There have been a lot of questions about the current referral system at Memverse. We have been remiss in explaining both the motivation behind it and the recent changes we have made.
First, we'd like to explain the context. As many of you have no doubt experienced, memorizing the Bible is hard. It requires sustained discipline over a long period of time and the benefits tend to accrue slowly. Consequently, attrition is very high. Well over 90% of people who sign up are no longer active a few months later. We have spent a lot of time trying to make the site more intuitive and easier to use and we will continue to do so. The reality, though, is that "life's worries, riches and pleasures" frequently intrude and users disappear. The valleys in my own consistency chart could be annotated with life events like new babies, moving house, and sometimes just sheer laziness.
When we started Memverse we spent a lot of money advertising the site to attract new users. It cost roughly $10 for each new user. It soon became clear that it would be prohibitively expensive to continue advertising since we had committed to the site remaining both free to use and largely free of advertising (apart from a token ad slot on the blog). Part of the problem was that it was very difficult to target advertising to people who are likely to use Memverse over an extended period of time.
This was the genesis of the referral system: who better than our existing users would know whom to tell about Memverse. We coupled the referral system to the level progression since any such system requires some element of 'reward'. The usual method is to offer a subscription discount, but since we don't charge users, that wasn't possible.
Four months ago, in response to the dissatisfaction that many had expressed, we changed the way referrals are counted. Whereas before no credit was given for inactive referrals, we now give 50% credit. 25% credit was also given for 'referrals of referrals'. We never got round to announcing these changes which unfortunately perpetuated the perception that we were unresponsive on this issue. Sorry about that.
Second, we can assure you that the referral system is essential to Memverse's ongoing existence. Users referred by existing users are far more likely to persist in memorizing. Our hope was that people would be creative in finding ways to spread the word. That was indeed frequently the case and it has been great to see the influx of new users from mini campaigns on social websites and blogs. Advocate marketing can be powerful but we have learned that it is not for everyone.
So what is the path forward? Over time we will likely continue to make the referral system less of an obstacle to level progression as we observe the effects of the change earlier this year. We might also add a page which will allow users to make a financial donation and skip over the referral quests. To be honest, though, we would prefer to work on features that benefit all users.
Finally, growing the number of users is not merely for our own vanity. There are many features (live quizzes is one example) that are only possible at a certain scale. Thanks to all of you who have helped spread the word. Thanks also for all the praise and encouragement -- it more than cancels out the occasional disparaging comments. We have come a long way on a shoestring budget but we still have a lot to do.
In many ways 2013 was a year of change for me. Professionally, most of these changes were good as my part-time job became a full-time position shortly after I graduated from high school in 2012. Unfortunately, this also meant I had much less free time to devote to Scripture memorization and other spiritual disciplines, and I struggled to make good use of what free time I did have. I never completely gave up on my memory work, but by the holidays many of my most cherished passages of Scripture were starting to fade from memory.
Although I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions, I resolved to make 2014 a year of recommitment to both Scripture memorization and my walk with God as a whole. I didn’t want to be like the man in Proverbs 12:27 who wasted the venison he took in hunting by neglecting to maintain my many hard-learned verses in memory. I had put in too many hours of hard work to let it all go to waste.
I had just purchased a new iPod, and decided that recording all of my memory verses individually and listening to them during my daily commute would be a simple enough way to get back into Scripture memorization. By adding these verses to a separate playlist and tapping “Shuffle”, I was able to effortlessly review 200+ verses on my way to work each morning. I even figured out a way to use the Bluetooth headset I typically wear while driving to listen to verse after verse while shopping or running other errands.
Of course Memverse continued to be an invaluable part of my memory work, and I resumed using it on a daily basis. I took accuracy and reference recall tests for the first time in months, even though I knew it would likely result in a decrease in my scoring, and used the chapter review feature to reacquaint myself with Isaiah 53 and John 17 – two of my favorite chapters, but ones that I was no longer able to recite verbatim.
Interestingly enough, I discovered that it’s much easier to relearn verses you once knew than it was to learn them in the first place; in only a few weeks I felt confident enough to start quoting most of my complete chapters again, and my overall accuracy was back to where it needed to be.
I also started learning new verses for the first time in months, and found that this made it much easier to stay motivated in my memory work as a whole. As someone who is very goal-oriented, starting work on a new chapter or selection of verses gives me a specific objective to focus on and helps keep me going. As important as review is, I find reciting from the same set of verses day after day to be tiresome and unexciting unless I'm mixing in something new as well.
What about you? How do you stay motivated to continue memorizing Scripture, even when you don't necessarily feel like doing it? Is there a specific routine that works well for you, and if so how do you avoid becoming burnt out through repetition? I'd especially love to hear from any readers who may have, like me, taken an unintentional hiatus from memorizing - even if you haven't yet fully restarted.
As you plan the new year, we have a guest post to share with you from Bethany Meckle. We hope you all have a blessed Christmas and enter 2014 with even stronger hope in things not seen, but nevertheless real (Hebrews 11:1)!
The 2014 Bible Challenge is a two part schedule - Part One is a reading plan (read through the New Testament) and Part Two is a memorizing plan (memorize the Sermon on the Mount). You can join Part One, Part Two, or both if you'd like!
The challenge begins January 1st and ends May 31st. The beginning of the year is a good time to get back into the Word if you've slacked off over the year (like I tend to do), or even if you've been going strong all year. I also timed it so that the challenge ends the day before the 2014 Bible Bee studies begins, so it won't conflict with that for any of you who are in the Bee.
If you decide not to join the challenge, please share this anyway with anyone that you think would be interested. The more people the better!
After you sign up below, you should be able to access the Reading and Memory schedules on the confirmation page. (If not, just leave a comment and I'll get them to you.)
The short version: Memverse will be hosting fun, live Bible quizzes twice a week:
- Wednesday at 9am (Pacific) / 12pm (Eastern)
- Saturday at 3pm (Pacific) / 6pm (Eastern)
Go to the Live Quiz page a few minutes before to participate.
Over the past few years we have hosted live quizzes on the material being covered for the annual Bible Bee. I know the contestants have enjoyed the quizzes and so we thought we would extend the fun to the entire Memverse community.
Each Wednesday we will host a short quiz of 25 questions covering general Bible knowledge. While there are many quizzes available on the web, we think there is room for a live, joyfully competitive quiz. All the questions will be multiple choice and will range from exceptionally easy to wickedly difficult. The quizzes will last about 15 minutes.
Everyone is welcome to join. Feel free to invite friends to participate. This is a great activity for the whole family.
quizzes, Bible quiz
Many of us avoided every doing the accuracy test because, to be honest, it was incredibly difficult. It also took a long time to complete which made it difficult to work into one's regular sessions. The new test allows for any number of questions and your score will update continuously as you take the quiz.
It also uses a slightly better algorithm for flagging mistakes you made. The maximum score for any question is 10 points. The test will still point out differences in punctuation and capitalization but won't deduct points.
We really encourage everyone to use the accuracy test frequently. If you find that your scores on the test are very low, then you are probably grading yourself too leniently when you're doing your daily review sessions. We are, though, leaving it up to each user to decide how thoroughly and accurately they would like to know each verse. We recommend setting yourself a target accuracy and adjusting your verse rating over time.
As always, feedback is welcome in the comments or on the Feedback Forum (black tab on the right).
accuracy test, memory verses
We have made some changes to the reference review page. Years ago, it was added as an afterthought but we've since learned that memorizing verse references is key to being able to memorize verses.
Many of you will discover that you have a LOT of references to review. We recommend just doing a few each day until the number becomes manageable. Each memory verse now has an associated interval which will increase/decrease as you review your references. As you review your references each day, you'll find that the number will decrease fairly quickly. If you're feeling overwhelmed, there is a setting on your profile page called "Test All References"; uncheck that box and Memverse will only review the reference of the first verse of each passage.
For those of you working towards a consistency badge, you don't need to complete all your references each day. Incidentally, you can now check your consistency on your progress page. (There is a new graph below the regular progress chart.)
We also recently upgraded Memverse's entire framework and moved to a new server. The new server is faster and, with all the components of the website upgraded, we can focus on improving the rest of Memverse again.
verse references, memory verses
We're happy to announce that the practice exams for this year's Bee are available one day earlier than they were last year, which means, today! Cheers to Matthew Minica and the three volunteer teams who created each of these tests. Please help spread the word to your Bible Bee friends!
|Primary||Test: PDF||Answers: PDF|
|Junior||Test: PDF||Answers: PDF|
|Senior||Test: PDF||Answers: PDF|
Please note that these practice tests were created by volunteers and are in no way endorsed by the Shelby Kennedy Foundation, which hosts the National Bible Bee.
Bible Bee, practice tests
Would you like to join fellow Bible Bee students around the country for some practice competition and online encouragement? Bible Bee quizzes are back this summer (see below for full schedule and links to each quiz).
What to expect: You will have verses to recite in your own version (whatever you have chosen in your Account -> Profile), multiple choice questions based on 1 John (like the Written Test), and a few reference questions (where we give the text and you give the reference).
You don't even have to be registered for the Bible Bee to come to the quiz. Just practice material through the current week and you'll be ready!
Before each quiz, you'll probably want to get setup about 15 minutes early to make sure everything is working for you.
Hope to see you!
Update: Everyone, please make sure that your profile (click here) has your version set as KJV, NKJV, NASB, or ESV 2011 (NOT ESV 2007), or some questions will not work. Thanks.
Update 2: If you would like to see more quizzes on Memverse, consider submitting a quiz question or three (or more!) via this form. Thanks to everyone who already has. I will tell you if there are too many, but right now you should feel free to keep going :)
Remaining 2013 Quizzes:
- Friday, August 23, at 4:00 p.m. EDT. Finale Quiz! Click here to join!
Well, sometimes things just take a little longer than one expects. In this case, about two years longer!
A feature that has been sorely lacking in Memverse is the ability to memorize verses in the context of their containing passage. After many months of experimentation, we have released an early version of this new feature: Passage Review
Since this involved a significant number of changes to the software, it is likely that there are still kinks to be ironed out. We recommend waiting a week or so before you jump in and start using it.
memory verses, memory passages
Several years ago, I had picked a key verse for every chapter of the New Testament. This year, I am picking a key verse for every chapter of the Old Testament. GENESIS is done as you can see below. I would love ideas for what you think should be key verses for any of the chapters in the other books.
For those who want to memorize these key verses, we are starting an accountability chart. Every 10 verses equals 1 letter. Since there are more than 260 chapters in the OT, we will have a creative variation on the accountability chart for those who make it through Z the first time. To declare, give your first name, the first initial of your last name, the state or country you are from, and either the 10 references of the verses you memorized or a description.
I will be writing out a devotional for each of these key verses. These will be listed on the Memverse Forum. Anyone who would like to receive the daily verse with the devotional can request it by email to email@example.com
Which of the Genesis verses below have you found to be worth memorizing? Which do you already know?
We would love to list all participants as an encouragement and inspiration to others. We would also love to list all groups memorizing together.
2013 HAKOTS participants: = Angela M; Anita; Connie McLean; Daniel; Idaman; Jacky Walker; Karen F; Lee C; Lewi; Matthew Glick; Phil Walker; PrayerWarrior13; SavedByGrace = 13 people
Groups memorizing together: Walkers (Phil, Jacky, Junior), Idaman, Daniel, and Lewi memorizing in the 1984 NIV at the STT Setia campus in West Jakarta, Indonesia
Accountability Chart: Those who wish can join our chart where we will list the first name, first initial of the last name, state (or country), and progress. The first 260 verses convenently breaks down into 26 groups of 10 verses each to be declared. Verses don't have to declared in order. A sample declaration would be Zach J NY Genesis 1-10. On the chart, we will not go faster than a one verse per day pace. However, you can declare whenever you want.
Angela M OH A B
Lee C NH A
Karen F WI A B C D
Matthew G OH A B
I recommend memorizing this list of verses for Bible Bee enthusiasts, SavedbyGrace's "entire Bible" group, and any others who want a good overall grasp of the Old Testament. Others may simply want a collection of 929 powerful treasures. Please let us know if you are joining, if you have family or friends memorizing with you, and if you have any tips or ideas to encourage or support others in the group. I will be using the Memverse Forum to post my daily email devotionals I send out based on these verses. I look forward to any feedback, insights, or thoughts you have as we interact with the daily Scripture and each other’s thoughts.
GENESIS 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Churches and Groups
memory verses, old testament
Jeremy Walker at Reformation 21 has a very thoughtful blog post on the importance of Bible memorization. His key point is that:
One of the consequences of the internet-trained brain seems to be an inability to hide very much - not much of the Word of God, to be sure - in our hearts. That results in a crippling weakness in the battle for godliness.
If we are to be holy we need to hide the word in our hearts, and that means a deliberate commitment to memorisation and meditation. It means a refusal to allow our brains to be trained by the world, a resistance to the laziness that the interweb can breed in our all-too-susceptible minds; it means a commitment to holiness that is willing to re-train and develop the faculties of our hearts contrary to the trend and tendency of the age in which we live, and to make sure that we pack into the armoury that array of weaponry necessary for the constant fight against ungodliness, temptations within and without.
It's definitely worth taking the time to read the whole post.
We have made some adjustments to the main menu to reflect the new emphasis on a staged approach to memorizing.
The old 'Memorize' tab has been renamed 'Review'. It contains the links to the usual daily review of the memory verses you already 'know'.
The 'Learn' section contains tools relating to getting a memory verse stuck in your head initially.
We've also made a few improvements to the new 'Learn' tool (cunningly arranged under the 'Learn' menu). If you get stuck on a word you can now press the down arrow and the word will be temporarily revealed. Some of the other problems that people encountered should also be cleaned up.
Finally, a reminder: if you find a verse with an error, the best way to let us know is to navigate to your memory verse on the 'Home --> My Verses' page, find the offending verse, and click on the 'Verified' label in the final column. This will report the error and usually results in the verse being corrected within a day or two.
menu, learn, memory verses, getting started
First, welcome to all the new members who were referred from Challies.com. We had 20x the usual number of signups yesterday. Great to see so many new people and looking forward to getting to know you all.
Today we want to foreshadow some upcoming changes on Memverse. We started Memverse with two motivating ideas: 1) making it simple to keep track of and review one's memory verses online and 2) using the Supermemo algorithm to efficiently retain a large number of memory verses.
Over the past three years it has become clear that there was a gap in the functionality. It is difficult to learn a new verse without an intensive period of repetition at the start. To solve this we have been working on a new feature which will allow you to get a verse 'stuck' in your head before you start the period of review. It is still a work in progress but you can try it out. It will likely evolve over the next few weeks so feedback in the comments is welcome.
Our plan is to build this page into the 'flow' of the website. More details on that in a future post.
learn, memory verses
Have you ever found it difficult to keep straight the main themes of the various books of the Bible? While many can outline the key arguments of Romans, few could summarize Hosea. That is why it is helpful to memorize a key verse or two of the lesser-known books. I'll use Hosea to illustrate.
Hosea is a difficult book to outline but it can be divided into two parts. The first three chapters describe an adulterous wife and a faithful husband, symbolic of the unfaithfulness of Israel to God through idolatry. The remainder of the book expands on this allegory through a series of prophetic messages and concludes with a promise of restoration.
Memorizing some of the key verses of Hosea can capture the main theme. If I had to pick only one I would probably choose Hosea 1:2 as it contains the symbolism on which the first section is based.
When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord.”
There are a few other key verses to memorize in this book. Hosea 2:23 foreshadows the grafting into the tree of the Gentiles:
I will plant her for myself in the land;I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’;and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”
Assyria cannot save us;we will not mount war-horses.We will never again say ‘Our gods’to what our own hands have made,for in you the fatherless find compassion.”
Hosea, minor prophets, key memory verses
At 4pm (EDT) today (Friday, August 24th, 2012) we will be holding the final online quiz before the local Bible Bees. We would like to encourage as many of you as possible to join. There is no need to be entered in the Bible Bee. There is no need to be young. If you're young at heart and love the Bible, join us.
The entire quiz will be multiple choice and, as far as I know, will predominantly cover 2 Timothy. To be clear, you don't need to have memorized any part of 2 Timothy to join the quiz.
So why you should you join? Five reasons:
- You will have an opportunity to wish the younger Memversers well as they head in to the local competitions as they attempt to qualify for the national finals.
- You will be motivated to get to know your Bible better. I've joined the occasional quiz and can assure you that you will be astounded at the depth of knowledge on display.
- Participating will restore your faith in 'the youth of today'.
- You will probably want to read 2 Timothy before the quiz and that alone is worth it.
- It's a whole lot of fun!
We hope in the future to make the weekly quizzes a fun activity for everyone. Consider this a trial run and join us.
Note: this is a live, online event. Click here a few minutes before the event starts to enter the quiz 'room'.
quizzes, Bible Bee, 2 Timothy