Memorizing Scripture: Good Memory Not Required

When I first heard of people who had memorized complete books of the Bible, like Janet Pope, Tom Meyer and  Ryan Ferguson, I was in awe and believed, “Wow! That is amazing! I could never do that!” But as the Lord has spurred me on to memorize various chapters of the Bible like Isaiah 53, Psalm 1, Psalm 103, etc. I am now convinced that memorizing Scripture does not require a good memory. It simply is a matter of repetition over time.


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Repetition over time. It’s how a song gets “stuck” in our head—because we’ve heard it over and over over time. It’s how we can remember our favorite parts or lines from a movie or TV show we’ve seen countless times. 


Repetition over time.  It’s how, as a child in elementary school, I memorized the Pledge of Allegiance. We recited the pledge five days a week, week after week, and year after year. When I was just learning the words, probably as a Kindergartner, I’d stumble through it as my teacher led the class in saying the Pledge of Allegiance. But after saying it day after day and week after week, reciting it became more natural until I no longer had to think of the words. Now, many years later since those grade school days I still can recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Why? Repetition over time.

Just as it took repetition over time until I could say the Pledge of Allegiance without having to first think about the words, I’ve found memorizing Scripture to be the same way. When I am first learning a new verse, I stumble through it as I try to recite it. But day after day, week after week, the more I say it, the more natural it becomes for me to say my memory verses until one day I don’t have to think about the words—I finally know them. 

So if you are thinking memorizing chapters or books of the Bible is so far out of reach, just know you can do it. A good memory is not required. Just repetition over time. Read or hear anything enough times and you will remember it. Practice saying your memory verses until you can’t get it wrong, and you won’t soon forget His Word you’ve hidden in your heart. I encourage you, though, to keep reciting your verses you’ve memorized on a regular basis so you don’t ever forget them.  Even when I know a passage word-for-word, I always make it a point to once a day recite my verses once through. It keeps the verses fresh in my mind and allows me to hold on to them as I learn new verses.  

For more detailed information on how I memorize Scripture, visit my Bible Memorization page dedicated to memorizing Scripture. God bless you richly as you seek to hide His Word in your heart!

Questions for you: What chapter or book of the Bible do you dream of memorizing? What needs to happen to make that dream a reality? 

 
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Copyright © 2012 Brooke Espinoza.

26 comments:

  1. Great encouragement, Brooke! Love this:
    "So if you are thinking memorizing chapters or books of the Bible is so far out of reach, just know you can do it. A good memory is not required. Just repetition over time." I'll link to it on our FB page.

    I tried memorizing the book of Philippians a year or two ago but never got it down pat (I didn't repeat it enough!), so I'd like to attempt that again one day.

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  2. Thanks, Lisa! I memorized the first chapter of Philippians last year, but never went on from there. I'd like to finish it next year. Right now, I'm seriously considering memorizing the rest of 1 Peter since we will already have the first chapter done by Thanksgiving, and it is so rich! God bless you lots!

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  3. You make it sound so easy, Brooke! I never thought I could memorize chapters of the Bible either, but now I have a few down. Earlier this week, I too was thinking about how I would love to memorize the rest of 1 Peter (I am doing chapter 1 now). Just a few verses a week and eventually I would get there. I have to fill my mind with something, so it might as well be God's Word!

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    1. Thanks, Amy! That's great to hear! You totally could finish memorizing 1 Peter. Like you said, "just a few verses a week." I'm thinking finishing 1 Peter at a rate of 2-3 verses a week. I love the 1 Peter Memory Challenge at Do Not Depart. Such a fantastic community of believers all determined to hide His Word in their hearts. Love it! So encouraging and inspiring! I love how you said, "I have to fill my mind with something, so it might as well be God's Word!" Amen, Sister! God bless you richly!

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  4. This is great!! There are many times when I think I don't have a verse memorized...I keep going...onto the next verse, but reviewing the past verses, and they eventually stick!! I never thought I could do it either...not quite to books yet, but chapters are a good start. :)

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    1. I love how the verses stick the more we review them. I so know what you mean, "I think I don't have a verse memorized...I keep going...onto the next verse, but reviewing the past verses, and they eventually stick!!" Doing the 1 Peter memory challenge at Do Not Depart, sometimes the week is up before I finished memorizing my verses, so I go on to learn the next verses, and keep practicing the old verses and like you said they eventually stick. So encouraging! God bless you lots!

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  5. Thank you for the encouragement...I've been trying to memorize Romans 8 as my 39th birthday verse,but it seemed I can only remember the 1st 4 verses. Until I was forced to wait for an hour for my son while he gets one-on-one speech therapy from our local school, I could not read a book bec. I could not concentrate while people are walking by or talking in the hallway, but my, I surely can look down at my 3X5 card with the 1st letters written of Romans 8:1-11 and I am almost word-for-word perfect now! Tonight at Awana, my son's Awana leader gave a good report that my son (this son on speech therapy right now and has other sensory issues) said his Awana verses right out...I know it's our God at work and yes, we found that constant repetition helps us recall more. Praise God!

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    1. Memorizing Romans 8, what a great use of your time waiting for your son (and fabulous birthday goal!) Congratulations on all that you've memorized! That's awesome! What a neat praise report from your son's Awana leader! Praising God for the good things He is doing in the life of you and your son! He who has begun a good work in you two will be faithful to complete it, (Philippians 1:6) God bless you much!

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  6. I like your thought and your name for it-"repetition over time". Very true. I went to a Christian private school and every month we had Memory Verses. Many times it was 12-14 verses. The whole school would read the verses together evry morning. Most students could recite it by the end of the month. Repetition over time!

    Stopping by from Womanhood With Purpose!

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    1. Deborah, great example of repetition over time! I'm glad you enjoyed this post. God bless you richly!

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  7. My children and I just finished memorizing Psalm 1 over a period of 6 weeks and it was shocking that even my 3 and 4 year olds were helping fill in words and recite shorter sections own their own.

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    1. Congratulations for memorizing Psalm 1! That was the first chunk of Scripture I ever memorized. Yes, it's amazing how much 3 and 4 year olds are capable of memorizing. When my 3 year old girl was in Cubbies for Awana's she memorized 28 verses over the course of the school year. I had no idea kids her age could do that! God bless you richly!

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  8. I tell you this is the best way I know how! And We taught our boys too! Thanks for this encouragement. Have a super blessed day!
    Love

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    1. Ugochi, that is so neat that you passed on your love for God's Word and spiritual discipline of memorizing Scripture to your boys! What a legacy! God bless you lots!

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  9. This was a great post. I read your memory plan and it is incredible...I will start using it. I want to Memorize 1 Corinth 13. I need more charity in my life.

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    1. Thanks, Cara! Glad you found my memory plan helpful. God bless you richly as you seek to hide 1 Cor. 13 in your heart this year! God bless you much!

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  10. Great post and a good lesson on how to remember the important lessons.
    found you on IMM blog hop. You might enjoy my God Speaks column on
    treasuringgrace.blogspot.com
    Diane

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    1. Thanks, Diane! Glad this blessed you. God bless you much!

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  11. So true...repetition is the key to memorizing Scripture and retaining it!

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca! It certainly has proven true in my life. God bless you lots!

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    1. You're welcome, Denise. God bless you lots!

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  13. I've been memorizing the book of James this year. Two verses a week: easy, peasy. Well :), not quite but easier! Thanks for this, Brooke. Lets encourage each other.

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    1. Laura, that is so neat that you are memorizing the book of James! I love it! That's great that you are doing it, too, at a doable pace. Yes, let's encourage each other for sure--spurring one another to keep on memorizing. (Hebrews 10:24)

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  14. So simple, so true, so effective. Glad you published this post! It should be a great help to many people who think they can't memorize scripture.

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    1. Thanks, Sylvia! That's my heart for writing this post, that it would be "a great help to many people who think they can't memorize scripture." as well as to people already memorizing that are intimidated to take on bigger memory projects like memorizing an entire chapter or book of the Bible. God bless you richly!

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Thank you for taking the time to share. May God bless you richly!