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Scripture Memorization Tips and Tricks

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

Memorizing scripture is something that is vital for every Christian in their walk with Christ. Many times, we have been called to meditate on His Word. It is one thing to read it, it’s another thing to memorize it. Memorizing internalizes the word and allows us to “chew on it” throughout the day and see how it can come to life in our actions, trials, and problems. But I’m not so much here to make the case to memorize scripture, but rather how I do it.

I’ve employed a few techniques that are very helpful for me.

Temporary Tattoo on the Forearm

- I like this one a lot. It’s especially good if you like conversation starters, cause it attracts attention. If you want to memorize a verse, what you do is write the first letter of every word on your arm with the verse citation at the end. For instance, if you wanted to memorize:

o Psalms 1:1-2, Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his Law he meditates day and night.

It would look like:

o B I t m w d n w I t c o t w o s I t w o s o s I t s o m. B h d I I t l o t L a o h l h m d a n. P 1:1-2

- Obviously if you have this on your arm in Sharpie, its going to cause people to ask if it’s a tattoo or if you’re in a cult. I’ve had a lot of conversations with strangers this way and have been able to discuss God with them.

- It also practically gives you a timeline to memorize it. The idea is that whenever you look at your forearm (or hand, up to you where it is), you can recite it to yourself. As time goes on, it will slowly wear off and be gone in a few days (depends on how vigilant you are with your hygiene). Hopefully by the time its gone, you have it memorized.

Memory Palace

- This is a very difficult one to unpack, so I’m really just going to introduce the idea.

- The basic idea is to associate images/mnemonics for words, phrases, and concepts and to place them in an area/setting/building that you are very familiar with. Humans are fantastic at remembering the layout of places. This technique taps into that innate ability. This tactic takes more time and creativity, but it works amazing.

- If you want to learn more, read the book Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer.

Sheer repetition

- Nothing too crazy about this one. It’s about blunt repetition of exposure to the verse and reading it over and over. Typically, it takes the human 7 exposures before they begin to memorize something. This one is very simple, but takes a bit of time. Use of flashcards (or Quizlet) could be done (reference on one side, verse on the other).

- This can be “gamified” by writing out the verse on a white board and reciting/reading it over and over again. After each recitation/reading, a random word is erased. The goal is to do this with fewer and fewer words until there are no words on the board and you can recite the entire verse.

Integration/Thoughtful meditation

- This one is very nuanced and is much more like the Memory Palace technique briefly discussed. The human brain is great at memorizing significant thing. If I told you to memorize the numbers 9112001, it may be difficult to remember it just after a glance. However, if I told you to memorize 9/11/2001, you would automatically remember those numbers since it’s associated with a very significant date.

- If you can somehow integrate the words, phrases, and order of the verse with significant things in your life, you can “connect it” to networks in your brain that your memory is already mapped out well with. Like I said, it’s very nuanced, but one that if you try to incorporate and understand on your own could prove very effective.

Posted by Samuel Gerardi.

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