Psalm 119:9 – Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

As I’m getting rolling with memorizing Scripture again, I want to share the method that I use to memorize.  I learned it from a friend when I went to a small Bible college, and I’ve used it successfully through undergrad and grad school since then.

I like to call my method the brute force method.  Some people have an ability to draw or put Scripture to music in such a way that they can retain it easily.  I can’t do any of that, so I use pure repetition to burn the words into my memory.  It works.

Day 1: Read the verse out loud to yourself 10x.  Then, say the verse without looking at the words 10x out loud.  Do this while walking if possible (the increased blood flow and fresh air will increase your ability to retain).

Day 2: Review the verse, and then repeat the verse out loud to yourself 10x without looking at the words.

Review: Repeat the verse daily for 60-100 days.  I usually start counting once I have memorized a group of verses or a chapter.

Key points:

  • Your brain is like a muscle: it gets stronger as it is exercised.  Don’t be surprised if things don’t stick well at first.  That’s what the review process is for.  If you stick with it, you will begin to be able to remember easier, and memorize more.
  • This method takes work, but it is effective.  I memorized a lot of verses this way, and I can refresh a chapter in just a few days of review because it’s burned into my mind.
  • Maximize the number of sensory inputs.  Writing the verse out on a card to memorize from is tactile, saying the verse out loud is auditory, reading the verse to review is visual.  If you can use art or music, those will help as well.  As I review verses I can remember the physical locations I learned them, because it’s part of the associated memory (interesting how our brains work).
  • Walking really does help.  If I can’t be outside, even walking back in forth in a room is an improvement over being still.