Memorizing scripture — if you’re reading this, you are probably already convinced of the value of scripture memory, but if you’re like me, you find it hard to be consistent.
My sons have been in the Bible Bee for six years and have memorized more scripture than I thought possible. Each year, I determined I would memorize with them, and every time I would get distracted and not complete my goals.
Scripture memory is hard work. It takes concentration- more than my middle-aged brain has at times.
And yet, it is one of the most important things we can do.
Chuck Swindoll wrote,
I know of no other single practice in the Christian life that’s more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture…No other single discipline is more useful and rewarding than this. No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective… Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified.
And I recently read this quote by John Piper,
Memorizing scripture enables me to hit the devil in the face with a force he can’t resist to protect myself and my family from his assaults.
That’s why I was so happy to come across the “first letter of each word” method of scripture memory. I discovered if I wrote down the first letter of each word of a passage that I’m trying to memorize it enables me to memorize much more quickly.
The first letter prompts my brain to remember the words. This is much more powerful than reading and rereading the same text. And it is easier than memorizing by “brute force.” It also keeps me focused on the task on hand.
With this method, my son and I set out a few months ago on the daunting task of memorizing Romans. Yes, I know that this is a huge goal, but being a Bible Bee family tends to make you set your goals high. I was so excited at my progress using this method. This was the first time I was memorizing large amounts of scripture since I was a young girl in Bible Quizzing. We’re not finished with Romans yet, but I know I’m much farther than I would be without this tool.
Now if you’re new to memorizing, you probably want to start with a much smaller goal, but don’t be surprised if you find that memorizing a long passage or a chapter isn’t that difficult.
- Write out the first letter of each word in a verse on an index card. Split up the letters into meaningful phrases.
- Work on being able to say the verse with just the first letters as prompt.
- Add as many verses as you wish to the index card. Each time you add a verse, go back and sure you can say it with the verse or verses above it.
- Review often throughout the day. I suggest putting the flashcard on top of your phone and reviewing it each time you go to pick up your phone.
Soon you’ll be able to drop the flash cards and say the verses from memory. I wouldn’t worry about trying to wean yourself off the first letter until you’ve been quoting the verses for a week or so, unless it’s a short passage and you feel ready.
If you use the KJV, you might want to use the Kindle book The KJV Bible Memory Version. It’s an eBook that allows you to easily switch back and forth between the entire text and the FLOEW. (I hope you could figure that one out.) I bought this lately so both my son and I could use it to review the chapters we are memorizing more easily. I like that you can check yourself by switching to the full text whenever you’re not quite sure if you’re getting the passage right.
I also love the author’s answer to the question “How much scripture should you memorize?” He says it’s not a question of “how much” but of “how often.” Memorize scripture consistently and the “how much” will take care of itself.
Let me know if you try this method and how it works for you. God bless you as you seek to make His Word a priority in your life.
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