We're very excited to announce that Memverse is now available for iPhones and iPads. It took us much longer than expected but lots of the groundwork has now been laid and we'll keep adding more features over time.
You can download it via iTunes.
We're also looking for a volunteer to build an Android app.
Today we have released an early version of a feature that I envisioned over three years ago. Those of you who memorize extended passages of the Bible might have noticed that there is sometimes a lack of context and continuity as verses which should appear contiguously unfortunately are reviewed haphazardly over the weeks.
This is most acute in chapters such as Matthew 5-7 (the Sermon on the Mount). I think most would agree that the following verses form a logical unit and should be grouped together during review:
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
I had always hoped that as people added passages it would gradually become clear which verses should be grouped together within a passage. It turns out that is, indeed, the case. Enough users who have a heart for fasting - but less for prayer and giving - have added the above verses and not the surrounding verses and it is possible to infer that Matt 6:16-18 belong together.
Clearly this works best in sections of the Bible that are heavily memorized and less well in the minor prophets (I always think it will be awkward when we meet Obadiah one day and he asks us what we thought of his book!).
This feature is still a work in progress and I am currently the only one using it. If you like living on the edge, you can enable Synchronize Subsections on your Update Profile page. This will ensure that over time, related verses will be reviewed on the same day and the review interval will be synchronized. Please leave feedback or comments by clicking the black 'Feedback' tab on the right. We will be refining this feature over the coming months so feel free to wait if you want.
One of the disadvantages of this feature is that if you forget one verse in a subsection, the whole subsection will reset and appear to be unmemorized. If you'd like to see how your passages have been subsectioned, you can navigate to this secret page and click on the relevant passage. The last number in the list that appears shows the various subpassages.
We highly recommend that most of you wait for a few months before enabling this feature.
I hope you all have a blessed 2015.
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.
Each of the past 3 years, we have had a verse a day world-wide Scripture Memory initiative. It started with HEBREWS, then 1 TIMOTHY and last year's 1 JOHN.
Shortly after the 1 TIMOTHY project began, I got an email from Andy letting me know about this new Scripture Memory website he had made called Memverse. He thought it might be a good tool for people around the world memorizing 1 TIMOTHY to encourage and inspire each other as well as keep track of their individual verses. I took a look at Memverse and loved it. I sent out an email to our 1 TIMOTHY participants letting them know about Memverse, and as they say, the rest is history... It was a lot of fun that first year to see almost half of the top 100 most popular verses all come from 1 TIMOTHY. The chart has since been overtaken by a bunch of enthusiastic Bible Bee memorizers so that now zero verses from 1 TIMOTHY remain and only the famous 1:9 remains in 31st place from 1 JOHN. There are currently no verses from 1 KINGS 17 - 2 KINGS 2 in the top 100. Will you pray with me that we can get the word out enough about the Elijah project on memverse to change that. (maybe some day Memverse will extend the chart out to the top 1,000 most popular verses so I could see where others beyond the top 100 currently rank.)
I am praying for 100 Elijah finishers and at least 10 Elijah project groups memorizing together offline. Do you have some friends or a church group who might want to memorize Elijah with you for some exciting face-to-face discussion, meditation, encouragement, and inspiration the next few months?
One exciting new tool for memorizing Elijah is www.impresskids.com I have 1 KINGS 17:1 and 1 KINGS 17:2-4 set up in the 1984 NIV, KJV, NKJ, ESV, NASB, the Magadang Balita Biblia (Tagalog spoken in the Philippines) and Terjemahan Baru (Indonesian). I also have through 1 KINGS 17:16 in the 1984 NIV. Let me know if you would like us to include Elijah verses in other translations as well. You can join our Elijah page at http://www.impresskids.com/my/place/101
Any on Facebook can join our group there at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=673866741&ref=tn_tnmn#!/groups/Memorize1John/
Schedule for memorizing 1 KINGS 17-19, 21; and 2 KINGS 1:1-2:18 (there is no legalism in this schedule. You may start and end and go at whatever pace best suits you and your friends.) This schedule is just a guideline and the pace that I and Jacky will be following.
1 KINGS 17:1-24 = Dec 12th - Jan 4th; 1 KINGS 18:1-46 = Jan 5th - Feb 19th; 1 KINGS 19:1-21 = Feb 20th - March 12th;
1 KINGS 21:1-29 = March 13th - April 10th; 2 KINGS 1:1-18 = April 11 - 28th; 2 KINGS 2:1-18 = April 29th - May 16th
then if you are ages 7-18 take a short break and get ready for the 2012 National Bible Bee www.biblebee.org
Current known ELIJAH memorizers: If you are no longer memorizing ELIJAH or are listed twice, please let me know. Also let me know if you are aware of people memorizing with us who are not on this list.
Please pray for people in this group. Pray that God might grant us strength, endurance, motivation and discipline to keep memorizing. Pray even more importantly, that the Scripture might be powerful in our lives and that God may be pleased on our meditation on His Truth through this project. Less importantly, but still worth praying about, you can also sneak in a short prayer that those on this list not on Memverse may discover the joy and benefit of Memverse and that Memverse may gain new strongholds of members through the Elijah Project.
Abidemi Elebute, AJ, Allie Smith, Alma Baker, Alma Juat, Amy P, AmyV, Andrea Miller, Angela, Angelyn Metran, Archambault family (Sheena, Kiarra, and Grace), Arthur Koon, Ashley Chastain, Ashley Hanney, Barbara Sheldon, Barbara Smith, Bautista family ( Ronnie, Belen, Nyra ), Ben Watt, Bert Fajutrao, Beth Nueva, Bonnie Rodriguez, Carolyn, Cindy Singh, Claire, Connie Swaine, Constance Keating, Courtney Allison, Courtney Killingbeck, Daniel Baergen, Danny Liuson, Dayo Davies, Desnan Malaoe, Devan Miller, Edrian, Elisa J, Emeka Rajis, Erika Wenzel, Ester Kppi, Florida Hasibuan, Funmilayo Ikiebe, Gilles Dossan, Gina Ahamnos, GMoV, Hannah (Spanish); Hannah Fiedler, Hannah Green, Heather Stump, Heidi Schreiber, Imelda Pedida, InSoloChristo, Isaiah Martinez, Jacob Kallikoth, Jacky Walker, Jael, Jake Erkens, Jay Sandoval, Jennifer W, Jireh, Jonathan Pearson, Josiah De Graaf, Josie Fernandez, Joshua, JPIA(Rachel), Julia Conners, Julie Jones, KaitlynV, Karlin Kendall, Kim Cordner, Kristine Librado, Laura Cimmino, Laura H, Leal Christian Juat, Leal Grace Juat, Leng Gumaro, Linda Johnson, Lori Murphy, Marjorie Renold, Marilyn Fischer, Marinda Hartzenberg, Mariner Eccles, Marisa Joulfaian, Marlene Farley, Marlene Metran, Mary Ginn, Mary L, Matthew Minica, Melody Mieczkowski, Michelle Curry, Michelle Dueling (5), Naga Pila, Nanay Carina Metran, Natalia Groot, Octavius, OCTSRIS, Odejimi Oyekunle, Ofhel Castillo, Pamela McDonald, Phil Walker, Pilar Valdoz, Purig Ramos, Renelle,. Rhina Babas, Rochelle, Rommel Amansec, Roy Cline, Rozleigh Roman, Sarah Mackenzie, Sara Young, Sheila Froehlich, Shelly Scheidling, Sinmisola Ajelero, Stephanie Lish, Surreyhorse (4), Tamara Cline, Temitope Akiode, Tina Torres, TirzahLynn, Todd, Trish Mathis, Walker Junior (we trust) = 132 people
Known Groups Memorizing ELIJAH offline for face-to-face mutual accountability, discussion, meditation, encouragement, and inspiration: Please let me know if your group has stopped meeting or if you are forming a new group or if you have different members in your group. (Some may want to consider forming a group to begin 2012 after Christmas is over). Please let me know what information you would like with your group. You can include church or location you are meeting, translation you are memorizing in, times you are meeting, etc.
Please pray for the formation of new groups. Pray also for the current groups that their meeting times may be enjoyable, encouraging, inspiring, and most importantly, honoring to God. Pray that groups that want to increase numbers will be able to and that those who want to join a group will be able to find one or recruit a friend to start one.
Kaitlyn and Amy V meeting in Northern Michigan;
Laura H and Mary L meeting in Nebraska;
Surreyhorse family (4 memorizers);
Alma Juat, Josie Fernandez, Leal Christian Juat, Leal Grace Juat, Leng Gumaro, Ofhel, Pilar Valdoz, Puring Ramos, Rhina Babas, Bautista family ( Ronnie - father, Belen - mother and Nyra ), Renelle, Rochelle,.Edrian, Jireh, Joshua at Fountain of Life Christian Community Church in Valenzuela City, north Manila, Philippines memorizing in both the 1984 NIV and MBB (Tagalog)
Hannah Fiedler and Heidi Schreiber
Sarah Young and Angela
Michelle Duelling and 4 from the family of her pastor
Sheena, Kiarra, and Grace Archambault
Phil, Jacky, and Junior Walker in Manila, Philippines on our way, Lord willing, to Indonesia.memorizing in the 1984 NIV (other translations welcome)
ACCOUNTABILITY CHART: Those who want can get extra support and encouragement by declaring your verses and being listed on this chart. For every 6 verses you declare you will receive a letter on the chart. You do not have to declare your verses in order. You can declare verses from chapter 19 before chapter 17 if you wish. To declare verses and join the chart, give your first name, the first initial of your last name, the country or USA state you live in, and the verses you have memorized. Sample declaration = Jim A OH 1 KINGS 17:1-6 or Phil W IDN 1 KINGS 18:5 - 10
Laura H NE A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z CONGRATULATIONS on finishing memorizing the Elijah project. May God give you and Mary the faith of Elijah as you walk through this life trusting Elijah's God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Very glad that you 2 did this together.
Mary L NE A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z CONGRATULATIONS on finishing memorizing the Elijah project. May God give you and Laura the faith of Elijah as you walk through this life trusting Elijah's God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Very glad that you 2 did this together.
Kaitlyn V MI A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X
Caleb W OH A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z CONGRATULATIONS on being the very first to finish memorizing the Elijah project. May God give you the faith of Elijah as you walk through this life trusting Elijah's God to be powerful in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Josiah D PA A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z CONGRATULATIONS on finishing memorizing the Elijah project. May God give you the faith of Elijah as you walk through this life trusting Elijah's God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Looking forward to the return of your DD and TD days with our next project!
Amy V MI A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S
Rachel C NC A B C D
Amy P MO A B C D
Beowulf W OH A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S
Hannah F IL A
Rosie A OH A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z CONGRATULATIONS on being the 2nd to finish memorizing the Elijah project. May God give you and Mary the faith of Elijah as you walk through this life trusting Elijah's God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God grant you the grace to keep and be encouraged by these verses for a lifetime!
Surreyhorse 4 CA A B C D E F G
Matthew M TX A B C D
Jacky W PHI A B C D E F G
Phil W PHI A B C D E F
Marlene M PHI A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z CONGRATULATIONS on finishing memorizing the Elijah project. May God give you the faith of Elijah as you walk through this life trusting Elijah's God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And may you pass the faith of Elijah on to your 2 young sons over the years as Elijah passed his faith on to Elisha.
Sarah M U.K. A B C D
Pilar V PHI A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z CONGRATULATIONS on being the first from FOL to finish memorizing the Elijah project. May many be inspired and follow your footsteps. And may God give you the faith of Elijah as you walk through this life trusting Elijah's God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christian J PHI A
Marjorie R PHL A
I can honestly say that I am more excited about starting this new world wide Elijah initiative than with any of the 3 previous wonderful experiences we had. Maybe a part of it is simply what is going on in my life. I got married June 25th shortly after finishing 1 JOHN so this will be the first large Scripture memory project Jacky and I, Lord willing, complete together. I can't wait to memorize, discuss, and pray over these powerful verses with her. Any other husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend teams going to experience this joy with us?
Secondly, Jacky and I are engaged in radical full time ministry spreading a passion for Scripture in the Philippines and Indonesia and wherever else God sends us. We want and desperately need Elijah's God to be real for us as He leads, empowers, and provides for our lives and our ministry.
Lastly, Jacky is pregnant with our first child. As new parents, we don't want to share dead, weak, or hypocritical religious teaching and practices to our children who know us best. Rather, we pray that God will so change and indwell us that our children will see us literally trusting the God of Elijah to be at work in our family.
I don't know what your situation is. However, I do know that our Christian world, and especially the next generation of Christians growing up needs to know that the true, living, Biblical God of Elijah is real, and is just as powerful, and wants to be wholeheartedly trusted just as much in 2011 as thousands of years ago during the days of Elijah. Will all the advances and excitement of modern sience, psychology, technology, materialism, entertainment, and temporal worldly success reduce the Bible to irrelevant even if it's true? Or will we fully live up to the life Jesus Christ died and rose again to bring and live inside of us. Will those who see our faith in a powerful, living God join Elisha in passionately wanting to know the God who lives in us for themselves as they proclaim "Where now is the God of Elijah?"
I invite you to join us in memorizing "Elijah" the next few months. I ask you to help me in spreading the word by email, twitter, facebook, in your churches, etc. so that all who might want to memorize "Elijah" with us will hear of our support group. Lastly, I would ask you to consider and pray about possibly starting an offline "Memorize Elijah" group for face-to-face encouragement, inspiration and growth.
If you have any questions, insights, or ideas for me, or if you would like to receive weekly Elijah encouragement emails, feel free to get in touch through email@example.com in addition to this blog.
Churches and Groups
I’m someone who believes it’s important, not only to memorize Scripture, but to memorize It as accurately as possible when contrasted with the original text of your translation. Though it’s usually easy during the first week or so after memorizing a verse to quote it perfectly and without hesitation, I’m sure most of you have noticed that, over time, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain that word-perfect level of accuracy or even to remember where the verse is found. If you’re someone who doesn’t concern yourself too much with whether you say “Jesus Christ” or “Christ Jesus”, then this post may not be for you; but if you’d like to improve your ability to recall verses with 100% accuracy then I'd like to share with you a few things I have found helpful in my own personal experience over the past year.
First of all, take full advantage of Memverse’s Accuracy and Reference Recall tests. These features are specifically designed to make each one of your memory verses stick in your mind firmly, and present you with a wider range of verses than does the Practice and Memorize sections of the site. This forces you to rely solely on good memory skills without being given the preceding or upcoming verses, and lets you know exactly where you stand by presenting you with an updated calculation of your accuracy at the end of each test. If you are shooting for 100% accuracy all across the board, then I would personally recommend taking the Reference Recall test once each day for every 100 verses you’ve memorized and the Accuracy Test about 3 or 4 times per month (more or less).
Secondly, I have found Memverse’s ability to print out your memory verses for you amazingly helpful in keeping up with those often obscure passages that seem to elude the grasp of your memory. I keep an updated list of all my verses in a three-ring binder (using sheet protectors), and try to review at least two Scriptures from each page daily in addition to my regular memory sessions right here on Memverse. Keeping a physical copy of your memory verses is also perfect for those times when you are away from the Internet for long periods of time but would still like to stay on top of your memory work.
Finally, over the past few weeks I have discovered a brand new way to speed up the learning process when you’re committing new passages of Scripture to memory: simply write down your new verses in a pocket-sized journal and carry them with you when you’re away from home. This allows you to meditate in God’s Word day and night (Psalm 1:2) regardless of where you are and without having to face the frustration of forgetting your most recent verses while trying to review them on your way to work! You can usually get them quite reasonably, and I have found this particular journal by Markings publishers to be ideal for recording and reviewing Scripture when you don't have access to your Memverse account. It contains an attached ribbon marker, firm leather covers, and a pocket in the back to store 3.5 x 5 inch notecards and other small, paper items. I got mine at Wal-Mart, but they are also available on Amazon.
So what about you? What strategies have you developed (other than using memverse, of course) to make your your memory verses stay firmly planted in your heart and mind? I'm sure we could all benefit from your experiences and would love to hear what you have to say on the subject.
We are going to take a short break from our usual good cheer to draw your attention to a sobering observation after two years of involvement with Memverse: it is not easy to maintain the discipline of bible memorization.
- 75% of people who sign up on Memverse do not make it to the end of the first month.
- Another 25% of those who remain have dropped out by the end of the second month.
- Each month thereafter, another 10-12% of people do not keep up their memorizing.
- Even after a year of memorizing, the churn rate is still roughly 10% each month.
Of the ~400 people who signed up for Memverse in January 2011, there were less than 70 still active by the end of February. By the end of the year, there will likely be less than 30 of the original group of 400.
So why are we still optimistic? These numbers are not quite as dire as they seem at first blush and, in fact, are typical of free services which are easily tried and just as easily abandoned. We also realize that many of the 400 people who signed up in January never added their first verse. Over the next year, we are planning to make the 'first five minute' experience more engaging and less confusing. (If you have ideas, we'd love to hear from you, especially those of you who recently signed up and can still remember what it was like.)
One factor that surprised us: while we feel as though we've made fairly significant improvements over the past two years, the numbers are very consistent and predictable. Even once people have integrated Memverse into their daily lives, each month 10% of them just decide to stop using it. In my case, I've come to realize the danger of being "choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures" as I go on my way (Luke 8:14-15). Luke is correct, it requires perseverance to produce a crop.
Our conclusion: Memorizing God's word requires a mental commitment fully powered by the grace of the Spirit.
Find a friend to keep you accountable. Set reasonable goals that you can achieve. And pray. In all things. Continually.
We'll see you on March 1st, 2012 for our third birthday.
What is your technique for memorizing God's Word? I do not think that I'm wrong in saying that the main function of Memverse is the review, not the memorizing ... So how do you memorize Scripture off-line?
Here's what John Calvin says about Psalm 119:13. This selection is also very insightful and helpful.
Verse 13: With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.
David shows here the accord which ought to be betwixt God and us: to wit, that God has instructed us, and when we have heard that which has been said to us, that everyone should say “Amen,” and that there be a sweet harmony and accord betwixt him and us, without jar or contradiction.
Behold here the summary of what is meant in this verse. Note that David declares that he contents not himself alone with following of God and cleaving to him: but that he labors and desires as much as lies in him, to stir up his neighbors likewise, and to bring it so to pass, as that God might be served with a common accord, throughout the whole world. He then that will have a true zeal to honor everywhere, and seek by all means possible that he can, to redress those which are wickedly given, to stir up those which are cold and negligent, to strengthen those which are weak and feeble, to entertain those which are already in a good earnestness, and to make them more earnest.––And indeed, these are the very things which all the faithful seek to do.––For the Lord our God teaches us upon this condition, that every one of us think not only particularly of himself, but that we should also have a mutual care one of another, and whensoever we shall have this zeal, let us understand, that God has created the whole world upon this condition, that we all should be obedient to him.
But we must well notice the order that is here set down: For David does not begin with this sentence, “That with his lips he has told of all the Judgments of the Lord’s mouth.” For he has said before, that he "has hid them in his heart." The thing which David said to be hid in his heart, he soon after declares it with his mouth, wherein he shows that every one of us ought to begin with himself. When we mean to instruct and teach our neighbors, we must not say to them, “Go you before:” but, “Come next after me, or else hard by me:” and having care all to go the right way, we should all at once labor to go together to our God, to be conjoined to him in true faith. And I speak it to this end, because we shall see many who in this behalf can very well prattle and babble, and would seem to be the greatest doctors in the world. But what of all this? Let us in the meantime look into their lives and conversation, and we shall find in them nothing but infection and stench, nothing else but mocking of God in all they go about and do. We must therefore follow the order which David here holds: to wit, that the word of God be his as a Treasure in the bottom of our heart: and afterward when as we shall have this affection, let us endeavor ourselves to draw others also thereto, and go altogether with one accord to honor our Lord God; and that he which hath been better taught than any of his neighbors have been, let him confess that he is so much the more beholden and bound unto God, to do that which is here showed unto us by David.
For although we are not all Prophets as he was, yet for all that, this was spoken to us all in general, “Admonish ye one another.” Saint Paul (1 Thess. 5:14, Col. 3:16, and Heb. 3:13) speaks it to all the faithful and to all Christians. And that we should also know that this belongs and pertains to us: and chiefly as I have before said, that they which are most earnest, should lay forth the grace which was given unto them for the common building up of the Church, and instruction of their neighbors.
When I first decided to memorize Psalm 119, I thought it would be a good idea to have some good Puritan and Reformed books to read alongside so as to help me understand and apply it all in a better way. In John Calvin's Sermons on Psalm 119, he exposits every verse very profitably. I came to what he has to say about this well-known verse, and thought it was worth sharing.
Verse 11: I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
When David speaks after this manner, “I have hid your word or promise in my heart,” he well declares, that if we have but only a wandering knowledge, that it will not hold us in, but that the Devil will by and by win upon us to oppress us, with temptations, and in the end to cast us down headlong. What must we then do? It is not enough that we have been at church, and heard what hath been there said to us, and that every one of us has mumbled to himself some one thing or another, but the word of God must be settled in us and be hid in our heart, to wit, that it may there be residing and continually abiding: and to have received it with such an affection, as that it be as it were imprinted in us. If this be not so, sin will reign in us, for it hath natural habitation with us: For all our senses are wicked and corrupt, all our wills and desires are enemies to God, unless God’s word be well hidden in our hearts.
Moreover, we are to understand, that David did not here vaunt himself of his own power and strength, as though he were in admiration thereof: but the spirit of God speaking by his mouth, intends to give us a mirror, wherein we must be confirmed, to wit, that we must not have only our ears beaten with the Doctrine of salvation, and receive it in our brain: but that it should be hidden in our heart, to wit, that we should lay it up as in a Treasure house.
For this saying, to hide, signifies that David did not study to be ambitious to set forth himself, and to make a glorious show before men: but that he had God for a witness of that secret desire which was before him. He never looked to worldly creatures, but being content that he had so great a Treasure, he knew full well that God who had given it him, would so surely and safely guard it, as that it should not be laid open to Satan to be taken away.
Saint Paul, in 1 Timothy 1:19, also declares to us, that the chest wherein this treasure must be hid, is a good conscience. For it is said, that many being void of this good conscience, have lost also their faith, and have been robbed thereof. As if a man should forsake his goods and put them in an open place, without shutting of any door, it were an easy matter for thieves to come in and to steal and deprive and spoil him of all: Even so, if we leave at random to Satan the Treasure which GOD hath given unto us in his word, if it is not hidden in this good conscience, and in the very bottom of our heart as David here speaks, we shall be spoiled thereof.
Well, the four best ways not including Memverse. :)
Ok, here is the last part of this series. Pray over these applications and apply them to your life as much as time will allow. . . . and more!! You will grow so much in your Christian walk with God, and we all know how absolutely wonderful that is. . .
Store your memories in the time of your youth.––”Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth.” (Eccles. 12:1). Right now, your memories are fresh and strong; later, as some can testify, they will be shattered with cares and business. A new ship, or any vessel that is new, is free from leaks; but time and travel will batter it. So will it be with you; care will batter you, grief will batter you: and therefore now store yourselves. Take heed: a dozen chapters, a good catechism, a collection of useful texts and doctrines, will take no room, nor make you live the heavier, nor sleep the worse. And therefore it concerns parents, both to have such things in their hearts, and to teach them diligently to their children. (Deut. 6:7). Perhaps they may not understand the sense of them at the present; but these will be ready in their minds till grace and understanding come, and then they will help them exceedingly; as we lay some sticks or kindling ready in the chimney, which, when fire comes, signify something.
Writing what we would remember is a merciful help to the memory.––Socrates, indeed, held that letters proved the ruin of the memory, because, before the invention of letters, people committed worthy matters to memory, but afterward to books [or blogs :P ]; but certainly both memory and books are little enough to preserve those things that should be remembered. The Holy Spirit teaches better: “You shall write them upon the doorposts of your house, and on your gates.” (Deut. 11:20). Yea, the king himself was to “write for himself in a book a copy of this law,” that he might remember it the better! (Deut. 17:18). The very writing of anything fixes it deeper in the mind. And therefore I should still recommend the writing of sermon-notes, not only as a help to memory, but also as a good preservative from sleeping under God’s ordinance, as also from gazing about, to the great distraction of the thoughts at that sacred employment. For, alas, how many excellent doctrines, directions, and marks have you heard, that are quite forgotten, which a discreet use of writing might have preserved unto you!
Prayer is a second help.––For “every good gift and every perfect gift,” whereof this is one, “is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17); and therefore is to be sought by frequent and earnest prayer, which is the golden key to unlock the treasures of heaven to the needy soul. O, beg it, then, of Him, that as he sanctifies the soul, he would sanctify this with the rest. And you have a ground for your prayer in John 14:26, where our Savior has said, that “the Father will send the Holy Ghost, to teach us all things, and to bring all things to our remembrance.” And this Spirit you may have for the asking: “your Heavenly Father shall give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” (Luke 11:13). Understand, that God will grant your prayer herein, there being joined with the same a due use of all other means, on which earnest prayer brings a blessing. And you must not only crave this in your solemn prayers; but also, when you are reading or hearing, you should dart up a quick prayer, “Lord, write this truth in my heart, and bless it to me!” This is like the clinching of a nail. And when you have heard a sermon, lock the chest with David’s prayer: “O Lord, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people.” (1 Chron. 29:18). Be assured that God will hear the breathings of his own Spirit, and give thee a memory to serve your turn.
Serious meditation is the last help I shall mention.–– [I know this next sentence is definitely the case with me!!] When people read or hear, and presently plunge themselves in foreign business, then generally all is lost: “For he looks at himself, and goes away, and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into” (the word signifies “to penetrate into a thing with his eye”) “the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres,” that is, considering what he has heard, “being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:24-25). By which is not meant a speculative and fruitless meditation, but that which is practical; that is, which digests the things we read or hear for use or practice: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11). Here is a truth, or a duty, or a promise, for such a time or case. Such rolling of good things in our thoughts doth habituate and familiarize them to the soul, and they abide the longer. This is clear in other cases: for, if one has received an injurious or unkind word, if it go out at one ear as it came in at the other, it leaves no great impression; but if you set yourself to ruminate upon it, and to aggravate it, then it is a long time before you forget it. And so in some measure it would be in good things: give them a little heart-room, bestow some second thoughts upon them, shut the book when you have read a little, and think of it; and it will abide. It is the soaking rain that enters deepest into the earth, when a sudden shower slides away. But herein our ordinary hearers are strangely negligent: they read, they hear, they forget; for they never think nor meditate of it. They turn down leaves in their Bibles in the congregation, but they seldom turn them up again in reflecting upon what they heard; and so their labor is lost, and ours.
But I conclude. It is worth observing, that holy David, among all the rest of his blessed psalms, has one (which is the thirty-eighth psalm) which he styles, “A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance.” His memory, it seems, had need of help, as well as ours.
EDIT: After a few comments, I've decided to add these: reciting out loud, and writing out what you are memorizing, are also very good ways to memorize anything. Courtesy of Andy. . . Read the comments to find out more.
EDIT: I've written another blog post that goes very well with this one, called Getting to Know You: How do you Memorize? There are a lot of great techniques mentioned in the comments, that you should definitely check out.
As we saw in the first part of this series, the memory is an amazing faculty. God has given it to us to use for his glory, and I can hardly think of anything more glorifying to Him than memorizing His Word! It is our duty to labor to improve our memories, and then to put all of what we remember into practice! So the following is an embellishing of part one, and an answering of the questions, "Why should I pray for God's grace to help improve my memory? Exactly what are the benefits that I will gain?"
The first paragraph is an introduction to the rest.
The sanctification of the memory by fitting things laid up in memory for use and practice. –– This is plainly the work of God by his grace. A notional memory is of little use without a practical; as treasure in a chest is no way useful, though there be much of it, as a penny in the purse, when there is occasion for it. “The steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,” and on those who “remember to do his commandments.” (Psalm 103:17, 18). And certainly they who commit things to their memories on this design to practice them, shall be able to remember them, when they have need of them, in the course of their practice.
A good memory is very helpful and useful as a great means of knowledge.––For what use is your reading or hearing, if you remember nothing? It is not eating or drinking, but digesting your food, that keeps you alive; and so it is in this case: “My son,” not only “be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings,” but “keep them within your heart.” Then “they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.” (Prov. 4:20-22)
A good memory is very helpful and useful as a means of faith.––As is plain in 1 Cor 15:2––“Unless you have believed in vain.” For, though faith rests purely on the word of God, yet when the word and works of God are forgotten, faith will stagger. Hence our Savior says, “O you of little faith, do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand?” etc. (Matt. 16:8-9.) “The word of God is the sword of the Spirit,” (Eph. 6:17), whereby Satan is foiled: but if this sword be out of the way by reason of forgetfulness, how shall we conflict with the enemy??
It is a means of comfort.––If a poor Christian in distress could remember God’s promises, they would inspire him with new life; but when they are forgotten, his spirits sink. Our way to heaven lies over hills and vales: when we are on the hill, we think we shall never be in the dumps again; and so, when we are in the valley, we fear we shall never have comfort again. But now, a faithful memory is a great help: “Then I said, ‘I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.' I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” (Psalm 77:10-11). So also, Psalm 119:52: “When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O LORD.”
It is a means of repentance.––For, how can we repent or mourn for what we have quite forgotten? As, therefore, there is a blameworthy remembrance of sin, when we remember it in kindness; so there is a praiseworthy remembrance of sin, when we remember it with displeasure: “That you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame.” (Ezek. 16:63). But, alas! We write our sins in sand instead of stone, and foolishly imagine that the eternal God forgets them just as soon as we; though in such cases he has said and sworn, “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.” (Amos 8:7)
And it is a means of usefulness.––No man should, nor indeed can, be singly religious. When one spark of grace is truly kindled in the heart, it will quickly endeavor to heat others also. So for counsel: we are born, we are new-born, to be helpful to others. Herein a good memory is exceedingly useful; out of which, as out of a storehouse, a wise Christian may “bring forth matters both new and old.” (Matt. 8:52). Such may say, “We have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us,” this and that observation. (Psalm 44:1). Likewise, “As we have heard, so have we seen,” what may be very useful to many a soul. (Psalm 48:8).
So that, you see, a good memory is useful in many ways, as a means of knowledge, faith, comfort, repentance, and usefulness. What Christian would not desire these things??? It is my prayer that you would be moved by this small endeavor. God will be pleased if we use our memories for his glory. We cannot but help glorifying Him if we use our memories to "store up his Word in our hearts that we might not sin against him!" Psalm 119:11
The next and last part of the series will be about very practical ways to improve your memory.
This is my formal introduction into the blogging industry, so I apologize if I did anything wrong. This post is the first of a three-part series about our memory. Most of what I've written here is adapted from a sermon preached by the Rev. Richard Steele (1629-1692). He belonged to an amazingly gifted group of theologians called the Puritans who lived in the seventeeth century. For those who are interested, the translations used are the KJV and the ESV.
What Are the Hindrances and Helps to a Good Memory in Spiritual Things?
The excellence of the memory: The soul of man is a subject of wonder; and nothing is more wonderful in it than the memory –– that such innumerable images of things should be lodged in a finite faculty, and that what seems to be utterly lost in it, should be fully recovered; wherefore it is justly deemed by the learned a miraculous mercy. It has power to make things that are in themselves absent and past, to be present. By the help of memory, we retain what we have read in books, what we have heard in sermons or other discourses, as well as examples of God’s mercies and judgments for our encouragement and warning. All these, and ten thousand things more, are laid up in the memory, which is the soul’s treasury, so that the soul would be a poor soul without the memory. We may see the worth of this faculty by those that are deprived of the use of it, that can remember nobody, nor the last question that they asked. All a man’s past life would be lost, if his memory were lost. The souls would be poor in knowledge, poor in gifts, poor in comfort, without the memory. Especially this faculty was happy in its primitive state before the fall; for then its reception was easy, the impressions firm, the recovery (if any use of it) ready. Then it was like a clear crystal glass, wherein all that was contained in it was easily seen; now it is cracked and muddy: then it was like an iron chest; now it is like a bag with holes. It had the neighborhood of a clear understanding and of a holy will; and Adam could not but “remember his Creator in those days of his youth.”
It is necessary to labor to improve your memories, to have them cured and strengthened –– It is an unquestionable duty. That fundamental law, propounded in the Old Testament (Deut. 6:5) and confirmed in the New (Matt. 22:37) –– “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” –– obliges us to strain every faculty to the utmost in God’s behalf. One end of Christ’s coming into the world was to repair our depraved faculties; and shall we suffer him to die in vain? First Corinthians 15:2 says, “By which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you –– unless you believed in vain.” This shows how necessary it is to improve our memories, as a means of faith and salvation. We find by experience that this faculty is miserably corrupted: and therefore it is undoubtedly necessary that it be renewed.
Reduce into practice that which you remember.––The end of all true knowledge is practice: “Remember to do his commandments.” (Psalm 103:18). If it be a doctrinal truth which you read or hear, consider what influence it has upon the heart. If it be a duty which is set before you, immediately set about it. If a sin be exposed, presently root it out. If insincerity or hypocrisy be brought to light, examine your spiritual state without delay. For, as a treasure in the chest is in danger of the robber; but when it is used for a good purchase, here it is safe from being stolen: so too, while spiritual notions swim only in the memory, you may easily lose them; but they are safe when they are once incorporated into your real practice. But, alas! There are too many that are like those whiffling chapmen, who come to the shop and lay-by a great many rich wares; but when all is done, they buy few or none: so these cheapen and bid for the pearl, but will not buy it; they will talk over all the points of religion, before they will seriously practice any one of them. For you “remember the Sabbath” aright, when you so remember it before it comes, that when it comes, you “keep it holy.” (Exod. 20:8). You remember God truly, when you fear and love and trust in him. You remember your neighbor as you ought, when you remember “to do good, and to communicate.” (Heb. 13:16). You remember yourselves best, when you remember “to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.” (Acts 24:16). In a word: you remember your latter end rightly, when you keep your oil ready in your lamps and in your vessels, so that when your Master comes, he may find you so doing.
Steele follows the usual practice of the Puritans in his sermon ––delivering doctrine before application––so I will too. The next post will have more applicable points.
So what are the great benefits to be gained by improving your memories? Keep your eyes peeled. . .
If you've found that having the feedback section makes memorizing the verses a little too easy, there is now an option to turn off the feedback once the interval gets past two months. Some of you might have experienced that feature today because we accidentally rolled it out to everyone. (One of our cats reached out his paw and pounded on my keyboard). It should be working properly now. If you would like to turn off the feedback, go to the profile page and uncheck the option next to 'Always Show Feedback'
Dallas Willard, professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, wrote:
Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. That’s where you need it! How does it get in your mouth? Memorization
- Dallas Willard (“Spiritual Formation in Christ for the Whole Life and Whole Person” in Vocatio, Vol. 12, no. 2, Spring, 2001, p. 7)