Memory Work

Why memorize?  I won’t talk too much on the why… but I will say that I think it is a brain workout, a muscle to exercise – the memory muscle.  So, I think the question might better be asked…


Ways to memorize…  There are many, I am sure, and I employ different methods.  The one I will talk about first I will call

“Memory for the moment” Method

You know, it’s when you pull up to the fast food restaurant and the car load tells you what they want… There is a visual way to think of the order to get it right.  My kids have always wondered how I could remember their order.  Well, this is how I do it:

I picture them in their car seat with the order they asked for in their hands:

A cheeseburger no onions, French fries, sweet tea

Chicken nuggets meal with Dr. Pepper…


Anyhow, visualizing it helps me.


”Placement of Items in the store” Method

I will memorize my list by considering where the store aisles are and where everything is in relation to the list I have.  Actually what I do when I write my list out to begin with is write the items in sections on my list, for instance, the produce is always first because that is what I encounter first… and then the next thing I come to is the meat, and then the dairy, and then there are the middle aisles of the store and last the personal stuff and cleaning items section.  I just take a little while to do this before I begin shopping.  I will keep my list in my hand as well, because, I’m not perfect at this with all of the distractions in the store.  Cute babies in carts cooing and angry babies crying and 70’s music playing will take my attention!

Different Ways I memorize scripture:

We all start getting a little worried that our memories might start fading, especially if we are so close to a person with dementia.  We can live a healthy life as best we can and still have trouble learning new things.  Most people I talk to about what I am doing say, “Oh I never could never memorize.”

But have you tried?  I ask them.  And, do you know what the answer is?  No.  People just think they can’t.  Reason why?  Getting started is a little bumpy at first, like learning to do anything difficult.  Only at first it’s difficult.  Then it’s driving a car.

I don’t think anyone has to start with thinking they have to memorize a whole entire verse even. For a beginner, memorizing a portion of the verse with reading the context to understand the meaning is just fine.

I started memorizing in earnest a few years ago and it gets easier as I have done it more.  To keep their brains sharp, some people do Sudoku, some work word search puzzles, others read. One of the ways I take care of my own mind is to learn memory verses.

So, I went back to my 7 year old Sunday School memories of a teacher and a chalk board who wrote the verse and then erased words, a few at a time as we all said the verses as a class. Then, at the end we could say the whole verse even after she had erased the whole thing. I still remember the verses from my first days as a new Christian at age 7.  God bless those Southern Baptist Sunday school teachers.

Why words and phrases?

We learn phrases easily.  We speak in phrases and have thoughts that are phrases.

There are noun phrases

a red rose

and verb phrases…

will fade

 and adjective and adverb phrases…

quite dramatically

 and then,  prepositional phrases…

in the hot sun

Why memorize scripture?  I notice that my husband still retains things he learned by rote. He can recite some scripture like some of The 23rd Psalm though he is in an advanced stage of dementia.

Because it is actually stored in… his heart?

”Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”  KJV

Yes, I have lots of verses from the King James Version in my heart, but that’s because it was what we used in Sunday School.  I went through a time of NIV, and ESV as well.  It doesn’t matter to me… just get it packed in there, all full.

2nd Memorize Scripture Method

The meaning method

For example:  The 23rd Psalm – Most people memorized this in Sunday School, I think.  It is a very calming and encouraging psalm.  Here is an example of how to use “The meaning method” to memorize scripture:

I basically use who what where when why and how questions.

The Lord (who)

is my Shepherd, (what)

I shall not want. (why)

He makes me lie down in green pastures, (how)

he leads me beside still waters, (how)

he restores my soul (how)…

I have to think about what the verse means which helps me learn it more deeply than memorize mere words.

The app method

Yesterday the chalk board, today the cel phone in your pocket.

I downloaded a free app to my cel phone called Fighter Verses.  There are methods on the app to memorize which you just have to check out.  They have trivia, fill in the blank, recite aloud, and more.  They also set the verses to music.  My favorite is the fill in the blank quizzes for learning.  I find it most effective for my learning style best where they give a few words in the verse and I have to remember the others although I think that the verses I learn to music are the longest retained.