Previously, I challenged you all to memorize a whole book of the Bible. If you missed that post you can view it here: A Healthy Challenge.

Now, I want to share with you two methods that you can use to memorize a book of the Bible.

Method #1

Let’s say you have made the decision to memorize an entire book of the Bible. You’ve prayed for wisdom from God to choose the right book, you’ve finally chosen that book, and you’ve started to make a plan to memorize that book. How might that plan look? What must you do each day to reach your goal?

Well, by way of example, I will share with you one method you could use based on my own memorization work. I have committed to memorizing the book of Jonah. So, now that I have my book picked out I must figure out how long the book is and how fast I wish to memorize it.

Length of Jonah

After scanning the verses of Jonah I have discovered that Jonah is 48 verses.

Speed of Memorization

In this method, I plan on memorizing one verse of Jonah a day, six days a week, for 8 weeks. (48 verses/6 verses a week= 8 weeks).

Find an Accountability Partner

This is optional, but it will only help you all the more to stay on target. Find another person to keep you honest in your memorization work before you begin. Tell that person(s) the book you are memorizing and your target date. This could also be a chance for you to be their accountability partner. Try reciting your passage to them at the end of each week.

How It All Works

  1. Day one: Since I have set my goal at one verse a day, my first day will be memorizing Jonah 1:1. Read that verse out loud 10 times (yes, 10!) and read it carefully. Then, look away from the verse and recite it 10 times from memory. That’s it!
  2. Day two: Recite yesterday’s verse before anything else! Recite Jonah 1:1 10 times without looking (you can look if you need to refresh your memory, just make sure to recite it 10 times without looking). Then, move on to verse 2. Read Jonah 1:2 10 times carefully. Then, without looking at the verse, recite verse 2 10 times from memory. You’re done for the day.
  3. Day three: Once again, recite yesterday’s verse (Jonah 1:2) first. Recite verse 2 10 times without looking. Then, recite verses 1 and 2 together just once to refresh your memory from day one! Now you are ready to add the new verse. Read verse 3 10 times carefully. Then, recite it 10 times without looking from memory.
  4. Day four: Again, yesterday’s verse first (Jonah 1:3) 10 times from memory. Then, recite Jonah 1:1–3 together once. Now, add verse 4. Read verse 4 10 times carefully. Recite it 10 times from memory.
  5. Day five: Yesterday’s verse first (Jonah 1:4) 10 times out loud from memory. Then, recite Jonah 1:1–4 altogether one. Add verse 5 and read it 10 times out loud carefully. Recite it 10 times without looking.
  6. Day six: Recite verse 5 first 10 times from memory. Recite Jonah 1:1–5 together once from memory. Add verse 6 by reading it 10 times out loud and carefully. Then, recite verse 6 10 times from memory.
  7. The Target Day: continue the pattern. Yesterday’s verse first (Jonah 4:10) ten times. Then Jonah 1:1–4:10 together once. Now add the last verse and read it out loud 10 times. Recite it from memory 10 times.

Congratulations! You’ve made your goal, but your task isn’t over yet…. If you want to remember that passage for the long-term you need to keep reciting it over and over and over again. Try reciting it for 100 days in a row without missing a day! It’s a tough task, but it will ensure that you remember it well for a long time. Once those 100 days are over try reciting it for just once a week.

Method #2

This method works best for longer books like Matthew or Daniel. But, it can work for a shorter book too. So, I’ll use the book of Jonah again as an example.

Let’s say you want to memorize the book of Jonah faster than 8 weeks. You know you have enough time in your schedule so you are ready to make a plan!

Length of Jonah

You see that Jonah is 48 verses long.

Speed of Memorization

You know you have enough time (Emphasis on enough time! You will need it if you wish to go fast!) to memorize 3–6 verses of Jonah a day. If you memorize 3 verses a day, you’ll finish memorizing the whole book in 16 days! So, about 2.5 weeks with rest days. If you choose 6 verses a day you will have the whole book memorized in about 1 and a half weeks (A crazily insane pace, but certainly doable).

Find an Accountability Partner

Trust me, if you choose method #2 you will want a partner more than ever.

How It All Works

Similar to Method #1, this method puts the emphasis on repetition. It’s all about retaining the verses you memorized the day before and repeatedly reciting the current day’s verses.

  1. Day one: Read Jonah 1:1 out loud 10 times. Recite that verse 10 times without looking. Repeat this process up through verse 3 (or 6 depending on speed). Then, recite the whole section you just did 10 times together.
  2. Day two: Do yesterday’s verses first. Recite them ten times without looking, if you can. Then, add the next 3 verses (or 6 depending) reading them out loud 10 times individually. Then recite them from memory individually. Then recite the whole passage together 10 times from memory.

Continue the process until you reach the finish line! Note: Reciting your previous verses will take a lot of time. Since Jonah is a small book it isn’t too big of a deal, but with bigger books, like Matthew, you might want to set a timer for 15 minutes to spend reciting older verses so as not to feel too tired before you reach the newer verses!

The key to this method is review. Make sure you have the flow of the passage down well so that when you add to it it will flow the next day you recite them! This means you might have to adjust the number of verses you memorize per day to fit the flow of the context. For example, in Jonah, don’t memorize 3:10–4:2. Instead, continue the flow of thought by adding more verses or memorizing fewer verses that day. Another example, if doing Matthew, don’t memorize 5:31-33. Either try just verse 31–32 (on divorce) or try 31–37 (divorce and oaths). It would be awkward to stop in the middle of a train of thought.

If you are confused with how I presented these methods you can check out the link to the PDF below. It is where I got all the above information from and adapted it for my own use. Also, in that PDF, the author includes an appendix that has all 66 books of the Bible with their verse count!

An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture

I hope this helps you in some way, if not for a whole book of Scripture at least for a small passage!


2 thoughts on “Methods For Memory

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s