As a college student, I took a short-term class that focused on three weeks of Scripture memory. I didn’t exactly know it when I signed up for the class, but it became a life-changing decision that still impacts my personal walk with the Lord today. Sitting in a room with thirty other students writing out verses one by one changed the way I studied Scripture and the way I understood the Bible.
For the past several weeks, I’ve challenged my eighth grade girls group to memorize ten verses—one each week. I can’t take credit for pushing them to do this. Instead, it came from a young college student who has been co-teaching with me. At the promise of frozen yogurt, I’ve watched these middle school girls work each week on various Scriptures. Yesterday I watched four of them recite all 10 verses. It has taken time each week to focus on this practice, but I think it has been a valuable lesson and reminder that many small groups are not spending time hiding God’s Word in their hearts.
How can you begin challenging women to memorize Scripture? How can you help them see the value of not just reading and studying God’s Word, but actually allowing it to penetrate into their daily walk with the Lord? If you want to take your group a little deeper and give them a challenge, consider these six steps to Scripture memory.
First, decide which verses to memorize as a group. Pick one verse from each week of your study and commit to working on the verse together. Allow women to choose the translation they study most often, but some groups may choose to study the same translation so they can hear the repetition over and over with the same words. Choose verses that are meaningful and personal.
Second, give the group a way to write out the verses and provide a means for keeping them readily available. An easy and inexpensive way to do this is to purchase index cards with a metal clasp you can purchase at any office supply store. There is value in having women write out the verse. You want women to use all forms of learning, including kinesthetic, visual, and auditory.
Find creative ways to keep the verses in front of the group. Create a phone lock screen, use an app that provides Scripture memory challenges, or text the group once or twice during the week and ask them how they are doing with the verse. Several years ago, I had the privilege of having a woman in my Bible study who is a gifted musician. She composed short songs for each verse during the study and recorded them on a CD for us to use as a memory aid.
Challenge women to find margin in their days to repeat the verse. Committing to memorizing several verses is a building process. Women should plan to repeat the verse (out loud if possible) several times a day in the car or when they find pockets of time. Each verse should take approximately 30 days of repetition before it “sticks” and is fully committed to memory. Whether it’s reviewing verses while sitting in the carpool line, on an afternoon commute, or replacing television time with Scripture memory time, all of us can find moments in our days to commit to this practice.
Spend time in your weekly study reciting the verses one by one. This may take time, so find a way to get them in small groups and hold each other accountable. If they weren’t able to memorize the verse, just hearing others recite the verse may spur them on to try it the following week.
Finally, celebrate at the end of the study! You don’t have to make promises like frozen yogurt, but applaud women in your study who take up the challenge and make it a priority. Scripture memory is meant to be beneficial, not legalistic, so ask women to share how the practice has helped them with the study or ask someone to share a testimony of how Scripture memory has changed the way they study Scripture.
If you’re looking for a resource on developing discipleship groups in your ministry to women, consider purchasing Kandi Gallaty’s new book, Disciple Her. This book gives women a practical game plan for weaving discipleship and Scripture memory into a weekly lifestyle.
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources and oversees the YOU Lead events. Join her this year and get to know her heart for ministry leaders. Follow her on Twitter @kellydking.