Tell me, Douglas: I want to "up my game" in memorising scripture. Is there any good literature you can refer me to where I can learn effective techniques?
There are many books on mnemonics (strengthening our memory power), and also plenty of online advice—for example, the solid suggestions by the Bible Society or MemVerse.com or the Pine Cove Blog. Different memory aids suit different people. We're all wired differently, so I can't say what would be most effective for you. But I'm happy to share from my own experience.
Most of my own scripture memory has come about in one of two ways:
- Rote memory. When I was in plays (in high school) I read the lines over and over, forcing myself to commit them to memory. (It worked!) As a young Christian, I wrote verses on computer cards ands index cards. We had midweek classes, often with 5 verses to learn for the next week. Though many people speak ill of rote memory, it works.
- Deep familiarity. By constant reading and sharing and application of scripture, we can gain great familiarity with the Bible. Most of my memory work has been of the second variety. I always advise new believers, share the scriptures you are leaning with somebody—with anybody!—and your knowledge will grow quickly. Read the Bible cover-to-cover—as often as you can. Whether proceeding straight through or not, do try to read each book in Scripture straight through. After 5 readings it will be familiar territory. After 10 or 20 readings, even more so!
The first of the 30 "Sayings of the Wise" (Proverbs 22:17-18) is
Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;
apply your heart to what I teach,
for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
and have all of them ready on your lips.
"Keeping them in your heart" seems to refer to internalizing the principles, not necessarily memorization. But having the scriptures "ready on your lips" does indeed seem to point to learning them by heart. It's a spiritual practice heartily and repeatedly recommended by men and women of God through the ages.