Here are fifteen short passages worth learning by heart. They don’t cover everything important, but they come pretty close. Notice the phrase “learning by heart,” not “memorizing.” The point isn’t just to be able to rattle them off; the point is to know them so intimately that they’re written on your heart. It will be worth the effort.
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might."
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
"God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
[a scribe] asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people."
"For God so loved the world that God gave God’s only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life."
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Parent’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I got to prepare a place for you?"
"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
1 Corinthians 13:12-13
"For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love bide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
"There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus."
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "See, the home of God is among mortals. God will dwell with them as their God; they will be God’s peoples, and God will be with them; God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away."
Almost everybody who’s spent time with the Bible has a favorite verse or passage. If it’s good enough to be your favorite, it’s good enough to know by heart. And if you don’t have a favorite, get one!