Different Ways to Recite Bible Verses

When you're learning Bible verses by heart, how you say them makes a big difference. But there's no one "best" way. Different kinds of recitation strengthen different kinds of memories.

By now, you’ve recited these verses in several ways.

  • You’ve read them slowly, learning them for the first time, and using all the methods for speaking out, taking in, and imagining.

  • You’ve reread them over the first few days, as you filled in the gaps of your memory.

  • You’ve gradually tried to say them without looking. When you’ve come to a tough patch, you’ve checked the words, to solidify your memory.

    Sometimes I call this “rinsing”. It feels like I’m slowly washing away the mud of my muddled forgetting, getting to the crystal clear memory beneath.

  • If you’ve been speaking the verses to friends or family members, you’re already telling the verses as stories. No matter how much expression you use by yourself, speaking to others can bring out more. If you haven’t told the verses to anyone yet, try it! Or at least, plan on trying it when you feel you’ve learned enough verses to tell a complete story.

By now, you may be able to say the first few verses perfectly. If so, try a new way to recite them: fast. I’ve read more than one memorizer recommend that you say the words as quickly as you can.

Why fast? For one thing, it’s different. Different methods help strengthen your memories.

In my case, I find that speed can clear away some unnecessary hesitations. The extra effort helps me focus. I know these verses better than I think I do.

I used to think that a fast recitation was incompatible with imagining. But no matter how fast you can talk, you can imagine faster.

You do have to be careful about speaking fast. We don’t want to slip into a mindset of rushing, where you’re trying to minimize your verse time as a “necessary evil.” And that leads us nicely to tomorrow’s topic: the hazards of rushing.

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