Memorization Made Real

In years past, before the printing press and the Internet made information so readily available, people memorized—precisely, word for word—anything they considered helpful. With the mass production of books, memorization steadily declined. Today, with the Internet in everyone’s pocket, the discipline of memorization has all but died. Even so, the human brain is a marvelous creation, still capable of storing away significant passages of divine truth. So let me conclude this week’s discussion with three practical tips that have helped me in my own Scripture memory program.

First, it is better to learn a few verses perfectly than many poorly. Learn the location of the book (its name, the chapter, and the verse) as well as the words exactly as they appear in your Bible. Don’t go on to another verse until you can say perfectly the verse you’ve been working on—without even a glance at the Bible.

Second, review often. There is only one major secret to memory—and that’s repetition. The brain is designed to hardwire skills and memories as we regularly practice those skills and recall those memories. Think of a skill you acquired many years ago, such as driving a car. After years of regularly using that skill, you no longer have to think about all that you’re doing when you’re behind the wheel; driving has become a natural, almost unconscious function of your body. With consistent repetition, the ability to recite a verse will become just as natural.

Third, use the verse you memorize. The purpose of Scripture memorization is practical, not merely academic. Who cares if you can spout off a dozen verses about temptation if you fall victim to it on a regular basis? Use your verses in prayer, in conversations with people, in correspondence, and certainly in your teaching. Use your memorized verses with your children or your spouse. God will bless your life and theirs as they see His Word bringing out the best in you. Isaiah 55:10–11 promises:

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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