Memorization – a Mother’s methods

BibleHow did Cherie, a busy mother memorize 32 chapters of the Bible? Is it possible for you to memorize scripture?  Read through the methods Cherie used and see for yourself.  It is possible.  Don’t start with the goal of memorizing 32 chapters, but start with a goal of memorizing a chapter and work from there.

If you haven’t already read Cherie’s story, it is encouraging, and I encourage you to read it.

The following techniques work perfect for me, and are suggestions for anyone interested:

  • I paste the chapter in landscape position and convert it into 3 columns. It really doesn’t take that long, but spreads out the chapter nicely so it isn’t so daunting. I use random colors for the verses.  This separates them from each other so everything doesn’t meld together confusing me and making my brain overwhelmed.  I’m a busy mom, and I need all the help I can get.  I print a few copies and yes, I hang them everywhere. I gave up being Martha Stewart when my kids came along, so who cares how it looks.

  • I work one verse at a time, and with each new verse I first read it out loud several times and find a cadence. Think about it. Why can we memorize songs so easily?  It’s because we sing them the same way every single time.  I think this is actually the most important element for success.  Once I find a cadence for the verse, (not a tune—just a rhythm) then I say it with the same rhythm every time.  As I find the cadence for the verse, I add voice inflection where it’s needed and this definitely facilitates easier memorization. You don’t talk like a robot, so why quote scripture like one.

  • I say them out loud.  That doesn’t mean “LOUD”, but I speak them even if in a whisper.  My family is used to me doing this as I’m busy with those daily mindless activities like driving a familiar route, or doing household chores.  If I try to just think my verses; I get sidetracked immediately.

  • Memorize from the version you are most familiar with.  I’ve spent nearly three decades with my trusty NIV.  It’s been there through the ups and downs, been read and highlighted to death, and so it’s what I use.  I once decided to memorize a Psalm from the ESV.  Holy cow, I couldn’t believe how hard that was and I had memorized several Psalms from my NIV with no problem.  Throw your brain a bone and stay with the version it knows best.

    Look for similarities.  A verse may have twenty-five words and of those twenty-five, six begin with ‘W’.  Repeat the verse putting strong emphasis on the ‘W’ words.   Example: 2 Peter 3:15b-16a:…just as our dear brother Paul also WROTE you WITH the WISDOM that God gave him. He WRITES the same WAY in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters.      Try it.  Read that out loud with the emphasis shown. You’ll be shocked at how well this works and in how many ways you can use this technique.

  • Many verses have a sort of list separated by commas.  Say it as a list—just as you would say a list to someone with the normal pauses and inflections.  When we read a list out loud, we emphasize a certain part of the list.  Example, “Can you stop at the store and get, (pause)… a LOAF of bread, a POUND of butter, and a GALLON of milk?”  Using these voice inflections is another great trick to help your brain.      Example: Colossians 1:10-11…And we pray this in order that you may live a life WORTHY of the Lord and may please Him in EVERY way, bearing fruit in EVERY good work, growing in the KNOWLEDGE of God, being strengthened with ALL POWER according to His GLORIOUS might…

  • If a verse has a list of single words, I discovered initials can be easier to remember which then helps me remember the order of the words.    Example: Philippians 4:8…Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirableStruggling to keep those words in order, I thought of the initials T.N.R., (true, noble, right) and P.L.A., (pure, lovely, admirable). It was instantaneous. The initials helped me keep the words in order.

  • I give myself a month to memorize one chapter.  There are days when I can’t even get one verse worked on.  The next day I’m standing with my jaw dropped—staring at five loads of laundry waiting to be folded.  I take a breath, get busy and blaze through three or four verses.  I am determined to not lose what I’ve gained.  I have a family member test me when I think I’ve finished a chapter.  I recite it and if I’m off on something, I practice until I have it right.  Each time I finish a chapter; I take a week or more off and review everything I’ve memorized so far.  I’d rather take longer and memorize chapters thoroughly, then rush and forget them later on.  I have no idea where the limit is to how much I can memorize, but I plan to find out.  If I start reciting a chapter to myself and find myself forgetting a verse; I get more determined and go back and perfect it.  My husband made a comment that I had begun widening the pathways in my brain with each new chapter, making each following chapter easier to remember.  Ok, neither he nor I are specialists in how the brain works but it does make perfect sense.

Great tips! Thank you, Cherie for sharing these with us! May the Lord bless you and your family as you soak up the word of God!

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