Memorizing Bible verses as an individual or family can bear much fruit—encouraging our faith, helping us fight sin, deepening our understanding of God and His Word, informing our prayers, and fueling our witness to unbelievers. When church members memorize God’s Word as a body, they can also add to that growth in unity and spiritual maturity, as they persevere together in the faith.
Twenty-five years ago, John Piper invited the congregation at Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to join him in memorizing what he introduced as the "Fighter Verses"—a set of verses strategically chosen to equip members to fight temptation the way Jesus did. "When he was fasting in the wilderness," Pastor John explained, "there were no libraries or books, and with every temptation of the devil he quoted a passage of Scripture to defeat the devil" (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).
He went on to explain the name Fighter Verses:
This is why we are calling the 52 passages prepared for all of us this year (one a week) “fighter verses.” Jesus defeated the devil’s temptations with the use of a memorized passage of Scripture. And in Ephesians 6:17, Paul called the word of God “the sword of the Spirit.” We cannot successfully overcome sin and Satan without the present treasure of precious words of God—“fighter verses.”
Sally Michael was there for that sermon, and others like it that followed each year. She recalls:
Pastor John’s January sermons on the value of the Word of God were some of the best sermons for my soul. They were always an inspiring way to start the new year. The faithful yearly sermon highlighting the treasure we have in God’s Word, the importance of meditating on it and memorizing it, and the urging to hide it in our hearts was the glue that held together my determination to be in the Word through the ups and downs of daily life each year.
Memorizing verses with other church members provides motivation to memorize. It helps the reluctant and creates momentum as the group makes progress together. Some memorize quickly, others slowly; some memorize a verse or two, others whole chapters. All enjoy the blessings of feeding on God’s Word daily.
In the last 25 years, many churches have used Fighter Verses™ for Scripture memory. Over this past year, Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky made the move to expand Scripture memory from their children and youth ministries to a churchwide commitment.
"I had been looking for a way to streamline Scripture memory for our kids' classrooms and encourage families to memorize the same passage weekly," explains Rebecca Cedillo, Immanuel Kids Ministry Director. "And around that time, our youth started memorizing Fighter Verses. I was amazed and could visualize our church body embracing Scripture memory with the helpful tools available. And so the youth director and I approached our pastors about it and they got really excited about it and it took off.”
"We're seeing fruit in both personal growth and in community sanctification," Rebecca shares in a recent podcast. "It's given us the ability to teach and admonish one another more effectively and efficiently, because God’s Word is in our hearts." She continues:
Our church has a sharing time during our service and sometimes people will share how the Fighter Verse has encouraged them. Periodically, the pastor will ask someone to quote the week’s passage from memory. It's been so sweet to see the whole gamut of generations stand up and share, from a seven-year-old quoting an entire chapter in the Psalms to older saints and ages in between. The Word of God can encourage the very, very young to the very, very old.
We want to encourage and support even more churches in Scripture memory. That's why we're launching Fighter Verses Churchwide. Our Fighter Verses Churchwide Kit includes everything a church needs to memorize weekly verses, including digital verse slides, printable posters, bulletin inserts, promotional schedule, sample family devotional guide, and information about the Fighter Verses app and weekly devotional blog.
More than a Year
Fighter Verses is a five-year program with five sets of 52 passages. The Churchwide Kit contains verse slides for all five sets. We started with Set 1 in 1998 and have been rotating through the five sets every five years since. We'll be featuring Set 3 on the FighterVerses.com blog starting January 2023, including a devotional with each weekly verse. Additionally, the printable Fighter Verses bookmarks feature Set 3 in 2023, Set 4 in 2024, etc. In 2026, we'll start again with Set 1.
You can follow the current Fighter Verses schedule, or you can start with any one of the five, non-consecutive sets for a robust Bible memory program.
The Fighter Verses app features the current set by default, but users can customize their schedule, choosing the set they'd like to start with. The app also includes the weekly verse devotionals and discussion questions for all the verses in the program, in order to help parents incorporate Scripture memory into family discipleship.
A variety of Fighter Verses resources are available for each set. For example, Set 1 and 2 have a study guide, discussion guide, journal, and coloring book. Set 3 will have a journal (available November 8) and a coloring book (available December 15).
Whether you memorize together for one year, two, or all five, we pray your congregation will be strengthened and enriched through the living Word of God.