Why to Learn Verses Perfectly

Should you try to learn the verses perfectly? Yes. Because perfection is easier than “almost”.

It’s easier to learn a verse perfectly than to almost learn it.

Paradoxical, I know. But it’s true. I know from experience.

I myself have “almost” memorized hundreds of verses. I’ve memorized the entire Gospel of Mark. But with the techniques I used at the time, I didn’t learn them all to perfection.

Today, I can say many of these verses perfectly. But many other verses, I’ll say with a slight paraphrase, or the occasional missed word or phrase.

You might think, so what? What’s a mistake here and there, if you still basically know the whole Gospel?

Perfection Is Easier Than “Almost”

For years, I thought so too. Then I realized something. Every time I hit a patch I wasn’t perfectly sure about, I had to hesitate. I had to consider two or more possibilities for what comes next.

Not only did this waste time and create anxiety, but it made the whole memory shakier. Blurrier. More likely to fail next time.

These days, I’m “polishing” my earlier memories from Mark and other books all the way to perfection. I know that whenever I hit a “shaky” verse, I need to check the text and repair this memory right away.

If I were to skip this step, I would create more work for myself. My mind would know that I wasn’t sure about this verse. Next time, my hesitation would be the same, or worse.

Avoid Uncertainty or You’ll Remember That You Forget!

Back when I was settling for “almost”, I was actually memorizing the entire experience of not quite knowing the verse.

Your memory is that amazing. You can memorize that you have trouble memorizing something.

The stronger this flawed memory becomes, the harder it will ever be to learn the verse correctly. You have too much mental baggage – half-memories of all the different versions you concocted in your mental thrashing. It’s a mess.

Perfection Is Simple

By contrast, when you know a verse perfectly, you know you know it perfectly. It’s easy. No more stress. You get a flash of exactly how the verse looks or sounds.

It’s easier to learn a verse perfectly than to almost learn it. The key is to correct your uncertainties right away by checking the text.

With the cumulative method that I use now, learning verses perfectly is actually quite simple. No mnemonics required. Just attention, imagination, and reasonable repetition.