Friday, September 2, 2016

God is my witness

One of my favorite Scripture-memory-related moments near the beginning of memorizing Romans came when I wasn't memorizing or practicing.

I had already memorized part of Romans 1 at least through verse 9, and maybe through his entrance into the Gospel topic. Verse 9 includes, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son.”

I remember one day going about my business, thinking about things happening in my life, and at one point thinking the phrase, “with God as my witness,” and found myself immediately and naturally adding onto that, “whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son.” It was so cool and encouraging.

Hiding God's Word in one's heart can be a reminder of whom we serve and why we are here!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Road trip!

No matter the scope of one's Scripture memory efforts, driving or riding in a vehicle is one of the better times to practice what one has learned to have it locked in rock solid.

In writing about how to memorize a verse, I described a reinforcement step that includes “reciting what I have learned out loud three times toward each direction of the compass.” For me, this typically involves four walls in my apartment. The purpose of this is to “break the visual association” in the brain that is formed when memorizing and reciting. Even with the same four walls, though, the scene can become familiar.

Enter driving. The scene is constantly changing. Even if the scene seems the same from a travel standpoint (hundreds of miles of prairie, for instance), for memory reinforcement purposes there is a sufficient amount of visual variation to help break any mental dependencies our minds may form with what is seen for reciting what has been learned.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How to memorize multiple books of the Bible

It's good to build on the confidence-building success of having memorized a book of the Bible. Pick a new book, prepare the text, and get to work an another one!

The process for a new book is mostly the same as for the first book with one notable exception. The loops and skips challenge is no longer limited to identical and similar phrases used in just one book. This can also happen across books. It's not a new challenge, but its scope has increased.

Biblical authors like Paul tend to uses phrases in multiple letters, and I've found myself jumping from one book to another on accident.

Some examples I've encountered:
I still have work to do on going back through Ephesians and working out these similarities in order to keep from getting myself confused with ColossiansPray for me!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Better than podcast listening!

Podcast listening has risen in popularity. I once heard a podcaster say his audio was four times as popular as his video. In some ways this makes a lot of sense. Listening audio is easy as a passive activity vs. video which requires specific active attention. It's hard to fold put away laundry while watching a video, but it's not hard at all while listening to a sermon.

I have listened to many podcasts and learned a lot. I also don't have a lot to show for them afterwards. The long-term value of listening to a podcast diminishes rather rapidly, even if it's someone giving an excellent exposition of the Word of God.

Contrast this to Bible memory and hiding God's Word in one's heart. The Word does not return void, and that is especially true when one memorizes it and reviews it regularly. The value to me of having God's Word in my heart far surpasses the value of any podcast or episode. I have no fear of missing out (FOMO) when I know the value is far greater.

The great thing about Bible memory, especially review, is that it is generally just as flexible as listening to a podcast, even when speaking out loud. (If one must listen to a podcast with headphones to not disturb others, that circumstance may be the exception, but one can look for other times when that is not a limitation.)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Loops and Skips

As one makes progress through memorizing a long passage of Scripture, sometimes the inspired Word and the translation will have characteristics that present additional challenges for hiding it in a person's heart, particularly repeated lines, phrases, or even similar-sounding phrases.

When coming across a phrase appearing more than once, one of two things can happen. One may recite a phrase that occurs more than once and inadvertently skip over everything from one time it occurs to a later time. Or the reverse: hitting a latter instance of a repeated phrase, and accidentally jumping back to an earlier time it occurred, repeating everything in between again.

This is usually a surprise when it happens because it only can happen when one memorizes something that is the same as or sufficiently similar to something one has already memorized. Also, as often happens with memorizing, one can get to a point of being able to quote it without thinking about it. That usually happens after one has been familiar with quoting a passage for a time (which is good), and that is also when the looping or skipping challenges tend to surface. One can overcome the additional newly presented hurdles and get back to that passive reciting state.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Review while cooking!

If one has ever waited for water to boil while cooking pasta, it can feel like a long time.

Recently I posted Job 41 on my fridge and used the time to learn more verses. Suddenly neither the time for the water to boil nor the time for the pasta to cook seemed like that long. If anything it felt short!

If one starts looking for them, life is filled with opportunities to fill time with review of God's Word that one has hidden in his heart.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Use a voice recorder

When one is memorizing just a verse of Scripture, or even some chapters, it can be relatively simple to tell if one has memorized the text perfectly or not. When one progresses along an extended journey into reciting multiple chapters as part of memorizing a book of the Bible, it can be harder to tell if one is reciting it perfectly, or if one is missing small phrases here and there. (Of course, large phrases or even sections can get missed, too.)

For these longer stretches, I recommend using a voice recorder of some kind. In the old days this meant buying a separate device like a digital voice recorder. (In the really old days this meant something like a tape recorder or a micro-cassette recorder.) These days, one may already have everything needed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Memorizing Speed > Study Speed

A few years ago it was my honor to mentor a member of the high school class of 2010. I had been finishing memorizing Romans while we were studying the book of James together. We decided to follow that study up with Philippians and also both memorize the book together.

The biggest surprise of that was how much faster we were at memorizing the book than studying it. Neither of us expected that, but the math makes sense. We were both memorizing a couple verses a day, but we only met once a week for an hour or so. It turned out to be quite easy for our memorizing to outpace our discussing.

This also greatly enhanced our familiarity with the text we were discussing.