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Repetition Is Memory’s Best Friend

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in Blog, Books, Food for Thought | 1 comment

I have a sweat shirt that reads, Too many books. Not enough time. Have you ever felt like that, not necessarily with just books, but with time in general? There never seems to be enough of it. I am quite convinced that had the creator(s) of our 7-day week made it an 8-day week, we would still complain that there was never enough time.

But back to the theme of books!

Boooks groupedHaving just come from the 2016 Write! Canada Conference in Toronto sponsored by The Word Guild, the word books seemed to be the order of the day. After all, writers write books, and it should come as no surprise to hear that yes, indeed, we had a bookstore. It was well stocked with books on how-to and how-notto; books on writing well; books on growing a novel or experiencing an epiphany in one’s writing experience. And then, of courseCovers for both books 2, there were the books written by those in attendance, such as yours truly.

Looking at the variety available and with the knowledge that I had a sufficient supply, I wandered through the bookstore, curious to see what was new. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that what I had already purchased over the years was still considered an excellent source of information (Those discoveries always make me feel wise and learned!) I had predetermined not to buy another book this year, and I didn’t… well, except one, entitled The Dimwit’s Dictionary (5000 Overused Words and Phrases and Alternatives to Them). Really, you can’t blame me for buying a book with that title! Besides, this particular edition was on sale for $7.00 and has joined the prestigious position of being right in front of me on my desk shelf, along with my other 34 books!

books with bibleBut of all my many books that occupy shelves in my bedroom and den, one sits apart from all the others. It’s my Bible, and it sits on my coffee table in my living room. With the many translations available, it’s easy to have more than one and I do have several. I even have my mother’s 4 volume KVJ Bible that she studied from while in training as a Salvation Army officer in her single years. It’s in disrepair and it has always been my desire to have it rebound.

Recently, at a retreat designed for women in ministry in their church, I learned of a new method of memorizing scripture. I understand that this is not a new concept, but it’s new to me, and anything that helps me with memory, especially Bible verses… well, you can count me in!

Let me give you an example. James 1:19-21 says,

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. (NIV)

Two months ago, I would have smiled and closed the Bible rather than believe that I could possibly memorize such a lengthy verse. Why? Let’s face it. With each turn of the calendar, the ability to remember becomes more challenging. So why bother? Well, learning God’s Word is worth the bother!

So here’s what I learned (thanks to Beth Gibson). Re-write the verse with the first letter of each word! Simple as that. This is what it looks like

M   D   B,  T   N   O   T: E   S   B   Q   T   L,  S   T   S   A   S   T   B   A,  F   M   A  D  N   B   A   T   R   L   T   G   D.  T,  G   R   O   A   M   F   A   T   E   T   I   S   P   A   H   A   T   W   P   I   Y,  W   C   S   Y.

Book 6Looks like one very long Greek word, doesn’t it? But here’s the secret. Write the verse out in a small, coiled, lined book once a day, followed by the letters, and do this for five days. Make sure you write the reference and don’t feel you have to memorize it without looking at the letters. That might come, but that’s not the goal. Remember, like anything else, repetition is memory’s best friend! And if you really want to takBook 1e this to the next level, flip to the back of your little coiled book and write just the reference and the letters and go over them each time you write out the verse at the front of the book. It’s simply amazing how quickly your brain catches on!

So, enjoy! I have thirteen verses ‘coded’ in the back of my book, along with 1 Corinthians 13 and Ephesians 3:16-19 (that one is taking me longer. But then again, I’ve only written it out once!) I hope to continue this throughout the summer and I challenge you to do the same thing!

I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:11(NIV)

One Comment

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  1. Heather.

    I have heard that we use a very small portion of our brain,. I am with you and others that there is so much more to learn. 🙂 … I accept your challenge.

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