We want to know

Today’s question is:

What are some of the mechanics of memorizing a book (or long passage) that trip you up?

Here are a couple of examples:
-the similarities of the greetings in Paul’s letters

On Wednesday’s blog I will summarize your responses, offer some suggestions, and then we can all give our tips and solutions that have worked for us.

21 comments to We want to know

  • I would agree that the similarities of wording can drive me crazy; I find my mind skipping to another book, for example, when Paul thanks God for the believers in Philippi, I might jump to Romans where he thanks God for them and back again. Or where he prays for them in one book gets confused with what he prays in another place. It also seems that when I add a new book, all of a sudden what I have already memorized gets a little challenged. I have to kind of steady the books already in my mind as they get a little mixed up. I’m wondering if I spent some time reviewing just the sections that get garbled in each book, intentionally comparing and contrasting them, if that would help. Haven’t really followed through on it yet! Psalm 119 is particularly challenging in getting all the references to Scripture right (law, precepts, word, promises, statutes, decrees, etc.) Sometimes it’s fun to just let my mind wander and come up with whatever comes up. What a Scripture stew that is! It’s fun to see how my mind associates things.

    • Sue Bond

      I know exactly what you mean about Romans and Phillipians. I’ve caught myself starting in Romans and before I know it, I’m reciting about Paul being in chains. 🙂

    • melissa

      I definitely find that when I have intentionally meditated on what is different, it helped and also I learned a lot and saw new things.

  • Lise Anderson Brocious

    Karen’s idea of comparing passages that trip me up has recently helped me. In working on Luke I find many passages where Jesus is speaking to the crowds or instructing His disciples or performing miracles that are very similar to other passages in other chapters that I have memorized. It has helped to take the similar passages and compare them and then think about why God has used different but somewhat similar words. Doing this has not only helped me to remember the passage better but has also given me some new insight into each of the passages being studied. God used different words for a reason and it helps to think about that in the context not only of the chapter but also of the book.

  • Richie

    Definitely Paul’s greetings are a challenge to keep straight. In 1 Peter there are lots of similar phrases that send me to other chapters within the book, and I am usually pretty far along before I even realize I have skipped around. Like Karen’s reference to “scripture stew”! Here’s another specific challenge in Jonah: lots of quotes in the story prefaced by “he said, he answered, he replied, God said, The Lord replied, etc”. Hard to keep those straight. Just a few of my many points of confusion!

  • Rebecca

    Connectors: is it “and” or “or” or “therefore” or “because” or “for”, etc. BUT these are all so important to the meaning, and so they are very much worth the extra effort to get it right. I try to somehow make a connection to the previous word. And if I get stuck, not to let it stop me, just keep going in the passage and come back later to refine.

    You all are so encouraging…..keep up the good work!!!

  • Barbara A.

    I have trouble with connecting words: And, But, However, Therefore, Because, etc, etc. If I take some time to consider the meaning of the sentences, and why the author would use the particular connector, that helps to clarify and solidify the passage. Another thing that often helps me is good ol’ Strongs Concordance! Sometimes, just considering the original meaning of particular words helps me understand what the author was meaning to convey.

  • Paulette

    Thank you for today’s post. I am new to memorizing SO all of the suggestions help. I am working through my first book, COLOSSIANS, and loving it. Thank you to everyone for the encouragement to keep MEMORIZING.

    Happy Monday EVERYONE!!!

  • Sue Bond

    Lists! For instance, in Romans 12, I literally wrote it out in list form and had to find tricks to remember what comes next as there often isn’t any other way. In vs. 12-13 (ESV) “contribute” follows “constant” and in vs 16 “haughty” follows “harmony”.
    And then, as we all know, the more it’s repeated, the more it will flow easily without having to think so hard but the beginning can be tough.

    • melissa

      Lists…yes. SAy in Gal 5 or James 3:17
      I find that if I am reciting it quick in autopilot I can get it but if I slow down, there’s no way to recite it. It’s years since I first memorized those so I don’t know if it would be different if I’d done it different in the beginning stage. I am beginning to think that the beginning stage is so key. I memorized 1 john over 10 years ago and I still trip up in the same spots that I suspect gave me trouble in the beginning. So now, I don’t go on to a new verse in the memorizing stage unless I’m sure I have it even if that means staying on one verse for 3 days. Otherwise I trip up on it for years after.

  • I agree with Lise and Karen above that similar opening addresses and closing salutations in the epistles especially, can be difficult and thinking through the writers purpose and audience can help. I’ve memorized the epistles Phillippians, Colossians, Ephesians, and Titus and find it difficult to keep them right. However, since I memorized them far apart in time it has helped me. Also, since I memorize when I run, I have a memory of where I was when I memorized them and it somehow helps me.
    What seems to trip me up even more are lists. Sometimes I can observe of a logical progression (2 Peter 2) like lesser to greater, general to specific, group them into actions, verses attitudes (I Cor. 13) or even similar categories like courage and war (Hebrews 11:34) , alphabetical order. Sometimes, though I make up a logical progression that may not be consistent with the thought of the author; for instance in Ecclesiastes 3 there is a long list which was and is hard to keep straight, so I think of “search then give up as lost then you find it but have to decide if you are going to “keep /throw away,” . Or I might do some kind of action like putting my hand up to my eyes like I’m searching then pick some think up throw it away then tear and sew back together. It is kind of funny, but sometimes it helps me. Another sample of a progression is 2 Peter 1:5-7. It seems like you can tie moral excellence to knowledge to self control and needing perseverance in self control and godliness etc. It makes sense to think of needing each following the other, but I have to be careful to study to make sure my thoughts on the progression don’t get elevated to what the author intended. I’m so thankful that this forum is available for me. I didn’t know about there being anyone else out there who memorized large passages on a consistent basis. I praise God. I love your book Janet, and your focus on using memorization to know Christ. I also appreciate your tips on using normal daily mundane activities to memorize and review!! As a mother of young children my hours of running while I memorize are long gone and I’m so excited that I can continue in different ways. It also is encouraging to me, as a pastor’s wife, since I can encourage ladies in my church, that they can use memory work as a way to worship God throughout the day, without changing their schedule. Thank you!!!

  • Chérie

    Don’t ya just love how you are reciting along in Colossians, while making lunches or vacuuming and OOOPS… you just morphed into Ephesians because of one word or one phrase that the author uses a lot.
    Paul…can we talk?
    I’ve said it before, but finding a cadence for each verse is my key to success, so I learned to change things up. It’s not 100 % effective, but much more than without the change. Whatever word or phrase is the easy off ramp, I purposefully and exaggeratedly say it differently. Example: I had this problem recently with the words “ever since”, so I added a long pause after “ever”, attaching “since” to the next few words as if they were one phrase. “Ever…..(pause)…………………… since I heard about”…
    Since it sounds odd, it alerts my brain that this is one of those easy off ramps and to pay attention. I’m interested in Lise’s comment because I thought that same thing when I first began thinking about today’s question. Scripture was penned by the Holy Spirit, (2 Peter 1:20-21)so the next time I come upon an easy off-ramp, I might think about it awhile before I make my memory solution.
    There are so many prepositions in our language. For memorizing, I have sometimes used them to my advantage by emphatically emphasizing certain ones (ya sorry, that near alliteration was too good to pass up). It’s worked ok so far.
    Looking forward to hearing everyone’s tips and tricks! These 2 issues are inevitable for mega-memorizers, and what a PRIVILEGE and BLESSING to get to share our ideas together. (1 Peter 4:10-11)

    • melissa

      Yes. Yes. Ephesians and Colossians. I get frustrated with myself and then try and remember isn’t it good that my mind is cross referencing itself! A couple years ago when talking to Janet she mentioned she probabaly wouldn’t do Col as well as Eph but I so wanted to so I did it anyway and oh my the similarities but I so love both. But it is still hard. But I recently figured out in Col 1 that when the “head of the body, the church” comes up which is so similar to Eph 5 “head of the church, the body” that in Col, Paul is emphasizing a list of a whole bunch of things that point to Christ being head above; example after example. But in Ephesians 5, he is focusing on one imagery; the body. So body is the last word in the ephesians 5 phrase that is tripping me up.

  • Rosie

    Great suggestions! If I am reciting a passage out loud and come to the name of God, Christ, Holy Spirit, etc. I always pause briefly and say, the name with reverence, rather than running by it just like any other word in the passage. It not only gives respect to our Lord, where it belongs, but helps my memorizing.

    • Sue Bond

      LOVE this Rosie! I need more reverence in my memorization and recitation and I am going to incorporate this starting today! Thank you for the reminder that His name is HOLY!

  • melissa

    when there is a same phrase…sometimes even if it’s just 2 words the same. I will find myself in Romans 8 when I’m in Galatians 4. John 1 and 1 Peter 1 quote Isaiah 40 which I also have memorized. Jn 2:13, 6:4; 11:55 are so close in construction. The only way I have around this is I have to write out the verses one on top the other and then line up the words that are the same so that I see this in my mind for these verses instead of the verse by itself in the passage
    Jn 2:13 The passover of the jews was at hand and Jesus
    6:4 Now the passover the feast of the jews was at hand

  • melissa

    My example didn’t work above. I had it spaced with the first line of the jews lining up over top second line

  • Holly Steadman

    I just need to say: THIS all encourages me so much!!! To hear stories and frustrations (born of goodly desire) and JOYS that match my own. Wouldn’t it be great to have a mid-country meet-up and quote the Word to each other and over one another?
    Spur one another on to love and good [memory] in the Name of our Lord Jesus.
    Just sayin’.
    We would need at least a 1-ALL-DAY affair.