Open Bible

Thanks to everyone who gave positive feedback about our latest adventure:  Memorizing the entire book of Colossians.  I’ve had several inquiries about how we actually did it…what it looked like day-to-day.  So instead of emailing each of you individually I thought I’d tell you about my experience and pull together a few resources for you as well.  {Call me lazy if you must…}


If you look around online, you’ll find that most “big chunk” memorization techniques are pretty much the same.  Memorize one verse on the first day.  The next day review the first verse and add one more.  This is basically what we did, but realistically there were a few changes.  As much as I wanted to stick with a rigid plan, this is actually a more accurate picture of how we memorized the whole book.


Day One–Memorize Colossians 1:1.  Read the verse aloud 10 times.  Say it 10 times from memory.  {Easy peasy.  Took about 5 minutes.}


Day Two–Memorize Colossians 1:2, review 1:1.  Review 1:1 by reciting it several times {this changed from time to time but usually about 5-10 times.}  Read 1:2 aloud 10 times.  Recite 1:2 from memory 10 times.  Say both verses once.


Day Three–Memorize Colossians 1:3, review previous verses.  Review 1:2 by saying it several times, read 1:3 ten times aloud, recite it 10 times from memory, say the whole thing once.


Okay.  You get the picture.  Keep doing this day after day–adding only one verse at a time.


Now–When that passage of Scripture started to get lengthy the plan changed a bit.  A lot of times, we only reviewed the previous verse by reciting it once or twice, just to save time since reciting the whole thing started to take up more and more time.  Once we crossed over the half way mark, there were some days we didn’t even review everything we knew up to that point every day.  By the time you are to Chapter 3, verse 1, 1:1 will be almost second nature to you.  In fact, the whole first chapter will seem so easy to recite you could do it in your sleep.  So…sometimes we would only recite the chapter we were working on, or a chunk of verses surrounding our new verse.


We saw memorizing as a team sport.  I highly recommend working with your spouse–if you have one.  It’s fun.  For real.  We did a lot of memorizing while we road tripped.  In this case, it wasn’t safe for Derek to take his eyes off the road to read the verse 10 times, so I did it for us.  I’d read the verse 10 times aloud.  He’d repeat it back.  Then I’d recite it from memory.  When we recited all that we knew we would alternate verses.  When we weren’t together–we just did our memorization individually and checked in with each other…making sure neither of us fell behind.


Verse numbers?  Most resources you find online will tell you to memorize the verse numbers.  Lots of resources suggest that when you recite a verse you say it like this:


Colossians 1:1 I, Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God and our brother Timothy.  Colossians 1:2  To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse:  Grace and peace to you from God the father.  Colossians 1:3  We always thank God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ when we pray for you, Colossians 1:4…..


Maybe that will work for you, but it didn’t work for me.  Breaking up the text with the verse numbers ever time I recited it just broke up the meaning and caused me to lose my train of thought.  Instead, I found that I could keep track of each verse in my head.  About every five verses I made a point to remember which verse number I was on so I couldn’t get too far off track.  And since we did recitation together {alternating verses} usually Derek would catch my mistakes and I’d catch his.


With the method outlined above it’s plausible to memorize Colossians in 95 days, as there are 95 verse in the book.  It took me much longer than that.  I started in July.  I finished at the beginning of February.  That’s about six months–nearly twice as long as the estimate.  But that’s okay.  Life happens.  We get sick and unmotivated and family comes to town and Christmas festivities take over our brains.  That’s fine.  At first when my deadline came and went I was a little disappointed, but in the end I realized that it’s not how fast we were doing it, but that we were doing it at all.  That we’d stayed committed and were willing to see it through to the very last verse.


So that’s my story.  Here are some resources for you as you set out on your very own Scripture memorizing journey.  Find a technique that works for you and go for it!


Here’s a post from someone who grew up participating in Bible Quiz.  He explains how he memorized more than 500 verses in a single year.


This is an amazing PDF that explains the technique I described above as well as information about retaining memorized Scripture, how to choose the book you want to work on, and why it’s such an enriching experience.


And this is a blog post with 10 good reasons to memorize a big chunk.  You can totally do this!


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