I will admit that I find it VERY difficult to memorize anything. Numbers are the worst for me…I can’t remember phone numbers and even when I look them up in the phone book, I have to stop mid-dial to make sure I’ve read the right number. I write everything down on my calendar to remember appointments and birthdays and I leave notes for myself everywhere. One spiritual discipline that I struggle the most with is memorizing scripture but I continue to make an honest effort.
I think about memorizing scripture like savouring a sumptuous four course meal. Using Jeremiah 15:16 as the example, think of the location of the passage as the appetizer, Jeremiah 15:16. If you can’t remember the passage in its entirety, you can at least look it up in the Bible if you know the location of the passage.
The second “course” is likened to the soup or salad before the main entrée is served. Break the verse up into little bite-sized pieces. I like to write them down to help me:
“When your words came,
I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name,
Lord God Almighty.”
Memorize each “chunk” of the passage and move onto the next piece when you think you’ve memorized the one before it.
The third “course” is the main entrée. Try to say/write down the entire passage. “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.”
Now the dessert: add the location at the end of the passage. (Some like to say the location passage at the beginning AND end.) (Oh… and a grammar tip: if you have trouble figuring out if it’s “desert” or “dessert”, think about dessert as double the sugar in the middle of the word!)
“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16
Now that you have digested the passage, it’s important that you continue to eat and savour the Word again and again. Memorization is like exercise. The more you do it, the easier it gets; the less you do the harder it gets. I return to the main course whenever I’m hungry, and as is always the case, it requires a good workout afterwards to burn off some of those spiritual calories!