A Monthly Memverse Newsletter
We had always hoped to find time to write a monthly newsletter which would cover new developments on Memverse, scripture memorization tips, and encouragement to keep going when the world calls. As it turns out, adding new features to the website, fixing bugs, and keeping up with our own memorizing has meant that the last newsletter was almost a year ago. Fortunately, Phil Walker has kindly volunteered to write one for us. We might still send out an occasional newsletter (don't hold your breath) but we recommend that you subscribe to Phil's. I know many people have been blessed by his encouragement in the past.
It's easy to sign up. Just enter your email address into the box below and click 'subscribe'. There is also a subscription link on the Contact page.
Spread the Word about Memverse
Hi. Do you have friends or family who would love to memorize Scripture on memverse or possibly even with you if they were invited? Can you think of a group of people who would be thrilled to use memverse if they only heard about it and saw how well it works?
The first time Andy told me about memverse, I was distracted with other things and never really gave memverse a try. Then 7 months later this past November, someone I don't know who joined our "Memorize 1st Timothy" group told me how much she loved memverse and how it really helped her memorize. I decided to give memverse a 2nd look and the rest is history! Lord willing, I expect to be involved with memverse more and more each day until He calls me home. Never underestimate the potential value of spreading the word or a single testimony. As we are experiencing a little dip in memverse members, I would like to call those of you who love it to consider spreading the word and inviting others. Maybe you can even dream and pray about entire groups to join memverse.
One of my main burdens is to see memverse and God's Word come alive on the college campuses. Right now we have 0 colleges listed. I would love to see hundreds, with thousands of verses associated with each one as students in the prime of their intellectual curiosity and idealistic passion interact with the truth most worth discussing, thinking, and dreaming about!! Do you know a college student who you can inspire, encourage, and/or equip to memorize Scripture and possibly join us on memverse?
Another burden I have is for missionary families. Having grown up on the mission field in Indonesia, I saw a lot of authentic Christian faith happening all around me. I also had a respect for the Bible. However, I never was encouraged to memorize much. I would love to see missionary families around the world get invited to use memverse both as a family tool and posssibly even as an outreach tool with the people they are working with. Do you know of missionaries who have not yet heard of memverse?
What people group has God given you a burden for that I can join you in praying for and dreaming about reaching?
Memverse experienced a significant outage starting shortly after midnight. This was the message from the Dreamhost data center in Los Angeles:
We’re very sorry about the inconvenience this is causing, but we are experiencing some network issues with some servers in our LAX data center. This is causing downtime for Private Servers and MySQL. Our network engineer is on site and we hope to have this issue resolved as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, it lasted much longer than anticipated. After spending some time with their support staff they let us know that they have also been having widespread problems with the stability of their servers. Some of you have occasionally reported errors cropping up and I suspect that those might be related.
Thanks to everyone who has reported bugs and problems with the website. It has been very helpful as some of the problems were not even showing up in the usual error log files. We continue to work on the stability of the website and hope to minimize these type of outages as much as possible.
Getting to Know You: Introduce Yourself
Hi. My name is Phil Walker. I teach math and Bible and coach basketball, volleyball, and Bible Bowl at Hannibal Christian Academy in Hannibal, MO. For the past 20 years my main passion and life calling has been Scripture memory: discovering, interacting with, and learning to trust, love, obey,serve, and worship the true Biblical God through His Word; and encouraging, inspiring and equipping others to do the same. Scripture memory venues I use, endorse, and praise God for include: MEMVERSE, the National Bible Bee, listening to the Scripture on cd, Bible Bowl, Bible quizzing, the annual Scriptorium in Hannibal, MO, Scripture songs (Thy Word Creations, GT and the Halo Express, NIV Kid's club, Pilgrim songs, etc.), Scripture Memory Fellowship (formerly Bible Memory Association), Dramatic Scripture presenters like Marquis Laughlin (Acts of the Word), and Quiz Pro.
I send out a daily devotional email based on a key verse of every chapter of the New Testament, and a "less than daily" devotional based on every chapter of the Old Testament. The most common theme of these devotionals is using Scripture to challenge today's "Trivial Gospel" (which has no need of, or interest in Scripture memory). I would be glad to add anyone on to the list whose email inbox is not already overflowing. I have written 3 Biblical dramas that are on youtube: Sermon on the Mount (2006) www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NkVvmbo-ho Jesus-Masterful Teacher (2008) www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EUrqo6U2Uc and Job: Suffering Servant of God (2009) www.youtube.com/watch?v=7J4qGFimTWo (There is purposely no copyright on any of these plays, so you may use them and even change them to meet your needs however you wish. The Sermon on the Mount in particular has a lot of scenes that can be used as stand alone skits). I had the opportunity to speak at a Geneva College chapel Sept 12th, 2007 on the "Outrageous Claims of the Bible" www.geneva.edu/object/chapel_audio_07_08.html I would love your feedback to any of these thoughts in the plays or the chapel message.
When GALATIANS 2:20, which I had memorized in high school at Faith Academy in the Philippines came back to me 7 years later (the summer after my first year teaching in a Christian school) to lead me to put a saving faith in Jesus Christ, I instantly had a passion to discover what else God had to say in His incredible Word. I was also excited to share in this pursuit with other Christians who were also excited about getting to know God better and better through His Word. However, many times it seemed like no one else was interested. Andy had not yet made Memverse, and it was a strange feeling to wonder if I was the only one who actually believed the Bible was worth memorizing. Since then God has brought many others into my life.
I hope we can use memverse to its fullest potential as we inspire, encourage, and equip each other in our pursuit of knowing and trusting our true, Biblical God. I would be glad to interact with any of you for mutual encouragement in Scripture memory. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. My phone # is (573)822-4015 and my currently mostly dead web site is www.scripture-memory-support.org. We can also interact all together through the memverse Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=261110551457&ref=ts My biggest current burden is the lack of Scripture memory in Christian schools and especially on college campuses. I know I am biased, but I believe EVERY Christian college and EVERY Christian outreach/discipleship group on secular colleges should inspire, encourage, equip, and expect professing Christian students to memorize Scripture. Now, it seems almost non-existent in the face of today's Trivial Gospel and obsession with changing the message to attract our post modern world. I would love for you to join me in praying for a revival of spiritual truth, and I would love to hear from anyone involved in Scripture memory in our schools and colleges
I often wonder who these other people and groups are on memverse. What other exciting Scripture memory is going on around the world? I invite you to introduce yourself, let us know what you are memorizing, why you are memorizing, and anything else that could edify, inspire and encourage a group of Scripture enthusiasts.
getting to know you
Understanding the Interval
People often ask how long it will be before a verse is classified as 'Memorized'. That's a valid question since it is, after all, the purpose of the Memverse.
Recall that a verse is classified as memorized once the interval has grown to more than 30 days. Let's look at two cases:
1. Starting a verse you have already memorized
Assuming you enter a verse that you already know perfectly. You start on January 1st, 2010 and every time the memory verse comes up for review you select option 5 because you can recall the verse perfectly without any hesitation. The interval will change as follows:
By the end of January, the memory verse will be classified as 'Memorized'
2. Starting a new, difficult memory verse
Now let's consider the case where you start a brand new memory verse on January 1st, 2010 that is difficult to memorize (Ephesians 1 is a good place to look for such verses). Each time the memory verse comes up for review, you select option 3 because you are struggling to remember the verse. You are able to recall it without flipping over the flashcard but there is plenty of erasing and reliance on the feedback. In that case, the interval will change as follows:
As you can see, the option you select makes a big difference to the time it takes to get a Bible verse memorized. Don't be tempted to select option 5 when you don't know the verse perfectly as you will later find that you can't recall the verse because the interval grows too quickly and you can't retain the verse over such a long period. These days I make frequent use of button 3 because that way I know it will be cemented in my memory. In most cases, you will find that it will take somewhere between a month and three months before a verse is classified as 'Memorized' since you will use a combination of the buttons based on your recall.
This is also why it's good to keep a 'pipeline' of verse that you're working on. Use the time commitment that is reported at the end of your memorization session as a guideline for when you should add more verses.
What Happened to the News?
The much discussed 'News' section has been moved off to another page. We should take this opportunity to clarify: the news feed is syndicated from 'Christianity Today' via a technology called 'RSS' (Really Simple Syndication). We don't read it before it arrives and exert no editorial control whatsoever. The current feed contains the most popular articles from Christianity Today's online site. Over the past year we have received many comments about the news section and I think many people were under the impression that Memverse was reporting the news. We wish we could be that productive! As it turns out, roughly 1/3 of the people who emailed us with feedback liked the news section, 1/3 found it too conservative and 1/3 found it too liberal. We have our own opinion but decided that it wasn't part of the core mission of Memverse and that it would be better to move it off the home page.
Over time, we do intend to add more sources of news but RSS is a relatively new technology and has been adopted only slowly by Christian news organizations. We have always had a vision of aggregating the best that has been thought and said from a Christian perspective across a broad spectrum; but that has been put on hold for another day.
If you would like to comment on this topic, we'd like to recommend both a re-reading of James 3 and also a period of reflection before posting.
What's Happening on Memverse?
If you've ever wondered what's happening on Memverse, now you'll know. The home page now has a stream of the latest happenings. So far, it is fairly limited but over time we will add news about the various leaderboards, the state and country competitions and more. The section on the home page will only include more significant events: milestones for users, chapters and books memorized etc. If you would like to see the full feed, just click on the heading. It should update in real time if you have a fairly modern browser.
Review Entire Chapters
I'm excited to announce a new section which I have been requesting for months :)
There is now a new page (located under the 'Memorize' menu) where you can work through entire chapters. It's currently similar to the 'Practice' section in that you can run through an entire chapter but it won't update any of the intervals, eFactors, next review dates etc. associated with the memory verses in those chapters. We'll probably find a way to work that in soon but test it out for now. I think you'll find it a great way to memorize chapters, psalms and entire books.
You do need to have an entire chapter of memory verses that you're working on. If you aren't yet working on an entire chapter, you can always start with Psalm 1. It's only 6 verses long.
Congratulations to GA for being the most recent addition to the state competition. Is your state listed? It takes 3 !! Why not find two other people from your state to join and start representing as well as inspiring others from your state! Can anyone top CA? They currently have a sizeable lead. However, with the summer Bible Bee and the Lord willing, partnership with Scripture Memory Fellowship, that lead may be in jeopardy. Congratulations also goes out to NY who jumped up from 9th to 7th place. Wow! There must be some Scripture enthusiasts on fire over there. What is your prediction for when we get ALL 50 states represented?
Remember to encourage your friends to join the state competition by listing it on the Profile page and "update profile" .
Churches and Groups
Memverse on Facebook
Hi. I've started a new Facebook group called "I use memverse.com for my Scripture Memory" http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=261110551457&ref=ts We'd love for you to join us there for mutual encouragement and discussion about Scripture memory and how wonderful memverse is. This could also be a great tool for introducing many people to memverse by inviting all your facebook friends to join the group.
There is also a memverse fan page which you can join by going to http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Memverse/197413925309?ref=ts
I pray that as this site gets better and better, we will be dilligent and creative in spreading the word to others who would be interested so that they too can use Memverse to memorize Scripture and get to know the true, Biblical God better and better through His Word for us.
In Christ, Phil Walker
Memverse in Spanish
We have started adding support for Spanish to Memverse. Once we have implemented a Spanish version of the website, we should be able to add subsequent languages a lot quicker. For now, it is a long and relatively slow process.
To use the Spanish version of Memverse, you will have to set your language preference in the profile section to 'Spanish'. (None of the other languages are supported yet so if you select those you will still see everything in English. Feel free to set your language of choice, if it is available, as we will use those settings to determine which languages to add next. If your language isn't available, let me know and I will add it. The available languages currently only cover the available translations.)
Once you have switched to the Spanish version, you will have to enter verses using the Spanish names of the books of the bible. The autocomplete is still set for the English names but we'll hopefully have that changed soon.
Even non-alert Spanish speakers will notice some of the worst Spanish grammar and vocabulary on the internet. Since we don't speak any Spanish at all, we had to use Google's translate feature but we're hoping that users will volunteer to help translate pages. (Even paragraphs will help!)
For now, when entering Spanish verses, please enter accented letters and special punctuation. We will hopefully allow you to omit the accents when memorizing but it would be better to have the original in the database and it will probably revert to that once we start making corrections.
We're very excited about this development as it will allow Memverse to become a truly global website. We gladly welcome help translating the site into any language and will add support as quickly as we can. Once we're finished the Spanish version, we will be able to provide you with a simple translation file and you'll be able to translate independently of our development cycle.
The Mind Under Grace
"Theology is not some intellectual option that makes us 'smart' Christians; it is the graced understanding that makes us faithful disciples"
- James K.A. Smith
This is a quote about the study of doctrine and theology; but it applies equally well to the discipline of memorization.
Memverse Turns 1
We launched Memverse a year ago, hoping to inspire a new generation of computer-savvy Christians to memorize their Bibles in earnest. As of today we have hundreds of active users and thousands of verses memorized. We still have plenty of plans for Memverse (more than when we started!) and, as always, will be relying on the feedback of users in determining what to work on next.
You will also notice a couple of changes to Memverse:
- By popular demand, the reference recall test has been changed to include all your verses. If you liked memorizing just the first verse of each passage, you can still select that option in your profile.
- There is a new 'Accuracy Test' which will let you know just how well you really know your memory verses. Don't be surprised when you find that it's a lot harder without the feedback! We recommend taking it periodically to ensure that you're scoring yourself correctly during your memorization sessions.
That's all for today. If you'd like to give us a birthday gift, we'd love you to send out some invites to your church, mention us on Facebook, or call up a family member and ask them to memorize God's word with you.
Onwards in Christ!
Common Mistakes When Entering Verses
There are a few common mistakes that we've noticed when people enter new memory verses:
- Quotation Marks - please do not omit quotation marks. It is understandably tempting to omit the single sided quotation marks but they should be included as they are part of the text
- 'LORD' vs 'Lord' - I don't remember the exact difference but in Old Testament verses we frequently see 'LORD' entered as 'Lord'. These two terms are different and it's important to enter them correctly. Fortunately, everything is case-insensitive when you're memorizing so you won't be tested on the difference!
- Periods and Full-stops - these are very frequently left out at the end of verses.
We are not being pedantic on this front. All the major translations' copyright restrictions require identical punctuation and spelling so we eventually correct every verse to match the given translation.
entering verses, punctuation
A Nonlinear Approach to Scripture Memorization
A Gem, a Swiss Cheese, and the Whole Enchilada
Most methods for scripture memorization take a linear approach: start at Chapter 1:1 and add a verse or two every day or two until you reach the end. I'm sure many of you have tried to memorize a chapter, or maybe an entire book, and have used some variant on this method. I know I have tried and become discouraged using this method and I'm sure many of you have too. I would suggest that this method was appropriate for memorizing from a printed (or handwritten) page but I think there is a better way. If you've every tried to memorized Romans and lost steam somewhere towards the end of Chapter 1 with a firm understanding of the wrath of God being revealed against the wickedness of mankind but wondering why Paul longed to visit Rome, then this method could be for you.
One of the biggest disadvantages of starting at the beginning and working your way through a book, is that at the end you often remember the start a lot better than the end. Assuming you make it to the end. In the worst case, you only remember the start. (Remember those high school courses? Do you remember the first chapter better than the last chapter today?) A far better method is to start with the most important sections of a passage and then add in the details later.
An Example: Memorizing Paul's Epistle to the Galatians
The Swiss Cheese approach that I recommend would work as follows:
- The Gem: start with a key verse or two for the entire passage. For instance, for Galatians it could be Galatians 2:16. Look at Memverse's list of popular verses if you need ideas.
- Swiss Cheese: over time, gradually add key verses that summarize themes or major ideas in Galatians. For example, in the letter to the Galatians Paul mentions crucifixion three times: Gal 2:20 (crucifying the self), Gal 5:24 (crucifying the sinful nature), and Gal 6:14 (crucifying the world). There are lots of key verses in Galatians that you could use. By adding these first, you will begin to better recognize the structure of epistle and the main ideas will be drawn out. More importantly, you will be entrenching the major themes in your memory first. Even if you stop memorizing at this point, you will have the foundational verses to build upon later.
- The Whole Enchilada: The best way to then complete the book or chapter, is to fill in the gaps. Add the verses around your anchor verses and gradually fill in the holes in the swiss cheese.
Memverse is ideally suited to this approach to memorizing. It has the advantage of memorizing key ideas first and is a great way to integrate studying and memorizing into one activity. I actually leave as many holes in my swiss cheese as possible. That way, everything stays in manageable bits until you add the connecting verses. If you're memorizing an entire book, you can start with the key chapters and complete each one individually. Or, you can add verses from all over the book and then gradually fill in the gaps across the entire book.
There is one caution, though: be careful to not leave out verses that you find difficult to accept or less inspiring. Those verses that will convict you at the times in your life when you need them the most, are very often the verses that everyone else neglected to memorize as well.
If you do tend to be a very linear thinker and are confident in your ability to persevere to the end, Andrew Davis (at John Piper's church in Minnesota) has published an article on "An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture" which some people have found works well.