Editor’s Note: This is a follow up post to the author’s previous post on why we should memorize Scripture. To read that post, click here.
How’s your Scripture memorization going? Have you ever memorized more than one verse at a time? How about an entire chapter? A whole book? While the idea of memorizing an entire book of the Bible sounds impossible (So Many Words!), I promise, it is possible. There are many strategies and methods available to help in memorizing. A quick internet search for “How to memorize Scripture” yields 3,500,000 results—I kid you not. Some people learn best by writing out the passages, some by listening to them. There are even Bible memory apps available for your phone. The method which I found works best for me is P2R.
In my last post, I wrote about why it is so beneficial to memorize Scripture, not only selected verses, but entire books at a time. In this post, I will share with you the method I found which has helped me to memorize both Philippians and Ephesians. I take no credit for the method I used, but am indebted to Tim Brister, pastor and blogger, who came up with the idea for the “Memory Moleskin” in 2008 for a program he called Partnering to Remember, or, P2R.
What makes the P2R method unique is the Moleskine journal. This is a 3.5 X 5.5 ruled journal, about the size of a cell phone. (You can find them online, in book stores, and office supply stores). A printout of the book of Scripture being memorized is cut into weekly portions to fit the pages and taped into the journal. This “Memory Moleskine” fits into a pocket or purse, making it easy to carry wherever you go. It also makes it easier to focus on one portion of Scripture at a time, with only the text you are memorizing before your eyes, instead of an entire page of the Bible.
Tim Brister provided links to PDFs of the books of Ephesians, Philippians, and 1 Peter, formatted to fit the journals. If you are more clever than I, you could format whichever book or portion of Scripture you wish to memorize, and print it out for your Memory Moleskin. I’m hoping someday to memorize the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:5-7), selections from the Psalms, or even the Upper Room Discourse (John 13:31-17:26).
Assembling your Memory Moleskine:
This is the Arts & Crafts portion of the project. Print the text of Scripture onto regular paper, trimming the weekly units so that they fit onto the journal pages, using double-sided tape to fasten them in order into your journals. Only put them onto the left-hand page, so that the facing page is left open for your notes. I’ve included a photo of my journal to show you what I mean:
Hiding it in our hearts
Choose a time each day when you can spend uninterrupted time with your memorization. I find first thing in the morning works for me.
Each page of verses in your journal is a unit of the text, within which there is a context and flow of thought. This ought to take a week to memorize, but if you find yourself needing more than a week, give yourself some grace—and don’t give up!
Each day, read the whole page of verses to yourself, out loud, at least ten times, marking the repetitions off on the right-hand page to keep track. Don’t just read the individual verses, read the entire page from top to bottom. Read with emphasis for meaning, looking for the main ideas. It’s easier to remember it if you understand what’s being said. Photograph the verses with your eyes, so that you have a visual impression to help seal it into your memory.
Throughout the day, take quiet opportunities to review your verses. Take your journal with you when you run errands and if your find yourself waiting somewhere, review your verses. By the middle of the week, you might be able to close your eyes for some of the reading as it is becoming fixed in your mind. By the end of the week, you ought to be able to recite the entire portion of Scripture without looking.
The next week, begin each memory session with a review of the older passages, being sure you have them down before working on the next passage. Recite the older verses all together before repeating your new verses each day. In this way, by the time you finish, you will have recited the entire book, gradually, over the entire course of your memory work.
A weakness for me is the transitions from one week to the next. If I can understand where Paul is going in the flow of his argument it becomes easier remember what comes next. Many of the weeks begin with, “For this reason,” or “Therefore,” so I look for the reason and its result. For instance: at the end of week 15 Paul says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (5:6), and week 16 picks right up with “Therefore do not become partakers with them” (5:7).
Make every effort!
Memorizing Scripture is hard, and it requires discipline. I have found it very helpful to partner with a friend, or even a group of friends, to have accountability and motivation to keep going. Not only do my friends remind and encourage me in my memorization, but we share together the joys that result from hiding God’s Word in our hearts. Recruit family members, find friends at church, or get your Facebook pals to join you, and get started! And let me know too; I’d love to hear that you’re joining me in hiding the Word in your hearts!
Barbaranne reads, writes, cooks, runs, and shoots an occasional photo in Texas. She and her husband Jim are the parents of five of the neatest people they know and grandparents to the first two of (hopefully) many grandchildren. She has been blogging ever since she accidentally signed up for a blog while attempting to comment on a friend’s blog post and figured, “Why not?” She now blogs at Grateful and Women of Purpose, a ministry of the women of her church. Barbaranne and Jim are members of Christ Presbyterian Church in New Braunfels, Texas, where she leads a Bible study for women in the hope that she and they may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.