Ever know the verse but can’t remember the reference? Ever wanted to read a Bible story to your child or share it with a friend but you don’t know where it is?
Yes, we can easily look them up online, but don’t you want to have a working knowledge of God’s Word that you could share and reference in the moment? Here are two simple ways to train yourself to remember where things are located. One is a Scripture memory technique and the other a Bible study method.
Scripture Memory Technique
Recalling Scripture in our time of need can be aided by adding a topic and the reference when memorizing the verse. Try this simple technique: pick a verse, add a topic, say the topic and the verse’s reference, read the verse aloud, and repeat the reference. For example, when learning Philippians 4:6 add a topic like anxiousness or prayer, say “Philippians 4:6,” read or recite the first phrase, and repeat the reference again.
When you tie the reference to the first few words or first phrase of the verse, it helps cement them together. Once the reference and first phrase are learned, add another phrase, continuing to say the topic and references before and after the verse.
Think of how we organize items in file folders on the computer so we can find them quicker. Our brains work that way too. When we categorize the verses or add the references, we are in essence creating file folders for the verses in our brains, and we can access and recall them faster. Part of the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives it to remind of God’s Word, so let’s work to store up His Word in our hearts (Ps. 119:11).
Name the Chapter Technique
When it comes to remembering where topics, lesson, or stories are found in the Bible, a good way to do that is to read a chapter and name it yourself, ignoring any captions already in your Bible.
Take a look at John 4. This chapter has 54 verses, but could be named with two words to help you remember what’s in it. Verses 1-42 deal with Jesus speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well and how many believed because of her. Verses 43-54 tell of Jesus going to Cana and healing a royal official’s son so he would not die. Are you thinking, “How can you name that in two words?”? It takes some thought, but this passage could be titled “John 4: Well, Well.” He spoke to the women at the well, and made the child well. Easy to remember, right? Again, adding the reference helps.
Another example of chapter names could be “Philippians 2 Should Humble You” or “John 9: The Blind See, Others Don’t.” The title can be clever or it can be simple. You can pick a chapter or you can go through a book of the Bible and name the chapters. This technique does require that you read through the passage several times. It also helps to outline it with short phrases to see how it is structured. Once you do this, putting it in your own words and adding your own title, you’re not as likely to forget it.
Try some passages and see how you do. You may want to start with shorter chapters found in the letters or with the shorter books like Colossian, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 2 Timothy or Titus until you get the hang of it. It you choose to do one of the gospels or to pick a chapter in one, you’ll find the content may be easier to divide into chunks, but the chapters are longer and can be harder to name succinctly.
This is a simple technique. It does require some time and study, but the results are worth it. The more you get into the God’s Word, the more God’s Word gets into you. Let God speak directly to you–teaching, strengthening, encouraging, preparing, etc. We hope you will add one of these techniques to your personal Bible study and see what a difference it can make in your recall and application of God Word.
What other techniques do you use to help remember God’s Word and where to find things in the Bible?