How to Memorize Like a Boss
Recently I posted on social media the same sort of thing most of you post on social media–the Who’s Who and What’s What of your people and the events of life. My post consisted of our happenings on New Year’s Eve which to most would be considered uneventful and not worth the hoopla of a post. But my post consisted of our tradition that involves the culmination of a year’s worth of effort. My children collectively recited 292 Bible verses that night, without assistance from their parents and one is special needs. We are not part of a club or group or association that spurs us on to make these strides. It’s just a need I recognized years ago and the results of a strategy we set in motion to memorize. What I didn’t realize was how many other people needed what I recognized I needed.
I agreed to get my thoughts together and provide my insight and notes for whatever it’s worth. I posted a podcast on the topic and here I’m just going to offer the overview with links. Today we will consider 4 questions:
Question 1: Where are the verses going to come from?
- Personal Devotional
- A portion of Scripture, like a chapter, set of verses, or book
- Something you download or purchase
- A, B, C, D, it
- Which version of the Bible are you using?
- Below you will find a list of verses I created that are easy and important to memorize. I set something like this up for my kids in the beginning and for my special needs daughter, this kind of approach is golden. Here is a link to the PDF version.
Questions 2: How are you going to organize them?
I began using something like the list above with my children. I went to the Dollar Store and purchased a small spiral notebook for each person and recorded one verse per page so they could flip between each one. They have honestly kept these books and continue to use them. It’s a cheap immediate and useful solution.
A second option is to utilize your phone. I do this in two ways.
- YouVersion— The YouVersion app offers the verse of the day and it allows you to highlight Scripture and create a VERSE IMAGE that can be downloaded and shared. I use this feature often for memory work. First I select the option to make the image rectangular like a screen saver rather than square for social media. Then after I have downloaded the image to my photos, I create a folder within my photos on my phone to better navigate these images.
- Fighter Verses— I love this app. You can use the verses they have selected for the year OR you can select your own. I select my own. Either way, you can listen to the verse, hear a song using the words to the verse, download a verse image or screen saver straight from the app (it’s not as pretty), read a commentary about the verse, and play games until you have it memorized. Once it’s memorized, you can click a button and it then goes into a rotation so that you practice it and you don’t forget what you have learned. The downside is that the app is not free. It costs $2.99. But it is well worth it! I use it all the time.
Question 3: How are you going to ensure they are being memorized?
Researchers suggest 4 proven strategies:
- Food choices — Include the following in your diet to increase cognitive abilities– fish, green tea, blueberries, walnuts
- Times of Day — Memorize in the afternoons, even if you don’t feel you are most effective this time of day
- Utilize spaced repetition – or flashcards is their best advice, even in 2020. You can make these any way you like. Find what works for you. I have been using flashcards all my life. It works for me. That’s why in 2020 I began to design them for you. They are perfect to go along with you — fitting in the palm of your hand, with a ring and a prayer! 🙂 This first set published goes along with Unleash Your Brave, finding joy in badness. I needed it. I figured someone else might need it, too. You can check it out here or from the image below.
- Chunking — memorizing a larger piece of material that goes together, like an entire Psalm or a passage. Our brains seem to work with these types of larger pieces better than if we try to helter-skelter our way down the road.
Question 4: What is the personal or collective incentive to keep going?
That’s what began this whole discourse: our family New Year’s Eve Verse-a-thon. Here is the nitty-gritty:
- Decide and announce what the incentive will be for memorizing Bible verses? What will it be based upon? Number of verses? Age of person? You decide. Then announce the parameters.
- On the given day, everyone must be ready and meet the requirements set up. If they do, they receive the incentive. If they do not, they do not.
- Note – it cannot be verses they already have learned or recited before.
- Note — it cannot be a half-hearted effort to memorize. There are no participation trophies at the Strange House! We left one kid in a pile of tears who was beside themselves last year because they thought they deserved the “prize” for mumbling through some sort of half learned jibberish. No. It was a lame effort and all of us knew it. Cry your eyes out. This is not Upward Basketball where you get kudos for just showing up. I’m not paying for poor performance when the person had AN ENTIRE YEAR!! But this year—-that same kid did an AMAZING job. So, I suggest sticking to your guns on what matters.
- Lead. Remember it’s not just for kids. Grownups need to lead out, to show the way and model following Christ.
You CAN do this. It has eternal significance. Keep after it. Take your next step. I cannot wait to hear about it!
For His Glory,