In the past few Mom’s Corners, I have been answering questions that were e-mailed to me concerning how my children memorize Scripture, how I memorize Scripture, and how we use Bible copying in our homeschool.
So far we have mostly covered how our younger children memorize Scripture, but in reality when I am helping them memorize, I am memorizing as well. This is memorizing that doesn’t take any extra effort on my part because I am already investing my time with the child with whom I am working.
However, I also desire to memorize verses and sections of Scripture that the Lord has put on my heart as having particular application to the greatest needs in my life. The places I choose to memorize come from my personal time reading the Word. When I come to a passage that is especially relevant to struggles and failures I am experiencing, I begin memorizing it if I am ready for something new on which to work, or I write it down in my quiet-time notebook to come back to when I finish memorizing the section on which I am currently working. Most of the time, I memorize from the New Testament, but I have also memorized various Psalms and a few other sections of the Old Testament.
When would one fit Scripture memory into a busy mom’s life? The Bible memory method I described in the first Mom’s Corner on Scripture memory, which I named the whiteboard-mealtime-grace method, is the simplest way to memorize without any impact to our time. I also find I can make steady, significant memorizing progress if I will just extend my scheduled time in the Word and prayer by five minutes. Those extra five minutes I spend on memorizing. In addition, I have used bigger chunks of time in the evening by going to bed ten to fifteen minutes early and memorizing while I wait for Steve to come to bed.
I do my personal memorization in much the same fashion as I shared in the first Mom’s Corner on Scripture memory, describing how I would help our pre-readers to memorize. I read the first phrase of the verse several times, and then I try to say it. If I need to, I look back at the verse. I keep doing this until I have that first phrase down. Usually this means I don’t move on to the second phrase that day because I won’t yet have learned the first phrase, especially if I am working on memorizing for only five minutes a day.
The second day, I will try to remember how the first phrase began, but generally it takes me a week or so to be able to start the verse on my own without looking. I am not discouraged by that, but I just keep plugging away, knowing that eventually I will be able to begin the verse without help. Even though I can’t start the phrase, by reviewing the first phrase the next day and working on it a bit more, I will be ready to move on to the second phrase.
When I have the second phrase down, I go back to saying the first phrase and attempt to add the second phrase to the first. If I can’t get it, I look back at the text for some help and go through the process again. Each succeeding day, I try to recall what I memorized the day before. Usually I will need to look at the first word or two to get me started. However, before long, I know the beginning of the newest phrase and no longer require the prompts to get me going. When I have a difficult section, I just stay on it until I get it. I don’t push myself because it is more important to me to really know what I am memorizing than to have covered a certain number of verses in a certain amount of time.
A key aspect that I discovered for my successful memorizing was to do it out loud. That helped me learn the verses faster and allowed me to be able to speak them when I wanted to say them. I used to memorize in my mind without speaking the verses aloud. However, when I tried to say the verses, I had trouble. I could recite them perfectly in my head, but when they came out of my mouth, they sounded different, and I would get stuck. When I moved to memorizing out loud, I then found the verses were at my disposal not only to recall in my mind but also to share with my family or someone else.
Reviewing memorized verses is important if we want to keep them in memory. I have memorized many verses in the past that I couldn’t repeat today, simply because there is only so much time that I can give for Scripture memory review. I didn’t choose to review those verses and eventually they were forgotten.
Even if I don’t keep verses in long-term memory by reviewing them, I have still seen benefit in memorizing them. When I choose a passage, there is usually a need in my life to which those verses speak. For example, I memorized 2 Corinthians 4:8-17 when I was struggling with depression. That whole passage spoke to my heart in the midst of the negative thoughts with which I wrestled. “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17). I couldn’t quote those verses to you today, but they ministered to me then. Because of memorizing them, I also know in a general way what they say and where to find them. In addition, even though verses I have memorized are forgotten, the Holy Spirit will recall them to me at times.
The sections of Scripture that I want to keep in mind, I will review. Obviously when I am memorizing I am reviewing what I am in the process of memorizing, but I also try to find other time to review previously-learned verses. One of those times is when I blow-dry my hair. I usually only take time to blow-dry my hair on Sunday mornings. I use those fifteen minutes each week to review previously-learned memory verses. I am currently working at teaching myself to go through memory verses when I shower. Right now, since it isn’t my habit, I forget more than I remember, but I am determined to keep trying. Eventually I will remember more than I forget, and then it will be my habit.
The Lord put on my heart that speaking His Word to myself rather than always thinking my own thoughts was part of what Colossians 3—a chapter I have memorized—tells me to do. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2) and “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. . .” (Colossians 3:16). I also like to use some of the time that we are traveling to review memory verses. I am sure there are a few minutes here and a few there that we all have which can be devoted to reviewing memorized verses—if we will look for that time.
If you would like some suggestions for sections of Scripture to memorize, I will share with you some of my favorites. The three portions of the Word that I currently keep reviewed are: Romans 12, Colossians 3, and Philippians 4:4-19. Here are other passages that I have memorized, and I think you would benefit from as well: John 14:1-21, John 15:1-17, James 1, Hebrews 11, Hebrews 12:1-11, 2 Timothy 2:1-15.
I would encourage you to keep an ongoing list of what you memorize. I haven’t done this until recently, and it saddens me that I don’t have a record of all the Scripture I have memorized over the years. I have also begun to keep a list of the Scripture we learn as a family by reciting it after saying grace at our meals.
Once again, I find that I need to bring this Mom’s Corner to an end, and I plan to conclude next month by finally getting to the subject of Bible copying. In addition, I have received a couple of Scripture memory testimonies that I would like to share with you. I want to encourage each of us not only to help our children memorize Scripture but also to make it a priority in our lives as well.