Monday, August 22, 2005

Memorizing Scripture

Steve Watson asked a question today about memorizing Scripture. I thought I'd share my plan for memorizing passages of the Bible which I wrote up a few years ago. I know people often have very different ways of learning, but maybe this personal plan could be adapted by others. I'm not memorizing right now, but I've been meaning to get back to it. Memorizing has done more for my spiritual life than anything else.

Why memorize Scripture?
1. “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11
2. Memorizing Scripture leads to meditating upon and internalizing Scripture.
3. Memorized Scripture is readily available for use in encouraging, teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)
4. Memorized Scripture gives basis for deeper prayer.
5. Memorized Scripture is always with you. In the worst case… if we were ever imprisoned for our faith and weren’t allowed a Bible, we’d still have God’s Word with us.
6. The more you memorize, the more you can memorize. It gets easier with practice. Psychiatrist Bronson Stilwell says that when we memorize something, our brains are trained how to better memorize. He says that it is like Velcro. The more we memorize, the more Velcro “hooks” our brains create so that even more stuff can “stick”.
7. Waylon Moore says - Memorized Scripture sheds light on the rest of the Bible.
1 memorized verse sheds candlelight on the Bible.
10 memorized verses shine a flashlight on the Bible.
100 memorized verses beam a spot light on the Bible.
1000 memorized verses pour stadium lights on the Bible.
8. Memorizing Scripture has been to most beneficial thing I’ve ever done to grow in my walk with Christ.

Why memorize large, continuous blocks of Bible?
1. You get to know the author.
2. You can remember more Bible this way with the verses flowing in a narrative than if you try to remember scattered verses.
3. You can better understand the context of a particular memorized verse.
4. We humans need goals. It’s more motivating to think of learning a whole chapter or book than it is to plan to memorize a certain number of scattered verses. But DON’T BE PROUD! Be careful about telling people you are doing it, or it may be like fasting with a somber face (Matt 6:16-18).
5. The goal is memorizing, meditating upon, and doing God’s Word. Don’t do this to show God how committed you are or to somehow earn His favor. Do it for the joy of knowing Him better.
6. The last reason I memorize large blocks instead of scattered verses is personal preference. There are definitely benefits in memorizing scattered verses (especially for evangelism). There are many programs available to assist with that type of Scripture memory. Whether you fit into my plan provided here to memorize large blocks or into another type of memory plan, I encourage everyone to memorize Bible!

How I memorize large blocks of Bible…
1. Pick an interesting Bible chapter or book that you would like to dig into deeper. Certain passages are easier to memorize than others. Here are some ideas:
-- Philippians
-- Colossians
More difficult:
--1 John
-- Psalm 139
-- Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7)
2. Use an easy-to-read translation (like NIV).
3. Each day, memorize one new verse just to the point that you can say it without looking. Since writing the verse helps me memorize it, I like to write the new verse each day on a card or in a small notebook and then carry the written verses with me for reference when I practice. Auditory learners may prefer to record themselves reading the verses and then listen or listen to an "audio Bible" of the passage in order to practice.
4. Practice reciting the new verse several times a day.
5. Each time you practice reciting your new verse for the day, recite the last 30 memorized verses. You will not know the current day’s verse well at all, and you’ll be unsure of the last few day’s new verses, but you’ll be a pro at reciting new verses learned a week or two earlier.
6. If you are memorizing several chapters or a whole book, you should recite all learned verses once per day. It won’t take as long as you think. You can recite Philippians or Colossians in just a few minutes.
7. It is good to have a partner in memorizing. It is great to be able to recite learned verses back and forth with a friend sometimes when you see each other. It is even better to one day reach the goal together and be able to get together to recite a whole chapter or book.
8. This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s really not. You will be able to learn your verse for the day to the point where you can say it without looking in a few minutes. Then, the practice of reciting known verses can happen anywhere throughout the day.

Ideas for where to practice:
- In the car.
- During breaks at work.
- While getting ready/shower/etc in the morning.
- Recite to you kids.
- Recite to spouse or friend during car trips
- During housework.
- During yard work.
- While exercising.
- As part of your personal time with God, etc.


steve watson said...

Wow, Allen. Great information here. You've encouraged and challenged me. I'm going to put your tips into practice.

the reeser said...

thanks for the tips allen.

Gwen said...

Whoa. ok, I'm believing, I'm believing, I'm believing...