How to Remember What You Read in the Bible

Have you ever read something only to forget what you’ve read the moment you stepped away?

It’s happened to me MANY times.

Sometimes, in fact, I’ve reached the end of a chapter in my Bible reading and realized I’ve completely checked out while my eyes were scanning the page. My mind had wandered to the plants that need watered and the clothes that need washed and the Windex I need to pick up at the store, and, oh–Hello new chapter! Where did you come from and where did the last six verses go?

Please tell me I’m not the only one. If you're trying to remember what you read in the Bible, the key is to read the passage over and over again, emphasizing something different each time. This post shows you how...

If you can’t remember what you read in the Bible, you’ll appreciate today’s Bible study method. It’s simple but highly effective.

Simply, we’re going to re-read the same passage over and over again. At least twice, but preferably four or five times.

But we’re going to liven it up so you don’t get bored. Here’s how you can re-read the same passage multiple times while staying highly engaged and digging deep:

  • First read-through: Read as you normally would.
  • Second read-through: Read out loud, adding intonation and inflection to your voice as if you were reading to a child.
  • Third read-through: Read the passage once more, picturing yourself in the scene. What does the air smell like? What do you see around you? What sounds surround you?
  • Fourth read-through: Pick a shorter passage out of the chapter, and re-read that section out loud, pausing at the end of each sentence to let the words sink in.
  • Fifth read-through: As you read, use a pen or pencil to mark the passage. Underline anything that stands out, and feel free to write down any observations that come to mind.

Reading through the list, that may sound like a lot of time and effort. But really, for the average narrative chapter, we’re talking about 10-15 minutes max for all 5 steps. And you’ll find that the more you engage with a passage, the more you’ll notice the details and nuances you didn’t see before.

As with any other method, you may find it helpful to pick a shorter passage to focus your study on. Remember the goal isn’t to earn extra credit or to impress God with our efforts, but rather to grow deeper in knowledge and love for God. You can do that just as well through studying a handful of verses as you would reading chapters upon chapters at a time.

Your Turn

  1. Begin with prayer, confessing any sin that might hinder your study.
  2. Read John 3 as outlined above.
  3. In your notebook, write down how the progressive readings helped you better understand the passage.
  4. Praise God for what He is teaching you.
  5. At the end of the day, think back on today’s assignment. Can you remember what you read in the Bible? 

31 Days to Deeper Bible Study