Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Scripture Memorization -- Part II

On Saturday I finished my 100 day wrap-up on 1 John.  Since I wrote about this back in December, I thought it would be good to give a summary of my experience.

Back in December  I shared a methodology from Dr. Andrew Davis that is particularly helpful in memorizing long selections of Scripture.  In summary, the methodology involves learning one verse a day and then repeating/reviewing the aggregate each day throughout the book or selection.  When the selection is memorized you recite the whole each day for 100 days. 

In summary, this whole deal is awesome.  I am such a believer in memorizing large sections of Scripture rather than bits and pieces.  It's phenomenal to get your mind around a whole book.  It's rewarding to be listening to a sermon, or reading a book where one of your newly memorized verses is referenced.  Let me make four summary statements: 

1. It is long and slow.  Both of these words have negative connotations in our society.  When I posted about this in December I had already been memorizing for a couple of months.  That means from start to finish it took 8-9 months to memorize to memorize a small, five-chapter book.  Yikes!  That doesn't appeal to my desire for microwave spirituality.

But this "long-ness" and "slow-ness" is an upside.  You don't have to burn out doing it.  You don't forget everything you've memorized half-way in.  It becomes a daily discipline that I could do long-term.  While there were many days when I just wanted to hurry up and finish the book, the slow pacing of the process is a spiritual discipline in itself.  It is the discipline of "slowing."

2. It's thorough.  Using this methodology ensures I've read, memorized, chewed on, pondered and reflected on each verse dozens and dozens of times (or hundreds, in the case of the early verses).  While I still make mistakes and have mental blocks, I generally know this book word-for-word.  For a guy with a mind like a steel sieve (where everything falls out) this is great.

3. It gets the Scripture down deep. While memorizing a book word-for-word has obvious intrinsic value on its own it's not an end in itself.  More than just memorizing, I feel like I understand  this book better.  I have been seriously impacted by the message of the book.  I've recited over and over, "do not love the world or anything in the world..." several hundred times.  That has affected me.  Even when my I'm sitting in traffic or washing the dishes, my mind goes to these verses and goes through them almost naturally.

4. Other Scripture seems to stay put better. This is purely anecdotal and non-empirical, but having disciplined myself to study this book it seems other Scriptures stay in my mind better . 

If you're interested in memorizing longer passages of Scripture give this a try!  You won't be disappointed...even if you're not a good "memorizer" like myself.


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Anonymous said...

I'm a pastor on the staff at a church in Everett, Washington, New Life Center. Found your article as I was "googling" scripture memorization. Keep up the good work. I'm going to teach a class to adults on Memorization of Scripture, once a week for six weeks. Thanks for your prayers.....keep pressing on in the scripture.

Jeff said...

Hi anony, thanks for taking the time to comment. This methodology was a great find and I'm just passing it on. I started working on the first four chapters of John recently...whoof...it's looong :)

Sounds like a great class idea. God bless!