I began memorizing the Bible many years ago, and feel embarrassed I haven’t memorized more of it by now, but I have made one of my aims this year to spend more time on memorizing. I’ve found it such a blessing, and God has used it enrich my personal walk with Him in a very real way. Often memorizing and prayer become an intertwined and inseparable ‘communication’.
When beginning a new chapter, I ﬁrstly divide it up into chunks of ideas that seem to go together, regardless of how many verses there are. For instance, I am working on completing the book of Hebrews at present, and am in the last half of chapter 11. I’ve divided Hebrews 11 into four units:
I then work on each unit individually. I do this by dividing it up again, into smaller mini-units of a few verses each. For instance, Hebrews 11:1-7 neatly divides up into the paragraphs as written (which is often how a section will be divided). I take a mini-unit phrase by phrase, repeating it over and over and trying to form a picture in my mind of what is being talked about. Sometimes I’ll connect certain lists of words within a phrase by using mnemonics (e.g. Romans 1:28-31). I ﬁnd this time mulling over the concepts and connecting them to things I can visualize very helpful.
After moving through all the phrases within a mini-unit three times in this manner, I try and put the whole mini-unit together. If I can do it three times ‘without looking’ I move onto the next mini-unit. The ﬁrst moments when I am memorizing each day are spent revising and rememorizing mini-units. It often takes a while before I can move onto the next one! Once an entire unit is complete (e.g. Hebrews 11:1-7)—I ensure I can say it three times without assistance-I move on to the next unit.
I ﬁnd I spend about 2/3 of my time systematically going back through other books and chapters I’ve memorized. If it’s a book (e.g. Romans), I also regularly make sure I can say the ﬁrst verse of each chapter without looking. My purpose of this is that if I ever am in a situation in the future where I don’t have a Bible, I want to be able to write out the book from memory, and sometimes it’s that starting verse that’s needed in order to jog the memory as the ‘chapter unit.’ I believe the time will come in earth’s history when it will be needed!
The beauty is that I keep learning new things from chapters I memorized many years ago as I review them. It’s like an inexhaustible goldmine, and I feel I’ve only skimmed the surface of what is there! I’m very motivated to ﬁnish Hebrews, as I really want to work on Ephesians. I’m not fast though. I have a very ordinary brain and have to work hard at memorizing! I often try to have a Bible permanently open to whatever I am working on, so that I can work on a phrase as I walk past while going about my work.
I ﬁnd I enjoy memorizing most when I am out walking with my little pocket Bible, and can say the verses out loud.
Kevin Petrie (Australia)