Tips for Memorizing the Reference

Time Posted on January 08, 2010 User Andy

It's often tricky memorizing which memory verse goes with which part of the Bible. If you find yourself staring at Psalm 119:11 thinking "I know this verse, I just can't remember which verse in which Psalm it is" then you should start making up a story that goes with each verse reference. For instance, when I see Psalm 119:11 I immediately think that the 9 is hidden in all the 1's and that jogs my memory that the verse is about hiding something somewhere.

The more ridiculous the story is, the easier it is to create the association in your head. You'll find that as you start to have more memory verses, it gets harder to keep track of which verse connects with which reference. Creating an association in your head becomes key.

I'd love to hear some of the associations that people have created. If you use this method for memorizing references, why don't you post your most memorable one in the comments. If you have a different method of memorizing the references, share that with us all too.

Cat Tips
Tag reference recall

8 responses to Tips for Memorizing the Reference


It's funny that you chose that reference as your example, because that has been my trickiest one, because I was memorizing Psalm 119:105 as well -- how could I remember which one was which? Well, my way was there are two d's in hidden that stand up straight just like the two 1s in 11.

I am also memorizing five other psalms, and it was a bit tricky to remember at first, but each one had a special meaning for me, I had chosen them to memorize for a reason, so I was able to look at each one in my Bible and visualize where they were in relation to each other and why I had chosen them. That way when the reference arose, I was able to recall the correct reference/verse.

It is probably easier for me because I have very few random verses. I have chosen instead to memorize whole chapters and books, because my original reason for memorizing was to understand them better, rather than just to have certain out-of-context verses running around in my brain! :D

Anyway, my 2c worth for today!
Laurel :)


Another one I had a hard time remembering was Job 19:25, until I reminded myself my mom and dad were born in 1923, and that was close enough to jog my memory. I find if I can get phone numbers or birth dates or addresses out of a reference it's easier to remember.


Here are few tricks I've used to get the references in my head:

- Putting together a story like Andy mentioned...could be anything, for example, in the case of Psalm 121:8, ("the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore") I picture the 1 - 2 - 1 as you coming and going, and the 8 like a pair of glasses, watching you.

- Link the number to known things, like Laurel suggests with the 1923 birth year. An example from my list is 2 Corinthians 5:17, ("Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!") There is a charity called New Creation nearby and I picture it being at the address 517, #2, Corinthian Ave.

- Associate the numbers with the age when you need the scripture most, i.e. Proverbs 4:23, ("...guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.") I picture the ages 4 - 23 as the ages where your heart is the most unguarded.

- Finally, if I'm having trouble differentiating between 2 verses that are nearby each other, I'll open my Bible and look at them and the context that they're in. Sometimes just seeing the one verse on the left page and the other on the right helps me get the sequence.

Eventually I don't really need the associations, but they're useful in the beginning to carve it in to my brain :)

Julie L. Peterson

Hey Erin-
I was doing the same story with the 1-2- 1 but I like the addition of the glasses thanks. It is very challenging remembering what goes with what. I can see one or two words of the verse if the address is not clicking and then I know the rest of passage. I am keeping on!!!

Kyle Brannen

Thank you for telling me - I'm sure it will REALLY help!

River La Belle

I know this might not be very helpful, but the Bible Bee way of doing it (if I can claim the honor of speaking for everyone) is that you repeat the reference before and after the verse (if you are reciting it) that way, if someone gives you a reference, you can follow with the verse, or if someone gives you the verse and they want to know the reference, then you can recite it in your mind, and it naturally follows!

One thing I'm having trouble with is verse divisions; because the Bible Bee only asks for whole passages, not a passage all scrambled up, like Memverse is doing (which I totally understand), so I have a hard time trying to memorize (unnecessarily for the Bible Bee) the reference for every single verse in a pasasage. In that context, I find it difficult to do the reference test or the accuracy test.

Just pouring out my problems. . . .



Hi River - if you go to the 'Profile' page ( and uncheck 'Test All References?' then you will only be tested on the first verse during the reference recall. The accuracy test at the moment will still throw any verse at you but we're considering adding the previous verse as an optional prompt.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Daniel Staddon talks about this topic in his book "The $100,000 Word"