Two punctuation signs painted multicolor
Though not one of my life’s goals, I’d love to eradicate all the misconceptions that hover over memorizing entire books of the Bible. These fallacies either scare people away or cause them to dismiss the possibility of their own involvement.

Memorizing entire books of the Bible:

• is only for brilliant people and those with photographic memories.

• is more difficult than memorizing scattered verses.

• requires a huge time commitment that eliminates most people.

• is only for children, or, it’s not for children.

• is only for lonely, bored women who have a life of leisure.

• is legalistic.

• is a gift, and I don’t have that gift.

• is not necessary today because we have the Bible on our phones.

• is impossible for anyone over 50 because we’ve lost the ability to memorize.

• is a fad and you’ll get over it.

To the community of memorizers, I would like you to take one of these misconceptions and address it from your experience. Feel free to add to this list of ten misconceptions—I’m sure there are more.

12 comments to Misconceptions

  • Brilliant people? 🙂 Oh I would SO like to put myself in that category!!

    The fact that I am NOT brilliant was actually a catalyst to launching into memorizing Romans. I had a tendency to shrink back when “brilliant” people spouted their disagreements with God’s word. I wanted to know God’s purposes and plans in a way that “strengthened my feeble arms and weak knees.” (Heb 12:12) I was so tired of that sense of uncertainty that would come when others expressed their opinions with such conviction. I am, by nature, a flexible person. That’s great. But the weakness in that is adjusting indiscriminately to forces around me rather than intentionally (if that makes any sense!). When I heard teens humming from memory tunes from video games (that they played as little guys), I knew that repetition, not brilliance, would be the key!

    Through memorizing Romans and other portions, I found that God strengthened the foundations of my heart as well as my arms and knees!

    • One of the misconceptions I hear a lot is “That’s your gift.” In all sincerity I want to say, “It is a gift I give myself.” I cannot think of anything I have ever given to myself that even comes close to the gift of God’s Word living in me.

  • Shari B

    Thank you, Janet, for this list. I could probably add another that I think I felt the pressure of–although I didn’t realize it before I started memorizing. And that was, “What if I don’t pick the ‘right passage’ to memorize?” By that I mean thinking that I need to pick passage based on what I think I need. The Lord is teaching me to forget about that pressure–just to pray about it–He leads me to a passage. Camp on that–and it really is true that, “ALL Scripture is inspired by God and PROFITABLE . . .” What a joy to experience that!

  • Lise Anderson Brocious

    I had a young lady tell me once she couldn’t read “that” 200 page book for school because it was too long. I asked her if she could read a 50 page book. She said of course she could. “Then read four 50 page books and you are there.” Scripture memory is the same. I don’t think about memorizing the book of Luke. That is way too big for me. But I can think about memorizing one passage in chapter 1 of the book of Luke. If I do that and then do it over and over again, I will some day be through the book of Luke. And what a rich blessing when I see a fuller picture of what Jesus is teaching through Luke than I would get if I just took scattered verses.

  • Chérie

    I love what Karen said, “Repetition—not brilliance is the key”. If brilliance alone was the key, I’d have to be involved with a very different passion. 🙂 The two I hear the most are, “I don’t have time”, and “I don’t have a good memory”. Both of those reasons don’t fly. They just haven’t realized how many pockets of time they really have where their brain is being filled with TV, iTunes, talk radio, etc…. because their hands are busy, but their mind isn’t. Also, for that 2nd response, I bet they know the words to hundreds of songs?
    The second my hands attack something mindless, whether its my toothbrush, a load of laundry, or the steering wheel of the car, I instantly start reviewing or working on the new verse. You can review one verse in the time it takes to walk from your car to the entrance of wherever you are going. No matter who you are; a stay at home mom, or the CEO of a company—there are pockets of time ripe for redemption for every believer.

  • Sue Bond

    “Requires a huge time commitment.” Well, that is simply not true. I don’t stop everything but breathing to memorize His word. That WOULD require a huge time commitment. 🙂 But in reality memorizing requires no extra time while walking or while working out or while driving or while getting ready in the morning or while lying awake at night. Memorizing requires no extra time at all. I thought it would require more time, but instead, I found it requires more desire and more hunger to know God through His word. I have to make my relationship with and knowledge of Him my priority to keep me memorizing. I don’t need more time, I need more desire.

  • Ginger

    I love the “over 50” one! I am the “myth buster” for it since I am over 50 and am constantly fighting against perimenopausal brain fog! Yet God is faithfully instilling His Word in my mind and heart. Like others have said, if you have the desire and make it a priority, God will provide.

  • Linda

    January 15, 2014
    My name is Linda. I was born with Spastic Cerebral Palsy in 1961. I love memorizing Scripture because when I recite The Scriptures, Heaven’s curtain draws back and I step from Earth to Heaven. I love to hold my 1984 NIV Bible in my hands as I look carefully at the verse I am memorizing. I use an Olympus Digital Voice Recorder to record my verses and play it back for myself as I follow along in my Bible to catch the mistakes I am making. Then I correct myself and try again. I also have just discovered a wonderful website called http://www.scripturetyper.com that works on the computer or as an Ipad app — also for Kindle Fire, Iphone or Android, etc.
    It uses a 3 step method to memorize Scripture – Type It, Memorize it, and Master it. It’s wonderful and it is free. I also love the Scripture Music I found at http://www.singtheword.com
    I believe anyone can memorize Scripture because The Lord Jesus takes control of our mind and our mouth as we memorize — The Lord Jesus gives us all the help we need!!
    Blessings in 2014 Memory Verse Buddies!!

    • Linda, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I admire your perseverance in learning God’s Word. And wow, what a great description you gave “heaven’s curtain draws back and I step from earth to heaven.” Beautiful. I know that many will find courage in your testimony.

  • Richie Malone

    Linda, wow, what an awesome description of stepping from Earth to Heaven when you recite what you have learned! That sticks in my mind and I will visualize the same thing from now on which will draw me closer to the reason I memorize in the first place – to know God better and love him more!
    And I was one who, before trying it for myself, thought that anyone who memorized long passages and books certainly had to be some kind of genius. At least until I met someone who had memorized lots of books but who was completely normal. That gave me the hope I needed to try it for myself. That may be one good reason to recite what we have learned aloud before others when asked. Hearing it from us regular people may give others inspiration to try it too!

  • Josh

    I just finished your book, and love it. You have shown me that it is possible for someone as busy as we are to memorize large portions of Scripture. I have a full-time office job and a lot of work to do at home, so I thought memorization of more than the few isolated verses I memorized naturally through reading was impossible for me. Thank you so much; you’re an inspiration to all of us who want to have God’s Word with us at all times.

    Anyway, as for the topic, being Catholic, I have head even more misconceptions about Scripture memorization in general:

    It’s for Protestants only (tell that to St. Anthony, who memorized the whole Bible!)
    People who memorize verses only remember the ones they can use in arguments and ignore the rest
    We hear the Word at Mass, so it’s not necessary
    It’s Bible worship
    We have the Church to explain doctrine to us, so it’s useless
    It’s a parlor trick that takes away from living out the Gospel

    Other than that, we hear the same misconceptions you hear. My mother, for example, is convinced that she just doesn’t have the talent.

    Our culture is getting more and more anti-Christian; someday it could get so bad that we could all have our Bibles confiscated. That day could come like a thief in the night. “I must work the works of him who sent me whilst it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9:4)

    • Wow, these comments are very insightful and I’m sure many can relate to what you’ve said. Thank you for taking the time to add to the conversation. I love hearing from you.