Inspiration drives many of us to memorize Scripture, but equally important, the practical aspects need to be in place, so that we keep at it for the long haul.

With jam-packed lives, running from one event to the next, how do we keep room in our schedules for memorizing and reviewing? I saw an illustration this morning.

I live in a neighborhood filled with townhouses, apartments, and patio homes with no backyards. Because of this, hundreds of dog-owners all show up at the neighborhood park to walk their dogs at various times of the day.

These dog-walkers multi-task. While exercising their dog, they exercise themselves, drink coffee, talk on the phone, walk with a friend, push the baby stroller, jog, listen to Ted-talks on I-pods, train for marathons, and who knows what else. Their valuable and limited time gets maximized by combining 2 or more things.

Thankful not to be a dog-owner (that’s another blog), I too multi-task while on my early morning walk. Over a 2-mile stretch, I memorize Scripture, meditate on that Scripture, and pray through my day. Thirty minutes of exercise for the body and the soul accomplished at the same time. I would consider it wasted time if I had to do each separately.

When I speak to groups about Scripture memory, I tell them, “Your greatest probability of success in Scripture memory will be if you can learn to incorporate Scripture memory into things you’re already doing: getting ready in the morning, exercising, household chores, cooking dinner, driving, waiting…” “And your greatest probability of failure will be if you try to add Scripture memory to an already packed schedule.” “For most of us, there are no more time slots in our day.”

Many repetitive tasks don’t require thinking so you can memorize at the same time. And when you become accustomed to the same connected tasks it becomes a habit to do the two together. For example, I can’t take a shower without reviewing Scripture. As soon as I turn the water on, my brain asks, “which Scripture?”

My heart hurts when people say to me, “I used to memorize Scripture but then I got too busy.” Or, “I memorized James but I didn’t review.” I want to say, “Did you stop showering? Did you stop exercising? Did you stop driving?”

Saying one verse takes about ten seconds of time—ten seconds! Saying an entire chapter takes 2-3 minutes, not 2-3 hours. Reviewing an entire book can take 15-20 minutes. That’s less time than one round trip to Home Depot.

We have time to memorize God’s Word—we just need to utilize that time more efficiently.

I would love to hear your advice, tips, suggestions and encouragements for busy people who also want to memorize God’s Word.

9 comments to Multi-Tasking

  • Chérie

    Must I comment on scripture memory ahead of ribbing Janet for her quip about dogs? HAHA. I totally get it. They’re a lot of work. They turn ANY house into white-trash-land because of hair, toys, and the whole “wet dog” smell, but along with scripture memorization, my golden retrievers have saved me from the darkest of days with an adopted kiddo who was exposed in-utero to drugs & alcohol, severely neglected and has been diagnosed with RAD. My beautiful “Golden Girls” are there when I sometimes cry through another day and they will sit at my feet as I recite all my Psalms in a moment when I just can’t take it anymore because my son threw something at my head during a violent tantrum.
    On to multi-tasking…..Its almost 6 years now that I’ve been memorizing. At the time I started, I was homeschooling both of my adopted kiddos, substitute teaching at the homeschool co-op, teaching AWANA, and desperately trying to get someone in the medical field to (PLEASE For Crying Out Loud) figure out what we could do about my youngest and his nightmare behavior. Yet when I finished Ephesians 3, simply by working it at night while washing dishes and preparing lunches for the next day, I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. I would stare at the chapter in my 25 year old NIV84, and think…..”holy cow…this is etched in my brain….” Next was Romans 8. Again—evenings in the kitchen, however I added working my chapter while driving. I remember taping my printed out chapter of Colossians 1 to the ironing board before my older sons audition for a talent show. On and on until 60 chapters later, I cannot stand doing any mindless activity whatsoever without working the chapter I’m on and reviewing previous ones. 
    I have thought many times that if people only memorized while DRIVING—they would STILL memorize a chapter in no time. Do y’all realize how much time we spend behind the wheel each day? 
    If you thought you could never in a million years memorize large portions of scripture, I double-dog-dare you to try it JUST while driving. Write it out, type it and print it out, put it on your phone… Whatever you need to do…but just try it. You will NEVER regret it. 

  • Janet, I completely agree with you. I have been memorizing for 24 years now, and I used to use my breaks at work and walk and memorize. It was only 2 10 minute breaks and I was able to memorize Romans 8 during that rich “POWER WALK” 🙂 Refreshed body and soul, I was able to go back to my desk with joy and focus. Then I started adding my walks to my lunch Bible Study spot. That added another 10 minutes. Years later, I started running, and that was much more productive using larger chunks of time and passages. I took my scripture, (photocopied from my Bible), and put in page protector books and walked with it. As children came into my life, I found a lot less mental time, but soon started to use their routine to add Scripture into their life. Like when they went to bed, had dinner, car time, and the like. So glad though, when a friend shared with me about you!!! And since reading your book, Janet, I was opened up to the idea of using more chunks of my day. Since the solitude and mental focus of being out and running worked so well for me, I had never thought about using my morning routine, etc. I also hadn’t really organized or counted up all I had memorized, for fear of it feeding my pride. I would just review based on what I needed spiritually for that day, or what was the most recent. Yet, after your book, I saw that I was not being as good of a steward of the treasure that I had been collecting. Now, I’m reviewing more systematically and am able to retain more. I rejoice, with the joy of knowing that you are all out there “making the most of your time because the days are evil”.

  • Vickie McKnight

    Janet, I have to agree with Cherie…my dog Khloe Joy probably knows as many scriptures as I do now…she is by my side daily as I recite my verses…Its like she’s thinkin’ “Here she goes again” lol Now I have extra time during my day to memorize and meditate, but this summer I won’t have as much extra time to “Soak in the Word” with grandkids being out of school and vacations coming up, etc., so I will be using your “tips” on memorizing as you are doing other things…I know the girls in my group who work out of the home have been and we are all thankful Janet for your inspiration for memorizing and meditating and “Soaking in the Word”…can you tell what chapter we are on???

  • Good post and comments but I would just like to say most people make time for what is important to them. It has to be important enough to you to want to know God better to spend enough time with His Word to commit portions of it to memory. I do review when driving and exercising but I must give scripture my full attention when I’m working on a new portion. I don’t multitask well, not saying that anyone else is like me, just that if God is telling you He wants you to do this, take whatever time you need, it will be well spent!

    • You’re right Vickie, but somehow I think if people knew that memorizing fits into busy lives they would be less reluctant to give it a try. I have another friend who does not multi-task well but she definitely makes time for Scripture memory. To me, there’s just no downside to it. At the final trumpet, will we wish we’d spent less time in God’s Word? No way, we’ll all wish we’d given it the priority it deserves.

  • Mark Zinke

    I think I get double the value for my time now. I carry out the things we all do: dressing, eating, walking, driving, etc… And while I’m at this I also memorize new bible and recall bible I already know. This makes me happier, more confident and more able to deal with life as it may come. I’m quite sure this practice (reciting scripture) has kept me out of a lot of troublesome adventures my wondering mind likes to walk me into. In Psalm 119 it says “if your word had not been my delight I would have perished in my affliction.” That’s so my story.
    Cherie, driving is my most consistent and productive time learning and recalling Bible. I get in my truck and say Psalm 25, then either move into my new book (currently Romans – starting chapter 5) or I review some other book I know. When I catch myself in some negative or otherwise empty thought I say Psalm 25 and Isaiah 46:10. I think Bible all day. Psalm 25 and Isaiah 46:9-10 have become my mental response to everything.
    Peace, Mark Z

    • wow Mark, I loved reading all this. I agree at every point. Our minds are the seed of our actions so we want to think biblically so that we can live biblically.