The Easiest Way to Memorize the Bible: What I Learned from Dr. John Mitchell

By Kenneth Berding Jan. 28, 2012 4:09 p.m. Christian Education, Spiritual Formation

One of my professors in college was really old.  I can hear everyone asking:  “How old was he?”  (No, his social security number wasn’t 7…).  Let’s put it this way:  he was the founder of the college at which I was studying (Multnomah in Portland, Oregon), and the school was celebrating the half century mark of its founding while I was there!  In fact, Dr. John Mitchell was over the age of 90 when he taught the two classes I took from him.  He continued to teach well into his mid-90s.  Not surprisingly, he was getting forgetful about some things by the time I had him as a teacher, but what he definitely was not forgetting were the Bible verses he had memorized.  His ability to recall Bible verses was astounding.  I do not know this for a fact, but I would guess that he had all of the New Testament and large sections of the Old Testament committed to memory.  All of his students were profoundly impacted by his immersion in the Scriptures.

I only had one opportunity to sit and talk with him while I was a student.  I had a single question to ask him that day:  “How did you come to memorize so much of the Bible?”

He answered, “Well, I never really tried to memorize.  (Oh no, I thought, this isn’t going to be very helpful…)  “But before I prepare to preach a series of sermons on a book of the Bible, I first read it out loud 50 times before preaching it.[1]  (OK, this might be helpful)  “Since I preached a lot in my younger years (…now that is an understatement; read his biography![2]) I had lots of opportunities to read passages over and over again.”

Dr. Mitchell’s comments that day were a helpful turning point for me in my own commitment to memorize the Scriptures.  I had already tackled some large chunks of the Bible and committed them to memory, but the process of getting there had been rather painful.  Rote memory (“look at the verse, cover it with your hand, look into the air and try to quote it by memory, uncover the verse with your hand to see what you missed, fix whatever mistakes you made, try again) was hard work, and the results were not always satisfying from a long-term, remember-what-you-memorized standpoint.

After that single conversation with Dr. Mitchell, I changed tactics.  From then on, before traveling down the “rote road,” I would read the passage I wanted to memorize 50 times out loud with great emphasis.  Then—and only then—I would try the rote method.  I learned three things by doing it this way:

  1. I discovered that I had already memorized most of the passage I was trying to learn before I ever really started to try to memorize it.
  2. I found out that the process of reading a passage over and over again in-and-of-itself became a wonderful means of God working his grace in my life.  I wasn’t just learning words, I was thinking about where the passage was going.  God used it to help me understand the passage better, to think about its implications in my life, and to impact my actions and affections.
  3. I discovered that this process helped immensely in holding in my long-term memory the passages I had memorized.  It is a far better process for retention.

So, why don’t you try it yourself?

Here is a summary of the process.

Step 1:  Begin by selecting a passage of Scripture that takes approximately 15 minutes to read out loud.  Here is a short list of New Testament passages that would fall into this category that also would probably yield you a lot of personal spiritual fruit.

  • Matthew 5-7
  • John 14-17
  • Romans 6-8
  • Philippians (all)
  • Colossians (all)
  • 2 Timothy (all)
  • Hebrew 11-13
  • James (all)
  • 1 Peter (all)
  • 1 John (though this one is tough because of how cyclical it is)

Step 2:  Read your passage through once or twice a day aloud.  Keep track of how many times you have read it through.

Step 3:  Once you have read it aloud 50 times, then try to rote memorize it.  Keep working on it faithfully until you can get through the entire passage by memory.

Step 4:  Quote through it at least 25 times without looking to fix it in your memory.[3]

An additional step you can take that would ease the process would be to read your passage onto a digital recorder and listen to it whenever you can as you drive, walk, cook, or wait for something.  Your own recorded voice will work a little better than someone else’s voice, since it will match the intonation of your daily oral readings, but you can use a pre-recorded section if you prefer.

I’ll close with this thought:  If you started today, read aloud through Philippians once a day for 50 days, spent the following 15 days doing the rote-memory thing, reviewed for another 25 days, you could have all of Philippians memorized in three or four months by only spending a relatively painless 15 minutes a day doing it.  Wouldn’t that be amazing?!

[1]For a number of years I was unsure whether Dr. Mitchell had told me that he had read through the passages he was going to preach 50 times or whether he had read them through 70 times.  Recently I was able to confirm that the correct number must have been 50 through an e-mail correspondence with Dr. Garry Friesen who was a younger colleague and friend of Dr. Mitchell.  He wrote:  “Dr. Mitchell told me that G. Campbell Morgan told him that he read a book 50 times before preparing a series of sermons on it.  I would go with 50.”  E-mail correspondence with Garry Friesen, May 17, 2011.

[2]Dick Bohrer, Lion of God: A Biography of John G. Mitchell (Multnomah Bible College, 1994).  This biography is a little hard to find, but it is a good read about a faithful man of God.

[3]Note that some people will require fewer repetitions and others more.  You can learn more about your own capacity as you memorize more passages.


  • Ken Way Jan. 28, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    Thank you for this exhortation, Ken! I am both inspired and challenged.

  • Jenny Matthes Jan. 29, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    My family knew Dr. Mitchell. He was an amazing man and follower of Christ. Thank you for these wonderful reminders--both about him and his approach to studying Scripture!

  • Dan Collver Jan. 30, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    When he was younger Dr. Mitchell approached G. Campbell Morgan and asked him "how he studied his Bible". Morgan replied "you wouldn;t do it if I told you." Mitchell replied "try me". Morgan told him that he read through a book of the Bible 40 or 50 times before he started studying it. That is the way Dr. Mitchell told the story in the late 70's early 80's.

    Good adaption for memorization.

  • Sean Thomas Jan. 30, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    If anyone is interested in the Biography of Dr. John Mitchell, you can find a few copies on Amazon.

  • Tracy (Sean) Smith Feb. 8, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    Thank you, Ken! That was tremendous and very inspiring/helpful. What a blessing it was for me to be at Multnomah and have Dr. Mitchell as professor. He died at 97 the day before I graduated in 1990. The best thing he ever said to me was, "God never rewards greatness, but He always rewards faithfulness." I can also hear him saying to our freshman class of 1986, "Don't you folks ever read your Bibles?" Blessings.

  • Deron Nelson Feb. 11, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    Great thoughts. Excellent list of passages to start with. One other suggestion, is to read/quote the passage to your kids before bed. They will appreciate how much value the Word has, you will instill it in their minds, as well as yours, and they will start asking to hear the Words of God before bed everynight.

  • Dwight Gingrich Feb. 11, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Excellent! Thanks much for the advice!

    In November my wife and I began memorizing Ephesians. We are now half way through chapter 5. We have been approximately (though not rigorously) following the most helpful advice we have found so far: (I highly recommend reading this booklet, written by another person who is experienced in memorizing whole books of Scripture.)

    I think the advice you gave (pre-reading 50 times) would mesh wonderfully with what we have already been doing. I already find that the simple act of reviewing everything once a day (sometimes saying chapter/verse, sometimes not) works wonders for solidifying it in longterm memory. That works best when my wife and I review each evening after supper, alternating verses. Sometimes our 3-year-old daughter helps us when we pause... :-)

    Thank you!

  • Ken Garrett Feb. 11, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Thank you!

  • Mark Harmon Feb. 11, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Lion of God is available as a PDF on line

  • John Project Feb. 12, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    I just came across your blog and feel really excited to meet other brothers in sisters in Christ, memorizing Scripture.

    I have just finished memorizing the book of John and I am praying about which Gospel or book to memorize next.
    If any of you would like to join in we could support one another. I know it would sure be a blessing to me, and probably many others as well.
    Here is my blog with my tips and tricks on how I did it, along with my battles, if your interested.
    I shall be starting a new book from the new testament any day now, if you want to get in on it, let me know. God bless you all !

    P.S ......I was thinking, Matthew or Luke

  • Sean Ronnau Feb. 15, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    Thank you so much for the advice. By instinct I have started to you use the process you describe and I am finding that it is very effective. Thank you for confirming something that God is doing in my heart. " whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life...."

  • Marcus Brotherton Feb. 15, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    Thank you for this excellent post. I, too, had Dr. Mitchell while at Multnomah from 1986-1990 and was inspired by his strong commitment to the Bible.

  • Lan Kwon Feb. 19, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    I just started to memorize the Bible. I am starting with the New Testament. I haven't gotten very far. I am in Mark 7 right now. When I look back to Matthews, all that I had memorize is mostly gone!
    Ahhh! I have few verses from that book that I still have in me but I cannot recall word for word the whole book-which was my goal. I thought that would not be possible until I read this site. So, it is possible!! I had just prayed to God to make memorizing the Bible easier for me and here is my answer - just read it 50 times. I can do that easily with pleasure! God is soooo awesome!

  • Ken Berding Feb. 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Thanks for your comment, Lan (and everyone else's encouraging comments as well!). Keep in mind that some people will need more than 50 times to really get it (some less) and that you need to include a period of 25 or so days of trying to work the passage through by "rote" after you have done the 50 times. And then you need to make sure you quote through it 25 more times to lock it in your memory. These last 25 times would come after you can actually speak it through by memory, so you need to do whatever it takes to get to the point of being able to speak it through by memory. And if you add listening to it while you drive in your car (or wherever you are), that will solidify it even more.

  • deb May. 20, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    I just bless God for His faithfulness to come across this site. So do u mean i have to read each chapter of the Bible 50 times before moving to the next chapter.

  • robin williams Jun. 3, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    So far you must have tried various methods to memorize Bible verses, but sometimes we are not able to remember it correctly. One of my friends gave me an excellent idea to memorize the Bible verses. He showed me his android phone to which he had downloaded an application which puts holy verses on your phone wallpaper. What is more amazing is that the verses keep on changing after some time. In today’s world everyone keeps their phone with themselves every time, so whenever you see your phone you see a verse. What could be more better way to memorize the verses other than this. The application can be downloaded from the link to your android phone.
    You can send the verse as a message to your friend or post the verse to your friend’s facebook wall.
    What could be more better way to share the Word Of The Lord. God bless us all.

  • Sebastian Jun. 23, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    It helps a lot, and maybe is the best way, to memorize listening to music, specially if the music is word for word, verbatim. In this website there are free mp3 of the NIV

  • Elohor Jul. 24, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    This is wonderful i actually want to challenge myself when i saw this exortation i was encourage to do right away.
    Thanks alot.

  • noah Aug. 13, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    The first two chapters i memorized were psalms 1 and james 1 it was so rewarding for me if anyone is starting to memorize start with psalm 1 its only six verses

  • Gabe Whiteman-Jones Sep. 11, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    God is GOOD!!!! Thank you Jesus!

  • Merit Wolff Sep. 12, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    Thank you for this information! I am taking a Bible study on James - apart from my current Master's of Practical Theology studies -and was challenged to memorize the entire book! I cannot wait to get started! Hope to have it memorized by maybe Thanksgiving? Is that realistic? I am a mom of two teenage girls - so this might be a real test for myself!

  • Ken Berding Sep. 12, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Merit, James would be a wonderful book to memorize. It will take you fifteen to twenty minutes to read out loud each time you read through it (depending upon how fast you read). Assuming that you miss a day occasionally, it will take you until nearly Thanksgiving just to do your first fifty out-loud reads through the book. Then you'll need some daily time to work on it using the rote method (which will then be much, much easier to do). After you can quote through it, you'll need another twenty-five times of saying it by memory to solidify it. So it will probably take you closer to New Years to finish it. And if you somehow find that you cannot give the fifteen to twenty minutes a day, then do it as often or as little as you are able. Even if it stretches the process out beyond New Years into January, February, or March, you will still be able to memorize the whole book, even if at a slower pace.

    Blessings to all of you who are taking on the challenge of memorizing the Word of God! What a refreshing change to hear about all of you who are seeking to hide God's Word in your heart.

  • darko paul Sep. 16, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    hi most precious one of God,i pls wana be a great soul winner buh it's lke am kind of shy abt it!!pls hlp me out kk??

  • Mehaka Sep. 20, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I remember the actor Anthony Hopkins said he would practice his lines 50 times.

  • Raymond Oct. 17, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    I have been looking at your page I am trying to find out the books of the bible in order from Matthew two Revelations. I don't remember them but my grandson wants to learn, what they are. I can't teach and what I don't know.

  • Ken Berding Oct. 17, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Raymond, I'm so glad that you want to help your grandson learn the books of the Bible. My suggestion is that you get your hands on a Bible (or go to and click on "Bible book list") and you'll find in the front cover a list of the books of the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi and the books of the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation. Please take the opportunity to read some of the Bible yourself while you're there. A good first book to read would be the book of Mark in the New Testament; a good first book to read in the Old Testament is the book of Genesis. I hope you find a lot of help in your own spiritual journey as you read there. And I hope that your grandson does as well.

  • Ferne Walters Beier Oct. 30, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    I'm a graduate of MSB's class of 1951, and Dr. Mitchell was one of my most favorite teachers. He always said the best way to memorize the Scriptures was to read them over and over again, and that's how he could quote so much of the Bible. I can still hear him singing at the top of his lungs in his Scottish brogue, "Why let the troubles of tomorrow bring sorrow to your heart and burdens too .., for if the Father's eye is on the sparrow, then surely HE will care for YOU!" All through these years, I have always said the time one spends at Multnomah is a preparation for life. May God keep blessing and leading Multnomah!

  • medjman Dec. 5, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    I have been memorize the Gospel of Mark. I have just completed the third chapter and looking forward to Chapter 4. It has been a prayerful task. At night I will often recite a chapter to myself as I fall asleep. As to how? I use all modes of learning-- visual, tactile, audio, and speech. I write the passages, type them, say them, listen to them keep index cards in my pocket of the new passage or the older ones that are not solidified. When my memory gets tired, I just listen to a chapter (I have an audio version), when I don't feeling listening is working then I write out the passage and eventually I get it. Today I had my house to myself and I was able to recite the first three chapters aloud. That was a great feeling.

  • Taurai Dec. 19, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    All these comments I have went through..they are so encouraging that I cant wait to start memorising the New Testament. This has helped me out because I have always been scared to start it. Thumbs up to those who have completed certain books, whether Old or New Testament, you rock :) I think I may start with James, or Phillipians or John, as suggested by above posts.
    Its good to meet you friends in Christ.

  • Peter Dec. 27, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Memorizing Bible verses does not need to take time. If you use a smartphone app like Remember Me (for <a href="">Android</a> and <a href="">iOS</a>) you can memorize whenever you are waiting for a bus or even while you're on the road.

  • Juliet Kanyumbu Dec. 28, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    Great blog. Excatly what I was looking for. God bless you all. Can't wait to start, will be starting with the book of Matthew.

  • Aisha Jan. 14, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    I'll be starting to memorize the Gospel of John and then i'l take it 4rm there. Im starting because i realized that so much ppl are bible illiterate. So yeah.

  • Lorena Feb. 26, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    This is exactly what i was looking for! Can't wait to try it! I"ll start with John 14-17. Thanks!

  • Belinda Mar. 5, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    God Bless You & Thankyou....verry helpful

  • fire Mar. 10, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    i did notlike it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • lizzy philip alfred Apr. 13, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    Dear Ken,
    Read your post with my 16 year old daughter Karen. She said she loved it for the way it was written.In fact we both loved it absolutely and want to try it ourselves.!
    We thank God for Dr Mitchell though this is the first time we are hearing of him. . Memorising scripture had been a big challenge to me always but now we hope to overcome it. thank you .God bless you .

  • adam May. 4, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    i hate this this is to long plstell me a easy one

  • OWOADE May. 4, 2013 at 2:27 PM


  • David Manenji Jun. 3, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Found above posts to be very inspiring. I thank God for you all and will start mmemorising the Word right away. Feel very refreshed by your advice.

  • Jamie Jun. 12, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    This is exactly what I've been Google searching for. I've heard if people in foreign countries memorizing the bible, in fear that it cod be taken away. I wondered how it could be done, since when I try to memorize I have difficulty with it staying completely with me long term, I'm prone to saying something like "the bible says something like...". Thanks for posting this!

  • sarun. Jun. 18, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    Thank you very much.

  • Samuel Jun. 21, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    I have been blessed by just going through these comments especially by the very words of Dr Mitchell "God doesn't reward greatness but faithfulness". thanks a lot. this is the best way I have learnt to memorize the scriptures.

  • ANGELIQUE COLLIE Jul. 17, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    Thankyou for the advice because i have been trying tyo find a way to effectively
    memorize scripture and now im realizing that its a progressive task that will only
    be properly fulfilled if you are committed and put in the effort to do so.

    Thanks a bunch!

    Nassau, Bahamas

  • Collins Ugoh Sep. 7, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    I haven't started the routine yet but I can feel it in my spirit that this is one of the tips, if not the only, that I need to be able to memorise the scriptures. Thank u very much and may the Lord count ur efforts worthy, not just here but also in heaven. Shalom

  • tony Sep. 8, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    takes the conscience mind 30 days + - to make an electric, dielectric
    path. example, the service number is imbeded into the new recruit
    every day for 20-30 days, the data stays in long term memory for
    lifetime. however, write down numbers to represent letters, note this
    numbers to the scripture, and the electric, dielectric path will stay
    in the long term memory more readily.

  • tony Sep. 8, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    Holy scripture is not written for the human mind. This writtings are
    by the HOLY SPIRIT to guide the soul to the KINGDOM of
    GOD, this KINGDOM is not limited, nor created, it is. The human mind can not cope with unlimited existence. The DNA limits the existence of the HUMAN mind, in the KINGDOM, there is no DNA, only the
    MAGNIFICENT presence of GOD,
    So scripture is not to be memorized, the WORD of GOD is to be unlimited in the existence of unity with its creator, GOD.

  • Daniel M Sep. 11, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    Psalm 113

  • ALex Oct. 22, 2013 at 4:23 AM

    Thank you, Thank you very much, because i am memorizing Pslams up to 150, but present am in 32 Pslams, am following this way
    Learn 1 Ps,
    Learn 2 Ps, after that 1+2 read without seeing...
    Learn 3 Ps, after that 1+2+3 read without seeing...
    and so on........
    Now am Memorized 32 Pslams.....
    your method is just hard but life long memorable Techniqe...
    i will follow your Method

  • Remi Oct. 29, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    I found it useful to play a audio bible when I go to my work. I repeat the psalm or the bible chapter until I know it. In the afternoon, when I come back, I play my playlist of all the bible verse I memorized so far, and about 15 I want to memorize later. It helps me when I arrive to memorize, it makes it way easier.

    G-d bless.


  • Ibn Yusuf Nov. 11, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Do you know one of the very evident miracles of the last 1435 years - the Holy Quran - memorized buy millions of Muslims, even by millions who do not the Arabic language except the ability to read its script. The Holy Quran the final testament to mankind from your Lord - preserved intact in its pristine revealed form both written and printed and entrenched in the hearts of the millions who have memorized it without much difficulty. Is there any book of that size that is memorizable with such ease. Is this not a manifestation of your Lords miracle and a testimony of the Truth of Islam. Come unto Islam and achieve Salvation

  • Ken Berding Nov. 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Thanks to all of you for your helpful and encouraging posts. May God bless each of you as you seek to memorize his Holy Word.

    Ibn Yusuf, thank you also for your comment. It is true that many Muslims have committed the Quran to memory, and I respect them for their dedication. But I would encourage them (and you) to carefully read the Holy Scriptures that came before the Quran existed--the Old and New Testaments--what the Quran refers to as the Taurat, Zabur, and Injil. In those Holy Scriptures (which Muslims are supposed to read, respect, and learn from) you will come to know Jesus Christ (Isa the Messiah) by reading what he himself spoke about himself. You will also learn in those Scriptures what God says about how to be in a right relationship with him. And before you write a comment about our Scriptures getting changed, I would encourage you to do two things: 1) Read the Old and New Testaments for yourself, and 2) Ask yourself whether anyone is able to change something that is truly the Word of God (if you indeed believe that).

    I will pray for you on your journey of faith and that you will come to know Jesus the Messiah as he truly is described in the Holy Scriptures.

  • Daniel C Omusinde Dec. 26, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    I have wanted to memorize Revelations. I have come to believe that keeping the word in your heart is another way of staying filled with the Spirit. This is a good artice...

  • Matt C Jan. 1, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    In the spirit of memorizing scripture, I developed a game for the iPad/iPhone of the 100 most-read Bible verses. I too struggled with memorizing scripture. I do believe hard work is the way to memorize —Doing anything 50 times commits it to memory. Hopefully, with the help from the technology we carry in our pocket everyday, it can be a bit more entertaining. Check it out as another tool to help the body of Christ learn scripture:

    Thanks for your post!

  • william serwanga Feb. 2, 2014 at 5:51 AM

    hey plz post me a good book and memo book

  • Mack Nunsuch III Feb. 9, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    THANK- YOU!!! This post was just what I was looking for. I praise God for you!

  • Burnitta G Mar. 30, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    I have the audio bible on my phone and I listen to it when I am working or relaxing. The Word comes by hearing it and I'm a testiment to the blessing of hearing the Word as well as reading it.

  • Jenny M. Apr. 4, 2014 at 6:28 AM

    I absolutly love it! Thank God for people like you. May God bless you and your family.

  • Gene Laratonda Apr. 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    Memory palace using memory techniques that date back 2500 years. Verbatim with references... this is the way to do it...

    I will have James completely memorized in 1 month.

  • ignacio m rodriguez Apr. 14, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    thankyou for the tip it is very helpfull

  • Daniel Apr. 14, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    Another way to memorize scripture. Anyone remember how you used to cuss in the world? What did you do to learn those words? you heard them, and repeated them.... over and over til you could say it in your sleep. Well if you use that same method for any verse in the Bible, in no time you'll be able to say those verses from the Bible in your sleep. Try it, see how well it works for you. :)

    your brother in Christ,

  • Richard Apr. 22, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    Thank you so much for this, God bless you. In addition, I recently came across a game, Zion Quest that I downloaded on my tablet and it has helped me to quote the Bible with boldness.

  • Sule Tekande Joshua Jun. 15, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    This is splendid! It's xactly packaged stuff I had wanted all this while. Dr. Mitchell, "I will be more than you" . . . that's the spirit.

    So help me oh lord.

  • Cmd Jul. 21, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    I still cant understand if ea. Chapter or verse is read 50x or the whole the whole book?

  • Ken Berding Jul. 23, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Cmd, my recommendation is that you read the entire book of, say, Philippians in a single out-loud reading--it will take you around 12 minutes--and then do it again, and again, and again until you've read it 50 times. Not verse-by-verse, but all at once. I hope this was helpful.

  • Dyre Aug. 4, 2014 at 1:54 AM

    Thank you for this. I found myself witnessing to an atheist and I'm horrible at retaining anything I read, listen to, watch, etc. Basically disaster ensued. He had read the Bible as a kid and throughout his life but knew the Bible better than I. I was devastated but didn't let it show. He walked away doing what nonbelievers do, snickering, angry and smug that they won another victory against a Christian. He had won in my eyes and I have been absolutely depressed and felt defeated all day long. I asked in my heart and mind, "God, where were You!? You promised that the Holy Spirit would help us to answer anything that was thrown at us. That verses and how to answer would come to us when these types of sharing happen." I felt completely alone. I still feel shattered and abandoned and the only thing I keep feeling or sensing is that perhaps God knows his heart, that he will not believe no matter what I or anyone else will say to him so he didn't allow me to share as I would share to someone. Or on the other side of the coin, perhaps I am not the one He will use to win him to Christ. Anyways, I do thank you for your help here and I will definitely put this into practice. Memory is not my best sense, for anything, not just Bible
    God bless you.

  • Better luck elsewhere Sep. 19, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    and yet....somehow this author manages to not give a single insight into how memory works and how it may be used to learn the Good Book by heart.

    Readers, you have not been shammed by a charlatan. You have just wasted your time paying attention to one who proclaims knowledge, yet has none to offer. My message to you: help yourself to a simple Google search on memorization techniques...because you have not and will not learn anything here. Let your own experience be the testament.

  • Taslim Alade Jan. 1, 2015 at 7:20 PM

    Great contribution to spiritual development. I will surely try it. I believe it will work. Please keep it up. Thank you.

  • Lori Menchaca Jan. 10, 2015 at 7:44 PM

    This is great! I intend to apply it! Thank you!

  • Powei Imoemiye Matthew Jan. 26, 2015 at 11:25 PM

    Thanks so much. You have really helped. Praise be to Jesus

  • Karlene Bramwell Feb. 3, 2015 at 7:48 PM

    It a blessing for me when I found this site. I have troubles remembering scriptures, I want to evangelize but I need to know the word thus sayeth the Lord. I am going to start as of tonight with God in the midst to guide me along the way. Keep lifting the word of God. My God is AWESOME.

  • Rea Feb. 4, 2015 at 12:18 PM

    Thank you soo much for this site. I always thought memorizing scriptures is not for me . I tried but it was not easy. I'm starting today and this is going to be an interesting journey. Thank u so much sons and daughters of the most High God. Love you all

  • Tommy Mar. 1, 2015 at 9:53 PM

    So, when either reading outloud 50 times, or when memorizing, do you say & memorize chapter & verse numbers?

  • Ken Berding Mar. 3, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    Tommy, don't say the verse numbers aloud when reading, just the words themselves. I usually say "chapter X" aloud when a get to a new chapter, but never the verses. This will make reading aloud much smoother and make everything easier to learn.

  • Thys du Plessis, South Africa May. 14, 2015 at 12:28 AM

    Only yesterday I re-committed myself to memorize larger portions and even complete books in the bible after reading about a Pastor who had committed to memory 4x complete New Testament books and that he was busy with the fifth. What he said was that after repeating a verse/s a 100 times by various means and at various intervals that verse/s will be permanently committed to memory.

    I then researched similar websites and came to the conclusion that "repeat" seems to be the key. Instead of memorizing verses through the whole bible I have decided to re-start my earlier commitment by committing the Gospel of John to memory.

    Based on what you propose (ie the 50 principle) I believe that that will also be my approach as I see no better way to memorize significant portions of the bible at a time.

    What a privilege to have unlimited access to God's living Word. May our Great God receive all the glory!

  • Rico Kaplan Jul. 8, 2015 at 5:59 AM

    I too was under the tutelage of Dr. Mitchell and heard the same story. This was back in 1975 when I too attended Multnomah for three years. A few years back, I am an evangelist/missionary, while teaching Romans, before teaching it or even starting to study it, I read it through twenty this day, although I don't have the whole book memorized, I can tell you what is in each chapter, piece by piece...I got the book under control...what a wonderful and simple and powerful method. I tried memorizing Ephesians a few years ago...just by rote, and, although I got almost to the end of chapter 5, that's when it stopped. It was very difficult to keep it all together without a ton of review...I will try the Mitchell approach on the same book..Romans, Ephesians, Hebrews, and I John...pivotal theologically powerful books...and let's see if it works better. Thanks...just got back from four years of missionary work in presently living in Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Blaine Scogin Jul. 27, 2015 at 3:17 AM

    I was very intrigued by the article About Dr. Mitchell. I heard this same principle repeated by Chuck Swindoll and John MacArthur. They recommend taking one of the shorter books of the Bible and reading it once a day for 30 days.At the end of the 30 days One should be able to retain a good portion of the book. Maybe not word for word. But at least have that book in their mind and hopefully their heart. I have tried this with Colossians With some success. But I think what was missing was reading it aloud.

    I am tempted to try this again. Using Colossians. Reading it aloud once or maybe twice a day for the recommended 50 days. I hope to report back And give a testimony.

    One thing we must remember. The New Testament Was written In an oral context. Many of the letters and Gospels were read orally In a public setting. My understanding is many of the hearers were illiterate. Yet many of them were able to retain the truth of the Epistle or gospel read.

    Also The original Gospels and letters Did not have chapters and verses numbers. Thus when they were read It was as one continuous unit. Much like one receives a letter or an email in this day and age. So If we read a shorter book of the Bible like say Colossians. We do well to read it disregarding the chapter and verse numbers. For I believe this is how the early church would receive one of Paul's letters.

    Simply my thoughts.

    Brother Blaine

  • Dave Sep. 10, 2015 at 3:53 AM

    So nice to see more faithful people out here. Thanks for such a nice story and for your helpful tips! I shall use these while studying in the ministry. May you and all who are reading this take the time to learn about my faith:

  • Diann Revels Sep. 21, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    Thanks for realizing how important it I is to commit to memory the
    Word of God.. The more of God's Word we know the more we can
    fight the enemy.

  • Lucile Jordan Oct. 27, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    I'm. waiting on how to simply. Memorize the Dcritures.

  • River La Belle Nov. 4, 2015 at 5:56 PM

    Mr. Berding,
    I find it a testimony to God's grace that your post has received comments regularly over a period of nearly four years from people (it appears) of many different nationalities and faiths. May this message of the power of God's written, infallible, and inerrant Word reach to the ends of the earth. The true Word, Jesus Christ (John 1:1-14) is the final answer and the "Yea and Amen" to all of God's written Word.

    Your blog post was an encouragement to me. Thank you.

  • Daniel Chinonye Nwanna Dec. 2, 2015 at 7:51 AM

    pls help me on how best I can read, study, retain and practice the Holy Bible

  • Haokip Lunkhosei Dec. 29, 2015 at 3:41 AM

    wua... 50 times?

  • Joyce Jan. 4, 2016 at 6:07 PM

    Yes. This works. I learned this 'by accident' when I was taking a class my college pastor was teaching on how to study the Bible, and he gave us the assignment to read 2 Timothy every day for 30 days. At the end of 30 days, I discovered, that I nearly had it memorized from the 'sound' of the words in my head. I think I just practiced it for a couple weeks after that and had it down.

    Interestingly, I was searching for tips to see if there is a smarter method of memorizing books of the bible than I have been using. Since then, I have used the rote method (read a verse/recite/repeat until I get it) instead to memorize 7 New Testament books. However, I was thinking there must be a better way of doing it, so was searching for tips. Even though I remembered memorizing 2 Timothy 'accidentally' by reading it 30 times, I had never tried it again.

    I guess I will give it a try for the rest of Hebrews! I think that it makes sense, also, to actually study it, picking out the key verse/word/theme/commands/promises in each chapter at the same time. That should help cement the order and where a passage is going in one's mind. I guess that I knew that all along, but was too lazy to put it into action.

    I have also found that if I walk while memorizing, there is something about that that helps me 'get it' quicker. I don't know why, but it really works, and I have heard others say that also.

    Thank you for sharing this tip!

  • Joyce Jan. 4, 2016 at 6:14 PM

    Another tip...As was stated, it can be helpful to record oneself reading the passage aloud. I have done this, and played it during my drive to work, soon trying to say whatever words I remember along with it. The sound and rhythm and words get into your memory, and without much effort, you can soon recite much of it from memory. With this method, it is quite easy to catch mistakes and correct them, too.

  • Roland Feb. 8, 2016 at 2:54 PM

    Thank you for this article.

    I will start my journey of verbatim memorization of the Bible, beginning with the New testament books.

    I will return to give an update.

    Love to all of you...

  • Bryon Apr. 25, 2016 at 8:10 AM


    What about any tips for retaining large memory chunks - for years and years afterwards?

    For instance, I have a couple NT books committed to memory. My current strategy for retention is to recite a different chapter each day. But I am wondering if there are maybe other tactics that may be more effective?

  • Maame Etrubah May. 11, 2016 at 5:45 AM

    Thanks for sharing. I will practise it and get back with my TESTIMONY. God bless you so much......

  • Dehbia Jun. 16, 2016 at 1:23 PM

    I hope that one day you will try to read with your hearts the quran and listen to its verses recited by a lot of reciters with magic sounds. You had never tried to recite the bible like the moslems do with their quran. There is a wonderful story of love between your cells and the quran, you can feel the deepness of this love when you decide to think our out the box and open your heart to receive the last message of Allah for mankind. May Allah guide you to his light.

  • James Jul. 26, 2016 at 5:06 PM

    There is a series on Youtube channel aFathersDream that helps you memorize James and Jude using a memory palace.

  • Blaine Scogin Sep. 1, 2016 at 5:09 AM

    I had posted on this blog a little over a year ago. Presently I'm starting a new translation of the Bible. 1 easier to read and listen to. Since my heart is for the persecuted Church. I want to read through 1st Peter and listen to it for 30 days. Hopefully I will retain much of this book in my heart and mind. Hope to come back with a testimony at the end of September.

    Brother Blaine

  • Tim Hammer Sep. 21, 2016 at 7:16 PM

    I just used this advice to memorize Psalm 121. Read it first, about 60 times, then worked on going through it without reading, and didn't take too long to get it all down. Can't wait to memorize more chapters. I previously loved memorizing short verses, but want to work on chapters. Having chapters really helps, at least for me, during times where I might start to get worried about something, tired, or frustrated. I decide that instead of dwelling on those things, I will go over a chapter or two in my head, and then it really helps me forget about the negative things.

  • Mark Nov. 15, 2016 at 10:32 AM

    Ths is an interesting rote memorization method. If I need to memorize for instance six pages of print in a week, then do you simply shorten your suggested time line above? I.e., read the six pages 50 times the first day, then memorize the next days, etc., etc.? Thank you.

  • Susan Tallarico Mar. 21, 2017 at 1:05 PM

    Thank you for your posts. Every January our pastor at church encourages us to memorize scripture. In the church bulletin in January would be what was recommended we memorize. I always said I was going to do it, and would start and never follow through and do it.
    This year a friend and I are doing it, and I have completed 14 weeks. It takes me a while to get the verses memorized, however I do get it done. I am very proud of my efforts.

  • Blaine Scogin May. 20, 2017 at 4:02 AM

    Glad this blog still active. Going to try to start reading some of the shorter passages outoud in prayer and see what the Spirit does.

    Bro Blaine

  • Rachel Congdon Lidbeck Oct. 27, 2017 at 10:32 AM

    Thank you for posting this inspiring reminder from beloved Dr. Mitchell. Will start this "read 50 times to memorize" today!

  • Barbara Nov. 8, 2017 at 9:48 PM

    Thanks for this blog, which confirms my "methods I have been developing this year... I have learned Philippians, two third of Romans and 1 John differently and then decided to try how it works if I just read an epistle aloud every day. This way I have learned Ephesians easily (I did not count, how often I read, but it took about two months to know and I still repeat quoting it once in the morning though I already continue to learn James. I am happy to sharing with anybody who has practiced learning longer books like Hebrews or Acts..


  • Adeleye James Nov. 19, 2017 at 7:07 PM

    May the Lord continue to uphold you!. Am blessed from this.

Post a comment

Your email will not be published as part of your comment.

Talbot School of Theology welcomes dialogue on The Good Book Blog. However, Talbot reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to screen and remove any comments that are deemed inappropriate. This includes, but is not limited to: content that contains commercial solicitations; is factually erroneous/libelous; or is off-topic. We request that comments remain civil, respectful and polite. Thank you in advance for your role in helping establish a safe and exemplary online community that respects and encourages others.

Subscribe (RSS)

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
© Biola University, Inc. All Rights Reserved.