Dallas Willard was a respected Christian voice in spiritual formation and a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California before he passed away in 2013. He once wrote that “Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth (Joshua 1:8). That’s where you need it! How does it get in your mouth? Memorization.”

How can you begin this important practice? Here are five ways:

Start with one verse at a time. Choose a verse that’s meaningful to you. Read the chapter around it for context. Think about each key word in the verse and what it really means.

Use your eyes. Write the verse out 20 times. Study it on the page to remember the order of the words in your mind.

Use your voice. Read the verse aloud 20 times. Listen to the rhythm of the words as you speak them. Then try to say it from memory.

Use your ears. Find an audio Bible and listen to the verse read by itself or as a part of a chapter. The Bible app is free for all platforms and has been downloaded more than 300 million times.

Use tech tools. ScriptureTyper (free, with upgrades) helps you do all these steps above, with tools to write, record, and review verses while you read the Bible. Fighter Verses ($2.99) is designed for children and adults and has 1000 pre-loaded verses with quizzes, lock screen art, review challenges, commentaries and more.

* From “Spiritual Formation in Christ for the Whole Life and Whole Person” in Vocatio, Vol. 12, no. 2.