A few weeks ago we were privileged to participate in a Bible Memorization Seminar in our area. The four Nebblett siblings came fromNew Mexicoto teach and train on this and other spiritual topics. What a blessing!
As a child, my brain memorized pretty fast. I remember earning a beautiful new Bible for memorizing a large number of verses one time. The verses I learned then have stuck with me, at least in part, until this day. But the verses I’ve worked on in the last couple of decades are only there in general meaning, or paraphrase. The older I get, the harder it seems to be to memorize, so sadly, I have kind of given up on memorization, making excuses, like I’m too busy to do that right now.
I thought the seminar would be really good for my kids, motivating them to make the best of their brain while it is young, but I found it was very helpful for me too.
Our guest speakers are all in their 20’s. They come from the same family, but they have different personalities, and learning styles. They have figured out that they all memorize best a little differently. One is more auditory, saying the verses out loud, or listening to them. One is more visual, reading the verses, and remembering how the verse looks on the page. One is more creative, drawing stick figures to help illustrate the verses. One like to be more active when memorizing.
Here are some of the points our guest speakers shared with us, taken from their own experience and from a survey they conducted among some other young people.
1. Don’t try to memorize laying down. Our cozy warm bed is better for putting us to sleep then memorizing scripture. It is better to be upright, or even active while memorizing.
2. Experiment with different ways of memorizing to see which one(s) work better for you.
3. Try including more then one method of memorization while working on specific verses.
4. It might help you if you memorize out loud with someone else.
5. Accountability is very important. Find a friend to check on you and see if you’ve memorized your verses, and to encourage you to keep working on more.
The most fun aspect of the seminar was when they divided us up into four groups. Each group was assigned a section of Revelation 22 to memorize. Then each of the siblings went to one of the groups and worked with them on their verses. After 15 minutes, the siblings rotated, and the next sibling worked on our verses with us in a different way. At the end of an hour, I didn’t have my verses completely memorized, but I was well on the way. Each group then stood up, one group at a time, and recited their section, so the whole chapter of Revelation 22 was recited, in order. We relied on other members of our group to help us, but all in all, I thought it was a great success, and a thrill to hear the whole chapter aloud.
I have since thought about Bible memorization and my old brain, and realized I am really good at excuses. Is it impossible for me, at my age to memorize? No. I know I could. I just haven’t put in the time. Do I want to have scripture in my heart and mind? Yes, absolutely yes! I have decided that even if I don’t memorize quickly, that I should keep working on it, because the more I work at it, the more of it I will have in my brain, even if it is just fragments and pieces. God can use fragments and pieces at the right time to encourage me, or keep me out of trouble.
I am excited to say that after a search of the Internet, I have found something that is helping me memorize much faster. At Scripture Typer there is free online software to help you practice typing verses until they are memorized. It is simple, and uses the visual and kinesthetic modalities all at once as you type the verses you wish to memorize. I have been working on it for a couple weeks now and have to excitedly report that I’ve already memorized Romans 8: 1 – 5. I know that doesn’t look like much, but it is major progress for me, and I’m working now on verses 6 – 9. At Scripture Typer you can download the verses you wish to work on, in the Bible version of your choice, and it will keep track of your progress for you, and even give you reminders to go back and review the verses you have worked on in past weeks. The only draw back is that you must have an Internet connection to use it. And my only suggestion to make it better, is if you would speak the verses out loud as you type, because then you would be using three learning modalities, and it might even stick a little quicker.
I really encourage young people to memorize all they can, while their brain is still active and quick, but not to give up when it starts showing its age. I encourage people with middle age and older brains to try again, and not give up. I think it might even help to keep us younger, and will certainly help our spiritual lives. I’ve already been blessed by several special new thoughts I’ve gained in my work on Romans 8, and as you can see, I’ve only completed a very few verses. I’m not going to give up. And next time you see me, you can quiz me to see if I can remember any of them.