Assemblies of God News
Memory verses for grown-ups: Benefits of Bible memorization
Fri, 14 Sep 2007 - 4:05 PM CST
For generations, memory verses have been a staple of children's
Sunday School lessons. But bring up the subject of memorizing
Scripture in a roomful of adults, and it may be a conversation
Many churchgoers today don't even read the Bible, let alone commit
passages to memory. The Barna Group reports that 47 percent of U.S.
adults attend church each week. Meanwhile, a Boston University
researcher found 60 percent of Americans can't name five of the Ten
Commandments, and half of high school seniors think Sodom and
Gomorrah were a married couple, not twin cities destroyed for
In spite of the dismal statistics, there are still those who are
serious about studying Scripture - so serious, in fact, they may use
time spent stuck in traffic or sitting in a doctor's waiting room
Gary Smart, who attends First Christian Assembly of God in
Cincinnati, became interested in committing Scripture to memory
three years ago while helping his daughter learn a verse for the
church's Stars Club. He was surprised how the verse stuck with him
and reminded him of God's presence throughout the day. Since that
time, he has made an effort to memorize Bible passages on a regular
"I wasn't raised in a Scripture-memorizing church, so I didn't have
that benefit for many years," Smart says. "Now, I feel like knowing
God's Word gives me a foundation to stand on. I often think of the
verses I've learned and even use them to encourage others."
Fred Gore, Junior Bible Quiz coordinator for the Southern Missouri
District, earned his JBQ Master Seal while guiding his three sons
through the program. To do so, he memorized all 107 JBQ Bible
quotations in addition to the other Bible-related material. Gore
says the benefits of Bible memorization don't just apply to kids.
"The process of repeating a passage over and over causes me to
meditate on it more and really want to dig in to the Scripture to
understand it better, especially some of Scripture's great
passages," Gore says. "Scripture memorization for me has been like a
spark that's grabbed my heart and spurred me on to some really
in-depth study of the Word."
Brian King, JBQ coordinator for the North Carolina District and
Southeast Region, agrees that Scripture memorization shouldn't cease
at adulthood. King recently earned his Impossible Award, the
program's highest honor, by reciting all 576 JBQ questions and
answers. The award is usually given to children, but King says he
recognized the value of learning the material himself.
"I believe the Bible is what it purports to be, and trust that God
still honors obedience and faith," King says. "Therefore, it
behooves me to spend time learning and practicing the Word in my
life. If it really is God's Word, how could I not read, study and
There are a few ministries that specialize in adult Bible
memorization, such as The Navigators, an interdenominational
organization based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The organization
promotes a topical card system to help users memorize verses on
everything from fellowship to honesty.
Lauren Libby, vice president of The Navigators, describes his 35
years of memorizing Scripture as the best investment of his life.
Libby advises people who are interested in Bible memorization to
choose the method that works best for them, whether it's taping
verses to the bathroom mirror or listening to the Bible on tape. He
says it's often easier to begin the process with a partner who can
provide support and encouragement.
"When people begin to see the benefits of memorizing God's Word,
that tends to whet their appetite for more," Libby says. "For me, it
increases my vocabulary that the Lord can use to communicate with me
on a daily basis."
Mark W. Smith, pastor of First Assembly of God in Bellefontaine,
Ohio, says his Scripture memorization occurs naturally through
regular Bible reading. He notes that while committing Scripture to
memory is a commendable practice, it must be accompanied by a
personal desire to live out what the Bible teaches.
"I call it hiding God's Word in my heart or, as has become one of my
deeply held beliefs, letting God's Word become you," Smith says.