by Kevin Burton
Last Friday I wrote about the importance of memorizing scripture. Today I want to pass along some tips for how to go about it.
There is no shortage of advice to be found on the net about this. I hope you find at least one or two of these helpful.
But the best advice I have seen is basic. That is, to decide to do it, make it a high priority and stick to it.
The “just do it,” slogan from Nike, “just say no,” the anti-drug message from former first lady Nancy Reagan, I always found these too simplistic. But there is something to them don’t you think?
OK, so you’re going to memorize scripture. There is no one method that will work for everybody. Your system will be unique to you. Here are some tips:
The Navigators is a group based in Colorado Springs that trains Christians to share their faith. One of the tips on their website is to “Discuss the verse with God in prayer and continue to seek His help for success in scripture memory.”
Oops. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t think of that myself!
Most sources advise starting small and going slow if you need to. Master the first verses before adding in more.
“Remember there’s no rush. You’re trying to create a habit that will stick with you for the rest of your life,” reads the website of the Love Worth Finding (LWF) radio ministry.
Repetition of the verses you try to memorize is one key, “Unless you’re a genius with a photographic memory, you’re going to need to go over the verses you’re memorizing again and again,” reads the LWF site. “There simply is no substitute for repetition”
“Your goal is to get the verses burned into your brain to the point where you can repeat them easily and without error.”
Many sites encourage saying the verses out loud, at least when you are beginning the process. Some people find this awkward, because they don’t like their own voice or don’t want to be overheard by others in the house. But forcing your mouth to form the words adds a helpful extra layer to the process. Writing the verse out is also helpful.
Sometimes people in small groups from Sunday school or home Bible studies can help. The group would need to agree on how fast to go.
Did you know Schoolhouse Rock was invented as a means of helping children remember their multiplication tables? Music can help with Bible memorization as well.
“Music is an incredibly powerful tool. If you’ve ever gotten a song or jingle stuck in your head, you know just how powerful music is,” reads the LWF site.
One thing I have found helpful is to pick one or more words from the passage or use an acrostic as prompts. For example from my second set of verses I memorized Philippians 1 9-11. This might be the longest passage I have tried to memorize. To help, I use the phrase “dew fruit”
The passage in the NKJV is:
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
For the word dew, the d is for discernment, the e is for excellent and the w is for without offense. Fruit reminds me of the fruits of righteousness. Those little prompts keep my mind on the right track.
If you have your verses on index cards, it could be helpful to take them with you so you can review them in little pockets of trapped time, such as when you are waiting in a doctor’s office. You could also place them on a bathroom mirror or computer monitor at work so you see them often.
One last reminder from LWF: “It’s essential that you stick with scripture memorization for the long haul. There are no shortcuts. Tips can make things easier but there is no substitute for diligence.”