I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God's word was obeyed, and as a result there were memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world. --Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 28, 29. {ChS 112.2}

Sunday, February 06, 2011

How To Memorize Scripture in Four Steps



I saw a video recently with a man talking about his reasons for beginning to memorize scripture (starting with the Book of Matthew).  I personally am always impressed with evangelists and pastors who can confidently spiel off a bunch of scripture related to what they are talking about.  I'm also impressed with my friend's young children who have memorized a great whack of scripture in their very tender years at their Christian schools.  Even if they don't fully understand what they are reciting now, they will in years to come as the Scripture comes up for them.

I wonder why it seems easier to learn "junk" stuff (i.e., the lyrics to some adolescent love-lost song, or a meandering slightly off-colour joke with a complicated punch line) and remember those same meaningless words years later?  As a sixty-year old adult with a diminishing memory I find it quite difficult to remember scripture word-for-word, and its location.

It stands to reason that since the Bible is our foundation for witnessing about how Jesus changed our lives, we will want to have a good arsenal of memorized Scripture at our command.   The following is the method that I am going try:


(1) I carefully read and understand the piece of Scripture that I want to memorize.  Now, just as carefully and even more diligently, memorize the location of the piece of Scripture I want to memorize.
If someone has a Bible handy (preferrably if I have a Bible handy) I can quickly look up the passage that relates to the question or the statement I want to make.  And there are always people who say something like: "I don't know where it is in the Bible, but it says "such and thus""... I could be the person who knows where it says 'such and thus' in the Bible! (This might be rather tedious but effective: I will repeat the location over and over, emphasizing syllables, accenting the words in different places, writing it down, of course, with the verse it comes from.
(2) Next I will break the verse into 3 or more pieces, repeating each piece of the verse until I have it cold, and then adding on the next pieces as I repeat and learn them.  (I will also add the location as I go so that it is clear how it works in there)
(3) Next I will write it out 10 or more times, including the location.  And I do mean "hand" write it out... the brain-eye-hand coordination involved in handwriting is an important part of remembering what it is that I am writing, a little different than typing it out.  Finally, I will transfer it onto a strip of paper and cover the paper with scotch tape or some sort of laminate, and then will punch a hole into the end and put a key ring through it.  This little key ring-Bible verse will go into any pockets of clothes I wear.
(4) In effect, I will already have learned the Scripture in three steps (above).  However, because my memory tends to be short and unreliable, I will now have the opportunity to reach into my pocket and go through the various memory verses when I am waiting around for something (like my computer to load a page, for the bus, etc.)  This step provides some maintenance learning.

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