Write A Scripture Memorization Song

Worship songwriters Bobby and Kristen Gilles at the piano

Bobby & Kristen, at the piano

You can’t accurately tell your story, your Christian testimony, without stepping into the story of the Bible and seeing how your story is part of God’s story. One of the best ways to do that is through scripture memorization.

The Psalmist wrote, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:1). And after being tempted in the wilderness, Jesus rebuked Satan by saying people “do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

People have used music for thousands of years to help them memorize things. Even today, children often learn Bible verses, the books of the Bible, the names of the 12 disciples and many more facts and truths relating to the Bible through scripture memory songs. If you’d like to write your own, the key ingredients are simplicity, “singability” and “catchiness”:

  • Simplicity — the goal is for people to latch onto the melody and remember it. You aren’t trying to write a song for the next Radiohead album — you’re trying to help yourself and others remember Bible verses.
  • Singability — this is especially important if you want others to sing your Bible memory song. Don’t write something beyond the vocal range of most people. Try keeping it to within one octave — 1 1/2 for sure.
  • Catchiness — again, the goal is to help people remember the words of scripture. Your melody doesn’t have to be unique, but it should be catchy. In fact, it might help if your melody isn’t that unique. Think of famous pop songs that people sing for decades. Many of them only use three chords. But if you hear one of them in the morning, it’s likely to remain in your head all day.

Here’s a Bible memory song Kristen wrote for memorizing Romans 8:38-39, during a 40-day period in which our pastor Daniel Montgomery challenged Sojourn Church members to memorize Romans 8:

Notice how simple it is. These two verses are powerful declarations of God’s sovereignty, goodness and election. And thanks to Kristen’s Romans 8:38-39 scripture memory song, I’ll always be able to recall them in an instant.

Here’s another scripture memory song Kristen wrote, this time using Romans 8:1-2. We recorded it during the beginning of Sojourn’s 40 day Romans 8 challenge, to encourage others to begin memorizing the chapter:

To hear many scripture memory songs, visit Mark Altrogge’s excellent resource site, Forever Grateful Music.

Looking for a more in-depth discussion of song writing — particularly lyrics? Check out our “Modern Hymns” page. Whether you want to write hymns or not, you’ll find plenty lyric-writing advice. And follow our blog category “Songwriting/ Hymns Workshop.”