Of course! I’ll try to be brief
EDIT: Narrator: he would not, in fact, succeed in being brief
I’ve attempted to memorize chunks of the bible before. For a couple of years I worked off and on in the book of Romans, and eventually got about half of it down (six chapters), but it was intensely laborious and I ended up fizzling out and pretty much forgot everything I’d learned. Fast forward a few years and I had most of Galatians down (six chapters), but again it took me a long time and just felt like a chore.
The thing is, I personally derived a lot of spiritual benefit from this, it’s just that the process *itself* was a drag, so it was hard to continue. As of 3 years ago, I’d lost Galatians for lack of practice. So I’d kinda written off the whole thing as being for people who were “good at it”.
I’m biblically *literate*, I read the bible a lot, and I know a lot about the bible in general, and where stuff is in general, but I’ve always been dissatisfied with the fact that I believe it to literally be God’s word, but I didn’t actually *know* many of the words in it, especially in context...and especially because a lot of people quote the bible without knowing anything around the words that help understand them. That’s the backstory, the “why”.
About a year later (so, a couple years ago), I was studying James for a while, and one day at work I decided to print out chapter 1 on a small card and carry it around so I could read it….my job is not mentally engaging at all. But it was physically involved enough (packing boxes) that naturally I couldn’t stand around reading the card. I had to glance at it briefly and frequently while doing other things. The result was that I would pick up key words and phrases, and the in-between words would be filled in just from a peripheral glance. As I worked, I ended up having to glance less and less, and by the end of the day I was “reading” James 1 without actually looking at the card very much at all. I’d memorized it literally by accident. Totally blew my mind.
So I tested that out by being intentional, and ended up finishing the other 4 chapters of James in a week. The process was efficient enough that I wasn’t burned out, and enjoyed practice reciting it for the next week or so until it was firmly in my brain. At this point I can go a month between recitations and pretty much nail it word for word. I’ve since memorized quite a bit more.
The difference in this new way versus the old way was primarily the non-linear manner in which I went about it. I didn’t force myself to memorize a sequence of words in order: I organically learned key words and phrases in a paragraph, and gradually filled in the gaps. I didn’t get frustrated and start over every time I missed a word: I just looked back at the card and kept going. Going by paragraphs meant I would learn the *thoughts* and not just the *words*, which in turn helped fill in the words. Not that it was what I would call *easy*, but it was definitely much less difficult. It required *consistency* and *practice* more than *labor*, which helped a lot.
So there you have it: the original method involves carrying around a card and reading it aloud (I don’t really have people near me at work) by glancing at it, and doing so less and less until I just don’t have to glance at it anymore. I wrote this little web app because when I’ve tried to share the process with others, they’d end up kinda *forcing* themselves to jump straight from reading it to reciting it without looking, getting frustrated, and stopping. The app just automates the “glancing away” mechanic so they don’t go too fast.
Naturally, a lot of people memorize things for a lot of reasons other than mine, so I figured I’d share
Last edited by Writhyn (2020-04-08 19:38:05)