I have only been memorizing Scripture for a little over a year now, but I have already made plenty of mistakes along the way.
The longer we work toward a goal, the more mistakes we’re bound to make. But hopefully, we’re learning from those mistakes and making tiny little course corrections.
As I’ve memorized 9 books of the New Testament (and counting), here are a few of the biggest mistakes I’ve made that you can learn from and avoid.
Mistake #1: Setting Wildly Ambitious Goals
At the beginning of my Bible memory journey, I set a goal of memorizing the entire New Testament in 2 years. Well, that 2 years is almost up and I’m no where near close of that goal.
I’m nowhere near hitting my initial Bible memory goal!
So, I decided to reset my goal, and that’s okay. After all, while goals are an amazing thing, if that goal is superseding the joy that you feel and the time that you take to meditate on God’s word, then maybe you have your priorities wrong.
Mistake #2: Forcing “Popular” Memory Methods
There is no single bible memory method that will work for everyone. Some people really love singing Scripture to memorize it, others prefer building a memory palace. There are quite a few others who just memorize with rote repetition.
As tempting as it may be to follow the memory methods of you favorite author or creator, make sure you find what works for you and the brain God has given you.
You can also try to refine your methods by applying what you learn from others, but make sure that you personalize it in a way that you think will work for you best.
Mistake #3: Not Making Memory a Daily Habit
In order to make real progress toward this kind of goal, you need to build Bible memory habits.
Personally, I’ve found that if I don’t make memorizing the Bible a daily habit, one day of not memorizing Scripture turns into two…
…then two days turn into three…
…and then all of a sudden, I’ve lost motivation to memorize for a week or two.
Creating a habit can be a very powerful thing. And as pastor Scott Stonehouse mentioned, it really doesn’t have to take long, even just 5 minutes of sitting down and memorizing new scripture is enough.
Mistake #4: Refusing to Celebrate Your Wins
Celebrating your wins and accomplishments is an important part of Bible memory!
Don’t get too legalistic about your celebrations like I used to do. And this doesn’t mean that you need to go parading and showing everybody how spiritual you are because you’ve memorized Scripture, but don’t be afraid to celebrate.
Don’t be afraid to celebrate when you finished memorizing a passage!
Perhaps you can treat yourself to ice cream. Take your family out to dinner. Go hit a round of golf with a friend. “Celebration” looks different for everybody.
If you don’t have a good place to celebrate, join our Bible memory community! One of the joys of being part of this online community is being able to share your wins and have everybody celebrate with you.
Mistake #5: Not Edifying the Body of Christ
To understand this point, let me share what happened last month at our home church here in Thailand. We were going through the book of James when my wife suddenly suggested to have me recite the entire book before we get started.
And of course, I was hesitant. I did not want anybody to think that I was showing off. But everybody actually agreed, they said that they’ll enjoy it.
So, the next week, I did it, and the response was amazing.
We had a full 15-20 minutes conversation about what they learned from actually hearing the entire book and not just reading it. And it wasn’t about how “amazing” I was for being able to memorize the entire book, it was about their experience in actually listening to God’s word.
Often we memorize for our own benefit, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s not a gift you can share with others. We’re not trying to show-off, but don’t be afraid to do it when asked.
Mistake #6: Striving for Polished Perfection
This one’s a huge one for me and I think I need to apologize to a number of you right now.
Whenever I upload videos where I recite books of the Bible recited from memory, I only upload the polished perfect version of me reciting that Scripture. I think that’s been a negative thing because what I actually did was accidentally set a standard for polished perfection, which is unreasonable for me and for anybody who watches.
Ironically, reciting a passage perfectly can often be more discouraging to people.
Would you believe that it took me 2 days and 6 hours of reciting the book of Galatians over and over again on camera before I got it to a point that I was willing to publish it on this YouTube channel? It’s true.
And that’s not good!
I should just be willing to put out an unpolished version of me reciting which I think would actually be more encouraging.
Mistake #7: Not Reviewing Your “Why”
Finally, not revisiting your “why” for memorizing is a huge reason why many of us experience burnouts or at least take long breaks of not memorizing.
Why did you decided to make Scripture memory a priority in your life?
You really need to articulate that for yourself so that when time comes when you feel like its laborious and you feel burned out, you will still find a reason to continue.
Follow along with all the Bible Memory Goal YouTube videos!