When we find something that works, let’s hang on to it. 🙂

  5. blankLyli

    Years ago, a good friend was working with a Christian counselor, and he encouraged her to memorize 3 chapters — Romans 6, Ephesians 5, and Colossians 3. I decided to jump in with her, and it was life changing. — I am so looking forward to your series. This is a discipline that I am struggling in right now.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      How interesting to hear this, Lyli. I’ll go back and re-read those three chapters! Scripture memory is a discipline that doesn’t come naturally to me either, but it does help when I know others are doing it too.

  6. blankfloyd

    I’m gonna take your advice and not bite off too much here… I think I’ll just start with one verse… Mmmmm, maybe John 11: 35. (couldn’t help myself there)

    The last memorizing I did was here on your site in Isaiah a while back. I have to catch up on my Bible study, which is a whole lot easier than this! Good for you, Lisa.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Ha. John 11:35 is a perennial favorite for all of us. Whoever divided the Bible up must have realized we’d need it. 🙂 Good of you in catching up on your Bible study–we’ve only got so many hours in a day and we all need to prioritize what we need the most and when. Thanks for your consistent encouragement, Floyd!

  7. blankBeverley

    There is this one word that keeps coming back to me from Isaiah 12 – ‘He is my song’ – God is the very words that come out of my mouth, the words i speak and the words I sing, the words of my soul.

    It will take forever to memorise the 6 little verses perfectly with my imperfect brain, but I keep trying.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I can tell God must speak to you through music, Beverley. He does me as well. Sometimes a song can touch me in places that just words can’t. I’m so glad you’re with us for this 31 days.

  8. blankKim

    “Variety helps me stay motivated.” That is so true! I was getting so bogged down with Ephesians that I took a break and I have spent some time memorizing some Psalms and now Isaiah 12. I’m thinking I might be ready to get back to Ephesians after the holidays.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Exactly. I love mixing it up to keep me more involved. I had such a tough time trying to memorize Ephesians 1 so I admire you for returning to it. I’m not quite ready yet. ha. I’ll just read it instead. 🙂

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