you wish you knew more about the Bible?
What if you could make the Bible study time you have much more
This is your opportunity.
Using this document, it can be much simpler to remember important facts about the bible—even memorize the location and summaries of important scriptures.
I realize that computers can now search the entire bible for a single keyword within milliseconds, and some might argue that this makes scripture memorization unnecessary. However, we cannot be certain that we won’t be required to make an immediate decision with which we wish to consult God’s word. In the future that might not be so easy, and the advantage of knowing God’s word immediately will be extremely helpful. Even so, such knowledge is also useful for looking up a scripture via computer.
Psalm 119:9 says:
Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.
Here’s the good news:
After decades of medical research, it has finally been shown that brain cells are replenished by the body. Therefore, if I properly stimulate it and give it the proper nutrition, I can combat the effects of aging, and increase my brain power. Having a mind and body in peak condition is a big first step to reducing the workload involved for scripture memorization.
To optimize bible study time, some discipline is required. Before studying the mnemonics, it will be helpful to develop the routines outlined below. Excuse me if many of these are extremely obvious, but I know that I too often forget to do one or more of them occasionally. So go get your spork, because it’s time for the five P’s:
1. Preparation: the old tried and true methods still hold here.
a. Read the mnemonics whenever you get the chance. An effective way is to print out cards and put them on a ring, to read over whenever a spare minute comes along.
b. While doing mindless tasks, try to recall some of the mnemonics you have learned recently.
2. Pick n’ stick: choose your bible translation, and stick with it for memorizing scripture. Trying to memorize verses from more than one version gets confusing
a. A little research can divulge much. Go out with an open mind and pray you find the right translation for you.
b. When not trying to memorize, I encourage you to contrast and compare the wordings of different versions.
3. Prayer: God controls everything, and he wants you to memorize more of his scripture.
a. Petition God to bless your study of his word, and help put it in your heart and mind. Ask for understanding—memorizing something you don’t understand makes it of no personal value. He will certainly be pleased with such a request.
b. Prepare a list of the things in your life that you are grateful for—and when you pray, be sure to mention them.
4. Peak nutrition:
a. Partake plenty of purified water
· Buy a water filter. Among other things, dehydration hinders brain functions and fat loss (and can also promote wrinkles!).
b. Partake of food based vitamins.
· Food-based vitamins almost always are labeled as such. Vitamins synthesized from tar may be safe, but who can tell? Remember, ALL VITAMINS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL.
c. Partake of the monounsaturated fats.
· Fish, nuts, and olive oil. These fats are BRAIN FOOD.
Did you know nutrient deficiencies cause of many of man’s ills?
5. Physical Performance: an occasional walk or bicycle ride makes a difference in vitality—and lifting weights is inherently better for fat loss and muscle gain. Exercising actually improves productivity, so instead of losing time to exercise, you may actually gain more free time.
a. Start small. Work with less than 5 pounds if you have to—and gradually increase weight.
b. Plan it out—either with paper or a spreadsheet. My experience is that this improves gains drastically—otherwise you won’t remember your entire workout four days later.
The better you feel, the more willing you are to study!
A mnemonics device is some sort of organized system which makes it easier for your brain to recall information. Usually, it involves linking several areas of the brain together to increase ability to recall. As such, mnemonics are typically as effective for storing information as rote memorization, but require much less effort to store that information.
Computer programmers sometimes refer to GIGO. It stands for 'Garbage in, garbage out'—meaning a computer will only perform well if given good instructions. The human brain, though more powerful by far, follows the same principle. Organizing its data in a meaningful fashion makes recall much simpler.
It's the difference between active information archival and passive information archival. Archiving actively is like habitually keeping a tidy file cabinet, where you can find things. Archiving passively is like arbitrarily leaving items scattered over a desk. Maybe you can find something later, but it probably won’t be easy.
Imagine that a young life insurance salesman is cruising down a dirt road, looking for the town of Recall, Alabama—where he is scheduled to meet with a client in less than an hour. He frantically checks the map, but can never locate the elusive city; so, finding a local service station, he pulls in and decides to ask for directions. The clerk replies that an indirect path exists, but the roads are not paved. He will have to cross a mountain and circle around twice before he can get there.
The young salesman does eventually find Recall, but nearly two hours late. He’s very tired from the journey. So he doesn’t make the sale. Angrily, he slams his car door and throws all his protractors to the ground. Then his car spontaneously ignites, leaving his car in flames, and forcing him to hop home. He manages to sleep for a few months in an old abandoned Starbuck’s, where he brews espresso in a jug—until he is chased off by wild swans. Since he is more than twelve hours late, his wife remarries. Upon his return his friends all laugh and throw éclairs.
However, through the months that follow, more people decide to visit Recall—no doubt due to our salesman’s misadventure. In fact, so many people decide to visit that the state eventually decides to put in a much shorter, more direct route. This route is able to better accommodate the traffic for some time. And even later, the road gets so much traffic that the state decides to make the route a 4-lane state highway.
Much like the Alabama department of transportation, the brain is constantly building connections and improving our neural network to respond to our needs. This is how rote memorization works—which requires far more time and effort. My goal is to do it all the lazy man’s way, putting forth as little effort as possible to achieve the same goal. Lazy men are often technological innovators, you see.
Have you ever used a search engine? Most of you have. You may have encountered tags—keywords which help a website get noticed by a search engine. When searching, if a query resembles a website’s tag, it will list the website as a possible query result. Generally speaking, then, more tags embedded within a page mean that the page is more likely to get noticed by a search engine. The seven tags used by this system are as follows: pictorial, sound-alike, rhyme, alliteration, acronym, absurdity, and numeric.
There are several common types of mnemonics devices. In the first, the 'pictorial' approach, one visualizes a familiar area with his imagination. It might be a backyard, a household room, or even a made-up street—perhaps 'Memory lane'. Using the imagination, items from a list are placed in stationary positions within the room. An imaginary trip through the room reminds you of all the items on the list. This approach is highly personal, though, so it will have to be modified for our methods.
At the core of the 'pictorial' technique is mental imagery. Specific words, such as ‘lamb’ and ‘crossbow’ immediately convoke images, and therefore utilize more parts of the brain than less-specific words, such as ‘mammal’ and ‘weapon’. Perhaps there is truth to the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.
A useful method for remembering complex numeric sequences will be expounded upon in a later section. In it, the numbers 0-9 are each given a consonant—one that closely resembles the number it represents. As in the Hebrew language, vowels are omitted, so it becomes easy to make up words and phrases that represent the sequences. I use this numeric approach combined with the 'sound-alike' and 'pictorial' approach to represent specific scriptures. It sounds complicated, right? In this situation, diversity is good; for it exercises more parts of your brain, thus increasing brain power.
Poems and songs work well, because of the imagery and rhyme scheme involved. Silliness also adds makes items easier to remember. In my experience, the more absurd, large, or bizarre something is, the easier it is for it to stick out from the other mundane details. As such, some of the mnemonic devices herein are silly—but not trivial.
The first approach I applied to mnemonics is what I call the 'sound-alike' approach. This uses the auditory part of your brain to help retrieve stored information. In this approach, syllables sound enough like English words to remind the listener of a sentence which serves to give a brief description of that individual. Here is an example to illustrate:
Drusilla: Felix' wife drew silly pictures
There's not too much about Drusilla in the Bible, except that she was Felix' wife. The 'drew silly' sounds like Drusilla. I honestly don't know whether she did or not, but it helps people to form a mental picture of that scene in their minds, again incorporating the pictorial approach. It also incorporates absurdity.
Short poems work well to stimulate recollection. Due to the difficulty in finding a sound-alike for many Bible names, I often made use of rhythm and rhyme to drive home the information. They seem to be, by and large, as effective as the sound-alike approach.
Where possible, I have incorporated pronunciations into the mnemonic devices, via the use of words people commonly understand how to pronounce. No human being knows exactly how the Hebrew names are supposed to sound, because the original Hebrew language never recorded vowel sounds in their writings. However, there are pronunciations which are dominant in most religious communities. I have always attempted to use the most common pronunciations used today for simplicity's sake.
My purpose behind the names is for to stimulate recall when names are spoken aloud. That is, I hope that when you hear someone's name mentioned in a sermon or conversation, you immediately remember a key point or two about that individual.
So why did I delve into such detail over such a simple concept? The reason is simply that I don't want people memorizing wrong information! And I don't want you to look silly by going into a conversation and mispronouncing Bezaleel's name! It never hurts to thoroughly analyze your source before blindly absorbing information. Especially if that information is free.
It is my sincere hope that, through thoroughly studying this text, many people will gain a fundamental recollection of the Bible that they otherwise would not have gained, and eventually be able to command a firm grasp of scripture.
So, without further ado, let us proceed to the memorization lists!
MEMORIZING SCRIPTURE WITH MNEMONICS
There exist several ways for memorizing the books in which particular scriptures are found. One can memorize the number of a particular book, and encode that information into a word of the mnemonic. That is more effort than is necessary for our purposes. I therefore recommend one of two different approaches:
1. Memorize the word and picture of an object which sounds similar to the book name. This is the pictorial approach.
2. Memorize a series of letters based on the book name, from which words can be constructed and inserted into the mnemonic. This is the sound-alike approach.
Next, we come to the critical part—memorizing
series of numbers as words. The
letter-for-number approach is well-known, and should prove useful for memorizing
information even beyond scriptures, such as memorizing the telephone numbers of
people you hit it off with at parties. Remember
that the numbers refer to sounds, not letters—so ‘tt’ has the same sound as
‘t’. Most consonants are represented,
but it is left to the encoder to choose proper vowels and form meaningful words
which will be remembered. Here goes:
COMMON FILLER WORDS WHICH CONTAIN NO NUMBERS
A, ah, aha, awe, aye, ewe, eye, ha, hah, hath, hay, hee, hey, hue, Hugh, thaw, owe, the, thou, though, thy, we, wee, way, whey, whoa, why, woe, Yahweh, yay, yeah, you, yow.
The mnemonic ‘Robot Eye’ (a robot's silly-looking eye) refers to Isaiah. However, a problem becomes apparent. ‘Robot’ has three consonants in 'Robot' –R, B, and T—so is it Isaiah 4:91 or 49:1? If you’re familiar with Isaiah, it should be obvious. But problems like this are not always so.
Consequently, I decided it was necessary for a sound to represent the colon. Since virtually all consonant sounds have been taken by the number system, it made some sense to represent the colon by the vowel that most closely resembles the colon: a lower-case i. So, anytime an 'i' is used in the scripture part of the mnemonic, it represents a colon!
Upon making the change, we change the mnemonic to ‘Rabbit Eye’, unmistakably referencing Isaiah 49:1. But, how might one remember what the verse is about? The only apparent solution is to choose more words to make the scripture more obvious! Granted, this complicates the system further—but the system becomes quite useful if properly understood. The best way to explain further is via examples.
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 20:8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
[Description] [Book] [Verse]
MNEMONIC: Sabbath holy eggs: a nosy wife.
Exodus 2 0 :8
‘Sabbath holy’ summarizes the verse. ‘Eggs’ represents the book; and ‘a nosy wife’ represents chapter 20 and verse 8. Remembering the picture of the eggs with the verse should make it simpler to remember.
SCRIPTURE: 2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
MNEMONIC: Inspired mid-show timer,
The word ‘inspired’ should allow for easy recall about the point of the verse. For 2nd Timothy, we use ‘timer’. Since it obviously refers to a book, it does not make any difference whether it precedes or follows a scripture mnemonic.
SCRIPTURE: Gen 26:5 “…because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My
commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
MNEMONIC: Abraham obeyed again, on Joy hill.
This time, instead of the pictorial approach, we chose the sound-alike approach in order to allow flexibility. The summary of the verse: Abraham obeyed. ‘Again’, with the consonant sounds hard g and n, refers to Genesis. The next important letters are n, j, i, and l—26:5.
SCRIPTURE: Pro 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
MNEMONIC: There’s a way to pave Triton! (the largest moon of Neptune)
Titan, of course, is Neptune’s largest moon. Paving it would be nearly impossible, but may become necessary if department stores keep growing. But that’s another story. To remember the gist of the verse, we retain, “There’s a way”. The word pave has the consonants p and v, referring to the book of Proverbs, as mentioned in the next section. Triton contains the letters t, r, i, t, and n: 1, 4, :, 1, and 2 respectively.The method used for encoding book names is detailed in the next section.
These scripture mnemonics all utilize the systems discussed previously. After going through the sentences mentally a few times, try to find them in your bible by decoding them.
SOME EASY ONES
We have now seen two different practical systems for memorizing scripture. In the first, one can remember pictures to show bible books, and in the second, one can remember a combination of consonants and make various words with them. Perhaps one will work for a scripture if the other does not, so try experimenting.
The final part of this booklet deals with memorization of useful lists. They should all be self-explanatory.
This is the way the disciples run:
Peter, Andrew, James and John;
Phillip and Bartholomew;
Thomas next, and Matthew, too.
James the less and Judas the greater
Simon the zealot and Judas the traitor
The man states, the roofer rants: Manasseh U.S. Reuben France
“Finland is a car!” He chants. Issachar Finland
“Ash's bell looks at Gad's switch; Asher Belgium Gad Switzerland
Holland's zebra's in a ditch! Zebulun Holland
In Dan's den on Ira's land, Dan Ireland
No one naps, we don't binge nor stand. Naphtali Sweden BenjamiNorway
Though Judah is now mostly scattered, Judah Scattered
Some are British—the frame is shattered.” Ephraim Britain
[Ephraim & Manasseh—AKA Joseph]
Blood froths naturally; flies like boiled hail. Locate darkness first.
After the kingdom divided, only eight kings could be called righteous, and they all ruled Judah:
Hezekiah Asa Azariah Amaziah Jehoshaphat Jotham Joash Josiah
His astounding azure amazon jests jovially, joshing Josie.
Unjust and unimportant.
To make the most of this system, two things should be memorized first: the number alphabet, and the Sound-Alike column of the Bible code key. That should be all that is necessary to decode the everything in the included Scripture Mnemonics section. Afterward, I recommend frequent reviews. While you read, always visualize in your mind to improve recollection. So test yourself. Come up with a name and see if you can remember anything about that individual using the supplied mnemonics. If not, perhaps more review is in order.
I hope that this gives you the foothold you need to remember more about the bible, and leads to an increase in the quality of your life. Feel free to get ambitious on your own time, even distribute more mnemonics to others if you so desire. And as always, don’t forget to read the Bible!
I encourage you to share this document with others.
This document may not be sold.
©2011 Kenneth W. Young