Memorization is a universal human skill

memory bannerI’m telling ya: you already know more Scripture than you think you do!  Be encouraged!  The fact is, we all memorize tons of information all the time!  We all have a LOT more memorized than we realize…

  • birthdays & anniversaries
  • other important dates & occasions
  • telephone numbers
  • locations, addresses, & directions
  • song tunes & lyrics – did you know that the average person knows about 3,500 melodies and song lyrics by heart?!
  • TV show theme songs
  • product jingles from TV & radio commercials
  • movie quotes
  • sports statistics
  • rules for games
  • name recall & facial recognition
  • languages, vocabulary, proper nouns, acronyms, word meanings – the average person knows about 50,000 words along with their meanings & usage!
  • smell & taste memory
  • spacial awareness/memory (finding your way in the dark)
  • muscle memory; typing on a keyboard; playing a musical instrument
  • the ingredients in a favorite cooking recipe

How do you know all of this? How have we managed to memorize this incredible volume of information!? Because we’ve heard it & said it & sung it – over & over & over & over again… The “secret” to memorization is… REPETITION! (Not really much of a secret, huh!?)

You can do it! You can memorize ANYthing if you repeat it enough times!

Here, let’s just try this out as an exercise.  I’m going to start a few statements, and you see if you can say the next few words of each one, just off the top of your head.  Ready?

  • Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house… (Clement Clarke Moore)
  • Friends, Romans, countrymen… (Mark Antony)
  • Joy to the world… (Isaac Watts)
  • I pledge allegiance to the flag… (Francis Bellamy)
  • Twinkle, twinkle, little star… (Jane Taylor)
  • Keep calm and… (Winston Churchill)
  • The only thing we have to fear… (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
  • Look both ways before… (pedestrian’s adage)
  • Ask not what your country can do for you… (John F. Kennedy)
  • To be or not to be… (Hamlet)
  • Tis better to have loved and lost… (Alfred Lord Tennyson)
  • Jesus loves me, this I know… (Anna Bartlett Warner)
  • Hark, what light from yonder window breaks?… (Romeo)
  • This is one small step for a man… (Neil Armstrong)

Now, let’s try another exercise. This time, I am going to start a few verses of Scripture, and you see if you can say the next few words of each one, just off the top of your head.  Ready?

  • The Lord is my Shepherd… (Psalm 23:1)
  • In the beginning, God… (Genesis 1:1)
  • Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting… (Proverbs 31:30)
  • Better is one day in Your courts… (Psalm 84:10)
  • For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)
  • I am the Vine… (John 15:5)
  • You should love the Lord, your God, with… (Mark 12:30)
  • Rejoice in the Lord always… (Philippians 4:4)
  • Seek ye first the kingdom of God… (Matthew 6:33)
  • Create in me a clean heart oh God… (Psalm 51:10)
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord… (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • For it’s by grace… (Ephesians 2:8)
  • Jesus Christ is the same yesterday… (Hebrews 13:8)
  • Delight yourself in the Lord… (Psalm 37:4)
  • Do unto others… (Matthew 7:12)
  • Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good… (Psalm 118:1)
  • If God is for us… (Romans 8:31)
  • As iron sharpens iron… (Proverbs 27:17)
  • I can do all things… (Philippians 4:13)
  • Go into all the world… (Matthew 28:19)
  • Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young… (1 Timothy 4:12)
  • For all have sinned… (Romans 3:23)
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart… (Proverbs 3:5)
  • Be still… (Psalm 46:10)
  • The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy… (John 10:10)
  • I am the Way… (John 14:6)
  • This is the day that the Lord has made… (Psalm 118:24)

See how many of those you knew!?  I bet most people reading this knew, say, half or more of those verses.  You know more Scripture than you think!

memory cardsAlright, now how many of you are totally discouraged because you didn’t know very many of those verses at all?  That’s okay! Memorization is a universal skill. We ALL have the ability to memorize – in fact, we all memorize things all the time – usually without even knowing it. Things stick even better when we actively memorize them!

Now, don’t think that Scripture memory is just for people who have grown up in church and have a Scriptural foundation in their minds. That is a good starting place – that was my starting place, and it served me well. But about 50 verses in, I realized I was just going to have to put in the consistent, daily work to write God’s Word on my heart, just like anyone else who is just starting out with the Lord.

The fact is, we are ALL experts at memorization, and we use our skill to memorize things CONSTANTLY!  Be encouraged!  You CAN memorize God’s Word! You already have every tool you need – including the mental capability – to do it!

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