My New Challenge – Memorising Proverbs!

I finished memorising Philippians at the beginning of May – thanks to God’s help and strength! After a lot of thought and prayer I have decided to memorise Proverbs next. I know you are all now thinking I’m crazy! Not too long ago I wouldn’t have mentioned this to anyone. Mainly because if I dropped out halfway through then no-one would know, but also because I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was bragging. However I have recently realised that publicising this kind of thing can be a help to others who may be encouraged to do the same or similar, and also that it is like a kind of accountability. Now that I have announced it I have a lot more reason to stick it out!

How I Got Here

I started memorising Philippians a few months back and really enjoyed it. I started off with 5 verses a week, and then realised that if I did a verse a day I could do a chapter a month. I found it so encouraging because I could quote long beautiful passages of scripture, and knew the verses in their context, understood the Bible better, and was able to use them to help others too. Because I found it so helpful I started thinking about which book I would do next.

Then one day I was watching my Twitter feed and saw John Piper had posted something about scripture memory, so I looked at it and found a resource that he had linked to which was all about how to memorize books of the Bible and how useful it was. In that booklet the writer explained that once you had learned a short book at around a verse a day, six days a week, you would then be ready to go on to a longer book and memorise more verses a day. He had memorised Matthew (!!) at the rate of 6 verses a day, 6 days a week! So that set me thinking… hmm… if he memorised Matthew which has 1071 verses in, maybe I could memorise Proverbs since that only has 915 verses, about 100 less!

The reason I was thinking about Proverbs was because I have always wanted to grow in wisdom, and Proverbs holds out lots of promises for that. A while back I was reading through Proverbs and came across this promise which originally put it in my mind that maybe memorising Proverbs would be helpful:

‘If you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you… then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God’ Prov 2:1,5

Also I have been learning Biblical counselling for a while now, and Proverbs is a very practical book which can be really helpful for every day living. So anyway, I weighed it up – the competitors were Ephesians, Colossians, James and 1 Peter. In the end I came to the conclusion that if I died next year Proverbs would have been the best one to learn for me at this time (you never know!) because it would be good for me personally, good for ministry, for raising my children, and for talking to my husband. I also asked my husband which one he thought would be the most useful for me to learn and he agreed. So I went for it!

My Scripture Memory Plan

Dr. Andrew Davis has great advice in his booklet about how to schedule everything, so I got a calculator and figured out verses per day. For the last chapter of Philippians I had experimented with learning three verses a day instead of the usual one, just to see if I could do more! And it actually worked fine, it didn’t take a whole lot longer.

I didn’t think the 6 verses a day that he did while learning Matthew was within my reach right now though, since I have many interruptions during the day with the children, and don’t want to push myself so hard that I stopped enjoying it. In the end I went for 3 verses a day 7 days a week – and added 10% for unknown factors, which came out at around a year. The benefit of scheduling like this is that you have a set goal for finishing, and a set number of verses a day, so it all helps you keep persevering.

I started it at the beginning of May, and my goal is to be finished by the beginning of May 2012. I know it seems like a long long time, but each week I will have more memorised and will be getting closer. I also am going with the advice of reviewing Philippians 100 times before putting it in a weekly slot. So at the moment I am also doing that every day. It is not easy, but it doesn’t take any extra time because I do all my book memorising as I am doing mundane things around the house, like washing dishes, cooking and laundry. And the benefit is that it occupies my thoughts with things of God rather than whatever else I might be dwelling on!

I am not sure what it is going to be like memorising Proverbs, as there is a lot of repetition and comparison, which could make it easier or harder, but I guess I will find out!

A Challenge For You

I realise that memorising Proverbs is a personal challenge. But maybe there is something that you might be wanting to memorise but haven’t got around to doing yet? I think sharing it with others can boost your motivation and staying power, so if you’re wanting to memorise something feel free to share in the comments section! Also Katie Orr over at Do Not Depart has a bunch of tips for scripture memory, and has also introduced a twitter hashtag #HideHisWord for those on twitter to share about their scripture memory journeys. It is always nice to know others who are doing the same thing!

In my next post I hope to share some practical tips on how to memorise long passages and books.

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7 Responses

  1. Brilliant! I can’t believe you are going to memorise Proverbs. That’s amazing! You are a massive encouragement Rhoda. I reckon you’ll have Numbers mastered by December :).

  2. I’m sure you will do it!! Great job!

  3. Katie Orr says:

    “the benefit is that it occupies my thoughts with things of God rather than whatever else I might be dwelling on!”

    Excited for you! I have been thinking about what to do next…but I am giving my self more time to review Philippians. I can’t imagine doing more than a verse a day! But, this is encouragement to experiment a bit.

    What a journey! Looking forward to hearing about your tips!

    Oh, and I have been meaning to tell you that I tried the starting with the last verse first, then adding the second to last verse, etc for reviewing and it has helped. I still have some “weeding” to do at the end of chapter 4. Thanks for the tips.

  4. Rhoda says:

    Thank you for the encouraging comments, I was a bit scared to write this post!

    James if I start memorising Numbers then I’ll definitely be going crazy 🙂

    Katie thanks so much for the comments. I think that is very wise giving yourself some time to review Philippians! I’m glad the reviewing tip helped – that’s what helps me most when there’s a part that I’m dodgy on 🙂

  5. This is SO encouraging. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wow, memorizing Proverbs. That’s brilliant.
    Try playing it on CD in the car or while you do housework. It will help immensely!

  7. Rhoda says:

    Oh that’s a good idea! I will have to try that 🙂