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Memorize Scripture to a Tune

Scripture Memory / Spiritual Formation //

I’ve got a great idea for you and your family. All you have to do is set aside a little time each day with your kids to memorize Scripture together. After all, there ain’t no party like a Scripture memorization party, right?

If that sounds crazy to you, then your family may be a lot like mine. Even though I love the Bible, and the Living Word continues to transform me from the inside out, and I desperately want my children to grow to love the Scriptures like I do, it is terrifically hard to fit Scripture memorization onto the family priority list for long.

It was this struggle, plus my own personal struggle to internalize more Scripture that inspired my first Scripture melody. I’m sure I don’t need to explain the magic of music to you. If there is something more powerfully suited to cement lines of language into the human brain, I don’t know it. And surely, this concept is as old as the Good Book itself—maybe even older. Unfortunately, there isn’t a nice little melody written for every verse you want to memorize. But there could be.

If you simply want to “memorize more Bible verses,” you’ll probably never do it. However, if you want to remember a particular verse, there is something you can do. Make a little melody of your own.

Wait! Before you say, “yeah right” and scroll to the next story, know this: I am a professional songwriter, and I take the craft of songwriting very seriously. I would not suggest this as a possibility unless it was totally doable for you. Okay, if you are tone deaf, you may need to get your son or daughter or buddy to come up with a melody for you, but here’s 5 reasons why the rest of you can take this suggestion seriously.

  • Traditional songwriting rules do not apply.

This song needs no chorus, no rhyme scheme, no guitar solos, no pesky second or third verse. All you need is a melody, and if it helps, use one from a song you already know. Like I said, traditional rules don’t apply. You can do this.

  • The song is short

First, I’m ambitious, but I’m not crazy. Your first Scripture song should only be one verse long. Pick your verse, type it out, or write it out longhand, and then sing it all on the same musical note, like a chant. There! You’ve just created a Scripture song. You may not have realized it, but in no time at all, you decided on a pitch, a tempo and gave the lyric a rhythm and delivery. Now divert the melody up or down, here and there as it suits you. Play around with the melody and rhythm as much as you like. Just remember—keep it simple and you keep it memorable. (That’s one traditional rule that still applies.)

  • Writing is like gluing.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the act of writing the song has already begun to imprint the verse in your memory. Keep singing it and you’ll find it will come visit you later in the day.

  • The song is for you.

You don’t have to worry about it being a clever or original melody, because it is for you. If you remember it, the song is a tremendous success. (Don’t expect your melody to stick to others like it sticks to you, but if it does, that’s a great bonus!)

  • This is fun.

Why is this fun? Because it’s making something new! You are a kid with crayons—living out your role as an image bearer of Our Creator. It’s also fun because it’s risky! Take a chance. Sing some Scripture today.

If you need some inspiration, check out Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs at  https://store.rabbitroom.com/product/slugs-bugs-sing-the-bible. Each song is word-for-word Scripture, and just for fun, the African Children’s Choir joins in for a few songs, along with fun friends like Sally Lloyd-Jones, Andrew Peterson, Count Dracula, and even my own wife and children.

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