Today I want to share with you how to memorize Bible verses using a system I’ve created with the Evernote app–and it really works!
It’s January 1, the day when we all start our new year’s resolutions. This year, why not decide to memorize Bible verses and figure out how to REMEMBER them afterwards, too!
The problem with memorizing Scripture is that we may learn a verse, but if we have no reminder to review it, we’ll quickly forget it.
I know I usually write about marriage, but one of the top posts on this blog is the 50 most important Bible verses to memorize. And after reading Paperless Home Organization and Do More Better about how to use Evernote to help you be more efficient, I thought of a way to use it to memorize Scripture. I started a month and a half ago and I’ve memorized more new Bible verses in that time than I have in the three years preceding it–because I’ve figured out how to review.
To Use this Scripture Memory System, You’ll Need to Get Evernote
Evernote is an app for your desktop, tablet or phone that allows you to store absolutely anything–voice memos, pictures, text, web clippings, emails, .pdfs–seriously, anything. And the benefit is that it has this amazing search feature so that you can always find things.
I scan all my receipts into Evernote, save recipes in Evernote, save notes for meetings in Evernote, and more. And the basic plan, which is what most people need, is free.
What we’re going to do is create a new “note” for each Bible verse you want to memorize, and then set up a system using Evernote’s tags that lets you make sure you review each verse consistently over time.
I’ll explain how in a minute–for now, just download Evernote on your desktop AND phone (if you only have a phone or tablet, that’s fine, too.)
How to Memorize Bible Verses
The key to memorizing Bible verses is to make sure that you know the verse down pat, and then to make sure that you have a way to review the verses.
Here’s how we’re going to do that:
- First, you must say the verse 3 days in a row perfectly.
- Once you do this, you then review the verse in a week.
- If you say it correctly, you review the verse in a month.
- If you say it correctly, you review the verse in a year–and you keep reviewing it on that date every year from here on out.
We’re going to do that with tags, which will look like this (I’m going to explain the Bible verse memory system here, but I’ll show you how you actually do this on a daily basis in a minute!):
- MVDay1, MVDay2, MVDay3
(for Memory Verse Day 1, Memory Verse Day 2, and Memory Verse Day 3).
The verse can have the MVDay1 tag for umpteen days in a row, but you can’t move it to MVDay2 until you say the verse correctly without looking.
So your verse may be tagged MVDay1 everyday for a week, and then you finally get it right, so it moves to MVDay2, and then to MVDay3.
- MVMonday, MVTuesday, MVWednesday, MVThursday, MVFriday, MVSaturday, MVSunday
Once you’ve said a verse tagged MVDay3 correctly, it’s time to move to the weekly tags.
If it’s a Tuesday when you say an MVDay3 verse right, you now tag it with MVTuesday.
- MV1, MV2, MV3, MV4, MV5, MV6, etc.
Let’s say you recite a verse that’s tagged MVTuesday correctly on January 19. Now you’re going to tag it MV19.
Then, the next time the 19th day of the month comes along (in this case, February 19), you’ll review it again.
What if it’s January 31 and there isn’t a February 31? Tag it whatever number you want! Use MV28, or you can leave it at 31 and it will come up again in March.
- MVJan1, MVJan2, MVJan3….MVDec28, MVDec29, MVDec30, MVDec31.
It’s February 19, and you’re checking to see if you have any monthly verses to say today. Lo and behold, you do! You say the verse correctly. So now you’re going to tag it MVFeb19 so that in a year you’re reminded again.
How to Use this Bible Verse Memory System
Now let’s look at how to put this into practice!
Bible Verse Memory System Step 1: Create the Memory Verse Notebook
Evernote organizes everything into different “notebooks”. Within each notebook you can have any number of notes. All of our verses are going to be stored in a Notebook called “Memory Verses”.
You can create a Notebook either on the desktop or on your phone. Here’s how:
On your Phone, go to the Evernote Home Screen and click on Notebooks
Then click on New Notebook.
Now type in “Memory Verses”. That’s it!
On the desktop, just click on New Notebook, choose Local Notebook, and type in “Memory Verses”.
Now you’re all set up. We’re going to use that notebook in a minute.
Bible Verse Memory System Step 2: Enter Verses
Now you need to enter actual verses to memorize. My 50 Most Important Bible Verses to Memorize post is a great place to start; you can just copy and paste those verses, each in its own “note”. Here’s how:
First, find the verse in my 50 Best Bible Verses post that you want to memorize, and highlight it and click “Copy”.
Now type in the verse address (in this case, John 3:16-17) in the Title field, and then hit “Paste” for the verse in the body.
On the phone it’s trickier to copy and paste, but I’ve found an easier way to enter a Bible verse.
I just take a picture of the verse, crop it so the picture shows only that verse, and then share the picture with Evernote. It’s a lot faster than typing it in. Here’s how:
First, take a picture of the verse in your Bible, and then hit “Edit”.
Now hit “Crop”.
Now crop the picture so that only the verse is showing by dragging those little corner things.
Now hit “Done”, and then hit the Share button.
Now scroll through your share options until you find Evernote.
Click on Evernote, and then type in the name of the verse (John 3:16-17), and then choose the correct notebook (Memory Verses).
It looks complicated, but it takes less than thirty seconds when you’re fast at it. Trust me!
This way you can save a verse when you’re doing your devotions and you come across something that speaks to you.
Bible Verse Memory System Step 2: Tag Your Verses
Each new verse that you enter will need to be tagged with the first tag–MVDay1.
So go into Evernote and find the verse (or “note”) that you’ve just created. If you’re in the desktop version, you’re already there. Just click on the “create tags” at the top of the screen and start typing in your tag. If you’ve already used the tag, it will start to autofill.
On the phone, you’ll have to find the note by clicking on “notes”. It will also likely just be on your home screen if you just made it.
Once there, click on the little icon to update info.
Then just type in the tag.
Tip 1: Try not to have more than 3 verses on the go with the “MVDay1” tag at any one time. It’s just too hard to memorize so many from scratch at once!
If you find a bunch of verses that you want to memorize, enter them into your Memory Verse notebook, but just don’t tag them yet. Only tag them when you run out of MVDay1 verses and then add them to the rotation.
Tip 2: If you have a verse that you already know really well, enter it anyway, but give it a yearly tag, like “MVJan1”.
If you enter all the verses you know this way, you’ll have a method of telling how many verses you know, AND a method of making sure you still review them on a regular basis.
Bible Verse Memory System Step 3: Review Your Verses
Set up a time during the day to review that day’s verses. It can be during your devotions, or, if you have Evernote on your phone, it can be while you’re standing in line at the bank, waiting at a doctor’s office, or waiting at the carpool line.
Here’s the key, though:
Start with the oldest verses first.
Start with any verses that are marked yearly, then do the monthly ones, then the weekly ones, and only then review the daily ones.
Why? Because let’s say you’re doing MVDay1, and you say the verse correctly. You change the tag to MVDay2. Now, when you look at your MVDay2 verses, the verse you just completed is there. So it’s just easiest to start backwards, and you won’t run into this problem.
Each day, then, you will look for the yearly tag (you won’t have any for a whole year, though!) with today’s date, like this:
Then you will look for the monthly verses, with the tag of the day of the month:
Then you will look for the weekly verses, tagged with the day of the week:
Then you will look for your daily verses, in this order:
Note: when you’re just starting out, you won’t have anything but MVDay1. That’s okay! As you add more, you’ll be checking on more tags.
So turn on Evernote, then hit “tags”.
Choose the tag you want to review.
Then look at your verses and review them!
Note: I find this MUCH easier to do on the phone, when I’ve entered the verse with pictures. I can just look at the left column and see the verse address and try to say the verse, and then I can click on the pic to see if I did it right. The problem with doing this on the desktop is that there’s no real way to cover up the verse, so you see the whole thing on the screen.
If you type the whole verse out, of course, it will show up on the phone like the second version of John 3:16 did above. But if you take pics–you really can’t see the whole thing so it lets you review it easier.
Bible Verse Memory System Step 4: Enter New Tags
If you say the verse correctly: Move it UP a tag. MVDay1 becomes MVDay2; or MVDay3 becomes MVTuesday; or MVTuesday becomes MV19; or MV19 becomes MVJan19, and so on.
If you say the verse wrong: move it DOWN a tag. So MV19 becomes MVTuesday; MVTuesday becomes MVDay3, and so on.
Once you’ve attempted a verse and either succeeded (or not), repeat the process above for adding a tag. Click on that little icon for info, and then change the tag.
And that’s how to memorize Bible verses! You’re done! If you keep at this for years, you’ll have verses that you’re reviewing on a consistent basis.
Let’s say you decide to learn one Scripture verse a week in the coming year. That’s roughly 50 verses a year. But if you keep that up for 20 years, that’s 1000 verses. And if you use this system, that’s only reviewing 3 verses a day at the end of that 20 years–that’s totally doable. And you’ll know 1000 verses!
Think about how much Scripture you can have on your heart!
This whole thing takes me maybe 5-7 minutes a day. It’s not a big deal at all. But I’ve managed to learn a lot of verses, and I’m reviewing them consistently which is key.
One more cool thing about Evernote: Evernote’s search function is so good that it can search for words in photos! Here, for instance, is a picture of a verse card that I took with really bad handwriting. But if I search for the word “fear” in Evernote, it still shows the verse.
So even if you’re taking pictures of verses, if you ever forget something and want to find it, Evernote can do it for you!
I hope this helps you!
Let me know in the comments if you’ve found this helpful. I hope it’s not too technical. Personally, I just love Evernote and I find it so super easy to use. If you play around with it, I think you’ll start seeing the possibilities, too!
Evernote is a great tool to help you organize anything in your life. Two books that really helped me figure out how to use Evernote to help me Do More Better are Paperless Home Organization and–perhaps not surprisingly–Do More Better. It’s not about using more time; it’s just about using the right tools for the right goals. I love it!