80+ Awesome Verses to Use in Apologetic Encounters

For a file version of the verses used in this article,  click the link at the bottom of this article!

By Eric Johnson

Over the years, I have memorized literally hundreds of verses as well as entire chapters of the Bible.  I believe that putting God’s Word into my heart is vital! These have also helped me in many different evangelism encounters. Of course, I probably have forgotten more verses than I remember.

In 1998, I began to teach Bible at Christian High School in El Cajon, CA. One of the requirements in our department was having students memorize Bible verses each week. Many struggled in remembering the accumulated verses in succeeding weeks. They often had great short-term memory but couldn’t retain the information.

I decided that knowing whole passages in my apologetics life was not as important as knowing the thrust of what a verse said and being able to provide the reference, especially in evangelism encounters. In the second semester, I started to assign “snippets,” asking students to memorize the “gist” of the passage and its reference. (We must be careful, though, because any time one verse is pulled out of a passage, there is always the danger in turning it into a prooftext. The way to avoid this fallacy is be sure the snippet is in line with the passage’s context.) Over the next decade, I found students who HATED this method and others who wished it was the only way to memorize scripture.

In my instruction, I encouraged flashcards and told students to come up with personal mneumonic devices to help them remember. I discovered that those who found success worked almost daily with their cards; doing this seemed to eliminate the problem the procrastinators had by having the numbers jumble together. I even had students who put the cards into sealable baggies, taping them in their showers and practicing every day, turning cards over when they forgot what was on the other side.

I attempted to make the verses as easy to memorize as possible, thus using just a few key words or the main thought of each verse. And students, as creative as they are, were able to come up with some neat tricks. For instance, 2 Corinthians 11:4 (False Jesuses do exist) was difficult for many until one day a student raced into my class and said, “I figured out how to remember it! It’s 2 Cor 11:4, False Jesuses do exist.” Say it out loud and you’ll hear the rhyming. By shortening Corinthians into an abbreviation, she made a discovery that helped so many students with this verse, probably remaining in their heads forever.

For verses used to support the Trinity, I created several ways to memorize three different verses as a unit. For instance, to answer the question “Who created the world?” this sequence was developed:

Genesis 1:1: God created the world

Genesis 1:2: The Spirit created the world

John 1:3: Jesus created the world (also, Col 1:15-17)

(And Isaiah 44:24 is a kicker, for it says, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone.” God is one yet revealed in three Persons!) (Thanks to Pastor Jim Caitlin for adding this one!)

In 45 seconds, the average student easily memorized three verses (1-2-3), boom, out the door!

Another favorite set for the Trinity (though a little more complicated) answers the question, “Who raised Jesus from the dead?” It will take a little bit of following, but consider these three verses:

John 2:19: Jesus raised Himself from the dead

Acts 3:15: The Father raised Jesus from the dead

Romans 8:11: The Spirit raised Jesus from the dead

You might wonder, how is it possible for these verses to be easily memorized? Would you believe, in less than five minutes, entire classes were able to do it? Follow these steps and you will see:

  1. Take John, Acts, Romans, three New Testament books in a row and abbreviate it as JAR.
  2. It all begins with “(J)ESUS,” so (J)ohn 2:19 is Jesus raised Himself from the dead (J = Jesus)
  3. Jesus was sent by the Father, so Acts 3:15 is the Father raised Jesus from the dead
  4. Finally, we have the Spirit reigning today, so Romans 8:11 is the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead.
  5. For the numbers, let’s memorize the chapters down the row: 2-3-8. I was able to remember this because Acts 2:38 is a verse often misused by those who believe in baptismal regeneration. If this doesn’t work, somehow you will need to remember 2-3-8.
  6. Finally, you must memorize 19 (John 2:19), and subtract 4 which equals 15 (Acts 3:15) and another 4 which equals 11 (Romans 8:11). Hence, who raised Jesus from the dead? All three members of the Trinity particiapted in the raising of Jesus!

Thus,

J    2    19

A     3    15

R    8     11

Maybe this sound a bit complicated, but if you’re like many of my former students, we tend to memorize better if we can create associations or patterns. Alliteration can also work. After five minutes, about 90% of my students were able to recite the three verses listed above and received “Johnson Bucks,” which was my classroom’s token econmoy. (In the earlier days, they were called “Carissa Bucks” because they featured my oldest daughter.)

In the first week of the second semester, I had students memorize 1 Peter 3:15-16. It says,

But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks yu to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak malicously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Then they memorized 5 verses a week for the rest of the semester. Here are some of the favorite verses I assigned and which I continue to use today, almost daily! I have tried to keep several key words from each verse, but feel free to adjust the phrase I’ve given it that will make it easier for you to remember, In addition, feel free to add your own special verses into the list. Once memorized, these verses seem to always be there right there when you need it!

A = Apologetics       B = Bible        G=Godhead       M = Miscellaneous   S = Salvation

G Numbers 23:19: God is not a man

G Deuteronomy 6:4: God is one God

S Joshua 1:8: Meditate on God’s Word

M 1 Samuel 15:22: To obey God is better than sacrifice

G Psalm 90:2: God is from everlasting to everlasting

G Psalm 102:27: God is eternally the same

S Psalm 103:12: The believer’s sins are forgiven as far as east is from the west

M Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge

M Proverbs 14:12: What seems right leads to death

M Proverbs 28:26: Fools trust in their feelings

B Isaiah 40:8: God’s Word stands forever

G Isaiah 43:10: No God before or after God (Note: the verse 1-0 stands for “no”–see the next verse for additional info)

G Isaiah 44:6-8: God knows of no other gods (In combination with the previous verse which begins with “No God,” this one starts with “God” and reverses the “no” “God knows (nos)…”)

G Isaiah 45:5-6, 22: There is no God besides God

G Isaiah 55:8-9: God’s ways are higher than ours

S Isaiah 64:6: Our righteous acts are like filthy rags

G Jeremiah 1:5: God knew us before the world was created

S Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is desperately wicked

M Hosea 6:6: God desires mercy, not sacrifice

G Malachi 3:6: God does not change

S Matthew 1:21: Jesus came to save his people from their sins

M Matthew 22:30: Marriage is not meant for heaven

M Mark 2:27: The Sabbath was made for man

G Mark 12:29: God is one God

S John 1:12: Faith makes a person a child of God

G John 4:24: God is Spirit

S John 5:29: Two resurrections: to life or damnation

S John 6:47: He who believes Jesus has eternal life

A John 7:24: We are to make righteous judgments (answering Matthew 7:1 objections)

S John 14:6: Salvation is only found in Jesus

S John 14:15: We obey God because we love Him

S John 17:17: God’s Word is truth

S Acts 4:12: Salvation found only in Jesus

S Acts 16:31: Believe in Jesus and you will be saved

B Acts 17:11: Be noble like Bereans: Search God’s scriptures

S Romans 1:17: The just shall live by faith

S Romans 3:23: All are sinners and fall short

S Romans 3:28: Man is justified by faith, not law

S Romans 5:8: While still sinners, Jesus died for us

S Romans 6:23: Sin’s wages= death/God’s gift= life

S Romans 10:9-10: Confess with mouth, believe in heart

S Romans 11:6: Salvation comes through grace

S Romans 12:2: Do not conform to this world

G 1 Corinthians 1:18: The cross is foolishness to the perishing

M 1 Corinthians 10:13: You will not be tempted more than you can bear

G 1 Corinthians 15:1-5: The resurrection of Jesus is true

S 2 Corinthians 5:17: The Christian becomes a new creation in Christ

S 2 Corinthians 6:2: Today is the day of salvation (no second chances)

A 2 Corinthians 11:4: False Jesuses do exist

A Galatians 1:8-9: False gospels do exist

S Galatians 2:15-16: Justified by faith, not by law

S Galatians 2:21: Righteousness is not gained through the law

S Galatians 3:28-29: All people are equal before God

A Galatians 4:16: Discussing truth should not make us enemies

G Galatians 6:14: Christians glory in the cross

S Ephesians 2:8-9: Salvation = grace through faith

S Ephesians 2:10: We were created to do good works

A Ephesians 4:15: Speak the truth in love

G Philippians 2:5-11: Jesus incarnated into Man (Kenosis)

S Philippians 2:12: Work out (not for) salvation

M Philippians 4:7: God’s peace passes all understanding

A 1 Thessalonians 5:21: Test everything

S 2 Timothy 2:15: Study to show yourself as a workman

S 2 Timothy 3:16: God inspires scripture

S Titus 3:5: We’re saved through God’s mercy

S Hebrews 4:12: The Word of God is sharper than a sword

G Hebrews 7:24-25: Jesus has permanent priesthood

S Hebrews 8:12-13: God forgets forgiven sins

S Hebrews 9:27: After death comes judgment (no second chances)

S James 2:10: Breaking one law = guilty of all

M 1 Peter 2:5: All Christians possess royal priesthood

S 2 Peter 3:16: Paul wrote scripture

A 1 John 4:1: Test the spirits to see if from God

S 1 John 5:13: You may “know” that you have eternal life

A Jude 3: Contend for the Christian faith

May God bless you as you attempt to put these verses to memory and utlize them to support your points in evangelism encounters.

For another list like this, see Appendix 2 in our book Answering Mormons’ Questions (Kregel, 2013).

If you have a few others you’d like to add, please write me at contact at mrm.org and address it in the subject line to Eric Johnson. (I just don’t want to make too large of a list that would discourage folks from attempting to learn these passages.)

Click the link below for a 4-page list of these verses. Happy memorizing!

Awesome Verses to Use in Apologetic Encounters_0 (2)