Tips for Memorizing Scripture

I took the task of memorizing 100 verses (2,237 words) for our Good Friday gatherings using only scripture to tell the story of the Creator to the Cross.

Here’s what I learned about memorizing:

1. Write it down. Writing it out by hand was perhaps the best thing I did. I would speak it out loud as I wrote it. I usually took about a paragraph long chunk at a time, usually 3-5 verses.

2. Use mnemonics. An example of mnemonics is HOMES for the Great Lakes. I used the first letter of the lists of sins in Galatians 5 and Romans 1 to remember them. They didn’t make a neat name like HOMES, but just writing down the first letter helped.

3. Picture it. Use a memory palace, see it, imagine it, know the story. Memory is all about visualization. Use your childhood home and walk through your home placing memorable scenes at various places in your house. Imagine the scenes you are describing. Enter into the story you are telling. The more you “see” it the better you will remember it.

4. Practice making a mistake. As I would practice and miss something, I would stop and correct it. But then once I pretty much had it down I stopped correcting my mistakes and started practicing working through them. I knew I couldn’t start over or go back if I messed up on Good Friday, so I started training myself to keep going or cover the mistake another way. At each of the Good Friday services I made one small mistake and this practice helped.

5. Work hard. Nothing substitutes hard work and lots of practice. I estimate it took me about 8 hours to memorize (though I suggest doing the work over the course of a few days or so).

Here is the text I memorized.