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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How to Memorize Scripture (with Art Journaling!)

Hello friends!  I wanted to share some art journaling I am doing at the Inspired Stamps blog I also host, since I know many of you who come here at God Bless Your Art are looking for mixed-media ideas:

Today, and for the next 4 Fridays in August 2013, I will be sharing what I have found to be the BEST way to memorize Scripture and store it in your heart!  There are many great books out there on memorizing generally and memorizing Scripture, specifically, so my intent is not to go over everything that was ever said on the subject.  I just want to share what I've found that works for ME, (and for many others I have taught or spoken with over the years).

I am an Inductive Bible Study teacher when I am not working on the Inspired Stamps business or blogging, or teaching creative classes.  Inductive Bible Study is, simply put, using the Bible text as the source of your study.  I personally love the Precept Upon Precept studies that are produced from Precept Ministries.  This is because they really focus on finding out what the Bible SAYS, then, using the Bible cross-references and word studies, they focus on finding out what it MEANS (in its context).  Finally, the focus is how to live in light of the truth of the Bible (the application).

From my own study, I have found that the best way to keep from mistakenly taking random verses out of their intended meaning and using them 'alone' to say something that perhaps God never intended when He had them in their context, I memorize larger sections.  In fact, while memorizing paragraphs of Scripture together can be very helpful, I encourage you to memorize CHAPTERS or even better, BOOKS of the Bible.  Now before you panic and leave this post screaming, let me share that it is very DOABLE!!  One verse a day.    That's all it takes.  And you will think on that verse all day long.  What does it say?  Who is it talking about? What does this mean?  What do I learn about God in this verse?  What can I thank Him or praise Him or confess to Him in light of this verse?   ALL.  DAY.  LONG.  Whenever you can, you think on this verse (as the psalmist spoke: day and night I meditate on your law).

I recommend to start with you begin with Psalm 1.  It's short.  It's sweet.  And it's very doable!  You'll know it in a week!

Step by Step to Memorizing Scripture:

1.  You will need a Bible, colored pencils (or crayons!), and notecards (I've shown several ways the notecards come.  I like 3x5 card carriers (either in spiral or ring binder form) because it will fit in my little purse so I always have it with me:
Bible: PICK ONE BIBLE TRANSLATION AND STICK TO IT FOR THIS PROJECT!:  I prefer the New American Standard Bible to both study from and memorize. Other versions: English Standard Version, King James, or New King James are all 3 great because these are translated word-by-word.   Some people really like the NIV, which is a phrase by phrase translation.  I, PERSONALLY, do not use paraphrases, NLT, TLWB, etc because these are phrase by phrase translations (the paraphrases are translated and then paraphrased by the men who author them) and contain the most interpretation as part of the text, and my goal is to get as close to the very words of God as I can with as little of man's 'interpretation' inside the text as possible!  This is my own personal decision. 

2.  What you have above is ALL you NEED to memorize Scripture effectively (although I will be sharing a CREATIVE expression I am doing to help with the memorization a little later on).
1.  Choose what you wish to memorize.
2.  READ it, READ it, READ it.  I try to choose a book of the bible (or chapter) that I have already studied so I understand the historical context of the entire book and the context of the chapters that are in it.
3.  Write out the first verse on the first index card while speaking it outloud.  Like I said, I like to memorize books of the bible so I start chapter 1, verse 1.  I do not worry about memorizing verse numbers, but I do note them on my card.
4.  I color words that are important or that I have a hard time remembering as I memorize the verse.  I also will draw a picture to help myself on some of the verses.  Here is Jude verse 1:
Here is my thinking throughout the day about this verse:  Jude is writing this.  He has 2 ways he describes himself: 1.  a bond-servant of Jesus Christ 2. brother of James.  What does that tell me? Well, a bond-servant is a word used to describe a willing slave.  Someone whose life is completely submitted to the 'owner' or 'Master'.  I could write a book about this, but it reminds me of my own position as bond-servant to Jesus.  He is my Lord.  My life's focus is on serving and loving HIM.   Next we see Jude is a brother of James.  James is half-brother to Jesus (same moms; God is Jesus' Father).  So Jude is Jesus' half-brother, too.
Notice I put TO bold:  Who is Jude writing TO?  3 things about the recipients:  1 those who are the called 2 beloved in God the Father 3 kept for Jesus Christ.  We could look up called, beloved, and kept to see what those mean.  I won't teach a lesson here, but these are great things to think on!  Am I called, beloved, kept?  Is there important things to know in this book that I, as a fellow believer, need to pay attention to?

OK...you get the picture.  Day 2 will be the next 3x5 card with the next verse printed on it the same way. Use YOUR handwriting and speak the verse outloud as you write it.  It helps you remember it!  Day 2 I will repeat verse 1 and then read Day 2's verse.  This continues until I reach the last verse, where I am repeating all of Jude before memorizing the last verse.  Once I have a book, and can remember it (you'll be surprised how easy this is!) I move onto the next book.  I am about to study Ephesians and will be memorizing it next. Remember to keep these cards with you all the time!

REVIEW:  If you want the books you learn to stay in your long-term memory, you must review them a couple times a week (or at least once a week).  I do this BEFORE I start my memory verse for the day.

Remember:  You are memorizing and meditating on these verses (thinking on them while you fold the laundry, sit in the car, etc).  This is the goal.  Knowing your God more.  The goal is not to memorize the Bible, but to KNOW the God of the Bible by KNOWING His Word.  Enjoy the process and remember, this isn't about how fast or how many.

My favorite creative expression that significantly helps me retain the verses and ENJOY this process more:

1.  In addition to the materials for the basic steps above (not instead of, but in addition to!)  I love to get these Scriptures into my art!  Here's what I have selected as I start my memorization of the book of Ephesians to keep the materials simple for all of you to begin your own with me! (Remember, I recommend you start with a Psalm or Proverb or maybe even the Christmas Story in Luke until you are confident in the method):
  I pull out all my alphabet Inspired Stamps, ink, and acrylic blocks (as well as other stamps that are good for Art Journaling)
 This is my favorite journal because it's big, It has a closure, and it can handle any ink I want to throw on it!  You can use a mixed-media journal or paper that you choose!
I am sticking with watercolors (mostly) and permanent WATERPROOF pens/markers.  I always have a Signo white pen for white ink!

2.  Here is how I made my first page for my Jude Art Journal (I used watercolor paper and a mix of acrylics for this book so starting next Friday, you'll see the watercolors in my new Ephesians Art Journal):
 I start off painting my background.  Then I write in the first couple of words.  Do not worry if you don't like the black on a darker part of paint at this point.  I'll show you how to make it better later:
The word bond-servant is significant in this verse so I used my SOLID ALPHABET LOWERCASE  Inspired Stamps to stamp it in.  My paint is dry, so the Momento works fine here (otherwise I'd have to use the Staz-On so it wouldn't run if I'd planned to watercolor more over it.)

 I continue writing and stamping to get the photo above.  I can leave it like that, but I want to show you how to make it pop with the white Signo pen:

It just makes it look SO MUCH better with that.  I also added 'tails' to all my letters (could use dots, etc).
So now not only am I thinking on these words all day, but I am incorporating it into my Art Journaling!  This is the BEST way to start keeping a Scripture Art Journal I know of.  You don't have to think of what to write, you get to play with the paints, then write God's Word in the book.  This completed album becomes an artistic treasure of God's Word that I can use to review once I know this book!

I'd love to hear your questions or feedback!  Let me know in the comments if this is something you'd like to try!

I'll be back next Friday for part 2 of this.  I'll share all 7 days of my Ephesians' Art Journal with you and share some more tips as we go!

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I pray you will be blessed with storing God's Word in YOUR heart, as well!
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Maribel Estrada said...

I have been wondering for such a long time as to how I could memorize scripture and incorporate it to my art journaling and you have given me the perfect way!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I am definitely going to try this. Thank you for the inspiration. Blessings.

Antoinette said...

Thank you for your comment! Come over to www.inspiredstamps.blogspot.com for our newest series 31 Days of Art Journaling your Bible Study!

susanwalkergirl said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I love scripture and mixed media art and would love to learn how to do it.

Blessings in Christ...Susan

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