With the new year comes New Year’s resolutions. A resolution that seems to be chosen quite frequently is the goal of memorizing more Scripture in the coming year.
A worthy goal, yes, but daunting. When I think of undertaking the task of memorizing verses, I always end up feeling guilty, recalling accounts of foreign, oppressed Christians who have memorized huge portions of the Bible while I have done so little.
The typical approach that I’ve encountered for Scripture memory is to pick a book of the Bible and just start hacking away at it, starting at the beginning and working to the end, one verse at a time. Another approach would be to pick out the random verses that mean the most to a particular person and memorize them one at a time.
While these two plans work for many people, they just aren’t super effective for me and the way my brain works. I am a big picture person, and almost always, the way for me to retain information the best is to start with a big idea and work my way down to the details.
Here’s my approach to memorizing portions of the Bible:
1. Pick a book to work on commiting to memory.
2. Instead of starting with verse 1 and memorizing away, study the main idea of each chapter and work on retaining them.
3. After being able to recall the theme content of each chapter, delve deeper into each, a chapter at a time, to memorize sub-themes.
4. Finally, focus on memorizing the actual verses for each chapter.
While this may seem rather simplistic, it’s been hugely helpful for me to retain Biblical information for much longer, compared to when I immediately jump in and start working on a book verse by verse.
I will never forget the Gospel of John course I took in college. My professor, who taught me to love the book, insisted that we memroize the main idea of each chapter and be able to easily recall it when asked. So now, whenever someone mentions John 4, I immediately think “the chapter about the woman at the well.” John 10 is burned into my memory as the “Good Shepherd” chapter. As I mentally break apart the book of John into its themes, it is so much easier to remember specific verses and where they fit into the book as a whole.
My biggest personal struggle is with my identity in Christ, and all that entails, so this year I’m going to work on memorizing the book of Ephesians using my top-down approach. Want to join me?
Seeking to fully live,