Last week, in light of my goal of memorizing at least one Bible verse or passage each month during 2013, I described some reasons why scripture memorization is beneficial. Today, I’ll discuss some approaches to memorizing scripture. No approach is necessarily the “best.” Instead, the most efficient and effective approach for each of us depends on factors such as our learning styles and preferences.
What works for me
Once I have selected a verse or passage to memorize, I take a notecard and write the reference on one side and the verse on the other side. That day, I’ll memorize the reference (for example, Habakkuk 3:17-19) by reading over it a few times and then repeating it with my eyes closed. The next day, I’ll recite the reference again, and also memorize the first phrase of the verse (for example, “Habakkuk 3:17-19 ‘Though the fig tree does not bud’”). As I did with the reference, I’ll read over the phrase several times and then repeat it with my eyes closed. The next day, I’ll recite the reference again, as well as the first phrase, and then memorize an additional phrase (“Habakkuk 3:17-19 ‘Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines’”). I will continue with this process until the entire verse is memorized. Once memorized, I will continue to review the verse daily for about two weeks. Then, I’ll add it to my stack of memorized scripture verses.
Because I write all of the verses I learn on notecards, I can review them easily. I keep them in a stack where some cards are verse side up and some are reference side up. Each day, I review about 10 cards. If the reference side is up when I come to a card, I recite the corresponding verse and then turn the card over before placing it at the bottom of the stack (so the verse side is up next time it reaches the top). If the verse side is up, I recite the corresponding reference and then turn it over before placing it at the bottom of the stack (so the reference side is up next time it reaches the top). If I stumble over a verse or reference, I leave that card on top so I review it again the next day. This ongoing review process makes sure I don’t forget any of the verses that I’ve learned in the past.
- Write the verses you are learning on notecards and carry them around with you. When you have a free minute, pull out the cards and review them.
- Write verses out by hand repeatedly. Use a whiteboard or chalkboard so you can easily erase the verse and rewrite it.
- Write passages of scripture on notecards and place them around the house (on the bathroom mirror, in the kitchen above the sink, etc.). Review the verses as you are completing routine tasks, such as brushing your teeth or washing the dishes.
- Write out a verse on a whiteboard or chalkboard. Read the verse and then erase one word. Read it again and then erase another word. Continue until all the words are erased and you can recite the whole verse without any cues.
Whatever approach you choose, it can be useful to memorize scripture with a spouse or friend (who can provide accountability). Also, developing a plan and setting goals can help provide motivation and give you focus.
What approach do you use to memorize scripture?