Memorising Scripture

I follow Nathan Kitchen’s excellent blog, Bible Snippets. A little while ago he posted about the value of memorising parts of the Bible and shared a YouTube video of Ryan Ferguson reciting a section from Hebrews. I had learnt whole chapters before – Isaiah 35, Isaiah 53 and a couple of Psalms – but couldn’t remember them very well now. Nathan’s post rekindled my interest in attempting to learn some more.

The following Sunday we were reading from 1 Corinthians 15. It is a very powerful chapter about the importance of resurrection from the dead. Without it, what hope do we have? (v12-19) If, however, Christ was raised from the dead, we can be too (v20-24).

It is a reasonably long chapter, 58 verses in all, but I decided I would try to learn it. I cannot recommend it highly enough:

  • I noticed things about the chapter that I had never seen before. This deepens my appreciation both of the chapter and the Bible in general.
  • I have always loved the logical flow of the chapter, but I came to feel the emotion of it as well. Without any resurrection our faith is vain…embrace the resurrection and “thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • Parts of the chapter spring to mind when reading other parts of the Bible, helping me to see the Bible explaining itself.
  • I can read through the chapter without having a Bible to hand e.g. driving to and from work.

A few practical points. I’m no memory expert, but this has worked for me so far:

  • I found it much easier than I was expecting to. It looked like a mighty lot of text to learn to begin with, but I think it is easy to underestimate our own memories.
  • Split the chapter into manageable chunks. Read each section and try to understand what those verses are telling you and put them into their context in the chapter. This is a valuable exercise in itself, but learning the overall structure of the chapter helped me to remember each individual section.
  • Say it like you mean it. I pace around the living room waving my arms. Putting expression and emotion into what you are saying helps you to remember it.
  • Learn a little at a time. Repeat often.

Now I would remind you, brother and sisters, of the gospel which I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved…