Should Christians memorize verses in the Bible?


I mean memorizing the verses exactly. Me, I just remember fragments and remember the context, is that bad?


Many people advocate this. I prefer that we read them, understand them, let them seep into our soul, and then, act accordingly. Of course, when you are well read in Scripture, you tend to remember them very accurately. I myself, am not certain I have anything “memorized” though.
Merry Christmas to you.


You may memorise if you are able. It’s encouraged, but it’s not mandatory. Though the best thing is to understand, practise and teach the message to others. Much love and merry Christmas


I agree with pianistclare’s advice. Understand them first and let them influence you. :slight_smile:


I don’t know about ‘should’. There are situations where memorizing verses could help, but if all you do is just learn the words by rote and mechanically repeat them, it’s useless.


Hullo again, Puss in Boots! (aka SoulDiver)

I think it is more important to know the stories, than where they are chapter and verse. It is more important to get the gist of something, the main point of it. It is especially important to get the context of a verse or section of Scripture - both its immediate context (what stories and sayings surround it) and its context in the Bible. Although, chapters and verses can be helpful if you want someone to look something up.


unless your a scholar, teacher , priest , or something along those lines. I don’t know why you would need to memorize many precise quotes from the Bible. But its always good to have a thorough understanding of the events. Know what happened, without being able to retell it word for word, seems ok.


It’s a great idea as long as you can read and write Greek so you can get closer to original translations.


You don’t have to be a priest or scholar to memorize verses, nor do you have to know Greek. These are utter nonsense.

The longest Psalm and chapter of the Bible is King David’s expression of his love for God’s written word

How sweet are thy words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!

(Psalm 119:103)

A true lover of God’s word doesn’t memorize verses for the sake of memorization, or even for the sake of apologetics. We memorize verses because we actually read the Bible. We read the Bible because we love God and the Bible is God’s love letter to us.

You would remember a line from a love letter sent to you by a lover. The same is true of the Bible. I remember many verses because they are God’s expression of love for me.



Hi SoulDiver,
Memorizing a verse (or more) is stored in your brain. Which is good - easy to retrieve if some trigger indeed triggers the need of it.

Reading and studying and knowing the Bible in all context, and learning what it means - that understanding becomes part of your soul. When you “know”, then you can relate what you know to others. And, surprisingly, when you “know”, your knowing actually triggers remembrance in your brain of verses you never tried to memorize. So, know the story and the meaning - that will remain with you no matter the condition your material memories.

(by the way, I do read the bible in Greek - you won’t need to know that to find and to “know in your soul” the meaning; the Church does an excellent job of explaining what may be problematic in any given English translation)


I wish I could memorize things! I’ve always wanted to memorize my favorite poems, but the word-for-word memorization just doesn’t work! I do, however, remember what the poems, as well as favorite Bible passages, are about.

Louise Dickinson Rich said in “We Took to the Woods” (my favorite book by her), that her memorized poetry was her companion on her long, solitary walks through the forest. I end up with just bits & pieces. :frowning:

The inability to memorize is a bit embarrassing at Mass. After all these years as a Catholic, I still have to read the Creed and Gloria. I do OK with the shorter bits.


113 2. Read the Scripture within “the living Tradition of the whole Church”. According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (". . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church").

It is not necessary to memorize but it doesn’t hurt either in order to be ready as our first Pope tells us…

But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. 1 Peter 3:14-16


Amen. I wish I could be “a true lover of God’s word” too.


Nonsense to know what the original words are and what they mean? How can that be nonsense? It’s nonsense to memorize verses that have been so poorly translated that they no longer make sense.

While I agree that memorizing them for the sake of memorizing or arguing with non-Catholics isn’t the best use of time, it really does make a world of difference to read good translations and take an exegetical approach toward understanding. Lk 1:25 is but one example. In English, NABRE says, “He had no relations with her until she bore a son” and many take that to mean that after she bore a son, Mary had more children. But that’s not what the verse tells us when you read the Greek and the English could be understood to contradict with the Church in maintaining Mary’s perpetual virginity where as the Greek doesn’t contradict.

No, of course it would be ridiculous to say one is obligated to memorize order to be a “good” Christian. Likewise, one does not HAVE TO be a Bible Scholar, priest or fluent in Greek, but those who are are not nonsensical. Why wouldn’t one who loves God want to know His love letter to us in as close to original translations as possible? It seems to me that those who want to know God would want to study His Word.


A few verses I have naturally memorized just from reading the Bible often, but I don’t have much memorized. I can paraphrase them well enough if I need to explain something during a conversation. If I need to write something formal involving Bible verses, I can do a search to figure out the actual book, chapter, and verse number. I don’t need to have it memorized.


I never said that scripture scholars who are fluent in Greek are nonsensical. Those are your words, not mine.



I have bad memory for names and dates. I can never remember which story came from which book, not to say chapter and verse. But I can remember the lesson and the moral of the story and bits and pieces of sayings. Google, a searchable Bible on my android and pdfs are my tools and the paper Bible is used to verify and cross check.


It might be better if people didn’t memorize so much and re-read things instead. Too many people just say the words. If they were reading it, they would be engaging more than just their mouth and their auto-pilot. Their eyes would be involved in the words, their hands in holding the words, a different part of their brain. If the sound system wasn’t good, it wouldn’t matter. If they have kids, they can let the little ones pretend to read along.

All sorts of good things come from not relying on memorization.


I disagree slightly with some of the sentiments here. It is helpful to memorize things because you know them in a more intimate way. Imagine if you never memorized any music and always played off sheet music. It is usually harder to memorize texts, but the same principles apply. The texts become a part of you and I think in the process you will come to deeper knowledge and understanding. Try it sometime. Pick a favorite psalm, the beatitudes or some other passage of your choosing.


This is well put and the way the Early Desert Fathers used to read the Scriptures.

They did not read in a linear fashion like modern man but would spend weeks and months with the texts, going back and forth over them, interiorizing them until the words, phrases and ideas behind contained became part of who they are.

The process is still used today. It is called Lectio Divina.


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