Is this a solid way to learn 1,000s of Bible verses?

Hi everyone,
I posted about 18 months ago, but wanted to start my findings on a new topic and hopefully get some feedback / suggestions. :slight_smile:

I want to be able to learn 1,000s of (non-sequential) Bible verses - the ones that ‘jump’ out at me. I have the following ‘plan’, but before I start on what will no doubt take years, I don’t want to make a mistakes and then find out in six month’s time, that I have pretty much wasted six months as something that I hadn’t thought would be an issue turned out to be a show stopper…

Here’s my plan:

Use a Memory Palace:
I need 66 rooms / loci, so, I am thinking of one of the following 3 options for this:

  1. I haven’t lived in a house with this number of areas, so I was thinking of using probably three houses that I have lived in the make up this number (I will try to find one of he New Testament and see if I can logically split the Old Testament books into the other two houses).
  2. Use a virtual tour journey of the Titanic. There are a number of great videos on YouTube that have a virtual tour of the Titanic before her ill-fated maiden voyage. I am considering using part of one of these for my 66 locations.
  3. My third option is the City in which I live (Edinburgh, Scotland). Either mapping the centre of town (with a journey that has 66 steps) using Google Maps street view, or…
    3a) finding the 66 most notable places in Edinburgh and using them.

So which one of the above do you think would work the best?

My next conundrum (and one that I would also loved to hear your thoughts on) is whether to use the Major System, or Dominic System for the chapter and verse numbers (the book being established by the loci). Is one ‘better’ than the other (or perhaps more specifically better for what I want to use it (and easier would be good too))?

Finally, my ‘plan’ is to link the chapter / verse number with the text of the verse using 1, 2, or 3 images to work visually with either the Major or Dominic System.
For example, to remember John 3:16 (‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not perish, but have eternal life’), I would picture a heart right above the earth as the trigger since this verse is well known to me (and I suspect most Christians).

Perhaps for more obscure verses, I would pick out one-three key words from the sentence and have them interact in some way.
For example, I will at some point learn ‘Joshua wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written.’ (Joshua 8:32b) For this verse, I could use (if I used the Dominic System) Oliver Hardy (from Laurel & Hardy) which is my number ‘08’ (OH) making a mess (Stan Laurel always used to say “that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into”) using a chisel and hammer on a stone tablet.

Anyway, if you’ve made it down to hear thank you (and well done!). :grin:

Please do let me know if the above sounds solid, workable, usable and (perhaps most importantly) ‘trouble free’ before I start on this endeavour that will take years to complete (though new verses will no doubt be added in years to come, so in that sense, it will never finish)…

Thank you for taking the time to reply. :innocent:

Steve.

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Hi Steve, I have been using memory palaces to memorize scripture for a while now. I asked Timothy from MasterOfMemory (Also a Christian), and he told me that for the small, unconnected verses it is usually just easier to learn them by rote. For those, I use the First Letter Method (Nelson Dellis has a video on it, if you search I’m sure you can find it) and I find that it works quite well.

I like you wanted to learn a whole bunch of different isolated verses using a memory palace, but if you would be so inclined to take my advice, I would actually recommend starting out by memorizing some Psalms. They typically have a smaller length for each verse and are super helpful to recall and are useful in so many situations. I find this way you can get a 28-verse Psalm down with one memory palace, and perhaps once you’ve memorized 5-10 Psalms this way you can get to the point where you can memorize things much faster, and then transition if you still want to into doing a memory palace for unconnected verses?

That’s just my two bits. Hope you find this helpful,

God Bless

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Hi Brennan,
Thank you for the reply. :slight_smile:
Is this the method that you are talking about:
(1) HOW TO MEMORIZE LINES INSTANTLY (SERIOUSLY) - YouTube

Does it work well with many unconnected verses & how would you associate them (within a memory palace) by chapter and verse?

Thank you again and God bless,
Steve.

Yep, that’s the one. I think it works especially well with unconnected verses, but it is a general method that I employ with any specific text that I want to memorize.

The reason I use this for unconnected verses is that it is considerably more effort to create book-chapter-verse references to every unconnected verse. I have found it easier to memorize an entire chapter, so that way I only need to memorize the book and chapter once (which typically I just remember anyways) and then I add in markers for every 10th verse or so. If I need a specific verse, I just hop to the 10th or 20th and then work forwards/backwards to determine the number of the verse in question. It’s not perfect, but for the amount of time I need to know the specific verse (which is very few and far between) it cuts out a lot of the work.

That said, if you really are determined to do it all with unconnected verses, I think you have the right approach in using the major/dominic/PAO systems for keeping track of book/chapter/verses. I would probably prefer the dominic/PAO system in this cases since it preserves the order. Otherwise, you could get the book/chapter/verse images out of order (as is easier to do in major system, I’ve found) and that would be no bueno.

I am just wondering, how are you going to choose your loci? I just googled and for example, there are 658 verses in Joshua. Won’t you have to choose some absolutely massive palaces to be able to contain all of those?

Another concern that I originally had when thinking to do the very same thing was, what happens if you didn’t plan well enough and you need to expand one of your palaces?

One more concern: Say you use the Titanic as your palace for the book of James. If you are just memorizing scattered verses, will you have a loci planned out for every single verse in james, and then just fill them in over time? If that’s not the case, what if you for example decide to memorize James 2:10, put it somewhere in your journey, and then a year later you memorize James 2:8. Where would you put it? The issue I see is that you could potentially be forced to start moving loci around in order to preserve the verse order within the palace. It wouldn’t make sense if you encountered James 2:10 before James 2:8, and so I’m just wondering how you’re planning to organize this in your head?

Brennan

Hi Brennan,
I don’t intend to learn all of the verses in any book (and perhaps only a few full chapters (some Psalms & Romans 8 spring to mind). As an example, I have listed down 73 ‘entries’ for Matthew to learn.
I was intending to find one room (in the memory palace) which, in the case of Matthew would need at least 73 loci (and that number no doubt will increase a little over time).
Is that ‘doable’, or just plain unrealistic (or difficult) for one room in he Palace?

From the off, I would have to make sure that I had 66 rooms in the Palace (or palaces if I used houses that I lived in in the past), so no need to add any more.

I used the titanic as an example: not just for James, but again just as I will find 66 locations (one for each Bible book). With regard to James, I would have to find another loci in James’ particular room (lets say that it is one of the bigger bedroom suites). Perhaps a picture on the wall, or a hair brush on the dressing table or something (that I would have to add in to accept James 2:8.
Does that sound like it would work, or am I setting myself up for confusing, complication and problems? :thinking:

Thank you again,
Steve.

Hey Steve,

To answer your last question first, I think that if you try hard enough you can absolutely make this work. The main problems I have seen in my own attempt in this and also possibly in yours, is expanding palaces into the future. I think the thing that keeps coming up in my mind is you have to know exactly how many verses you want to memorize over the course of your life to create enough memory palaces for all of them. That, or you have a sizable margin of error built-in to each memory palace to allow for future growth.

Unfortunately I think 73 loci would be quite a stretch to fit into one room. I suppose if it is a room you know realllllly well you could do it and basically go microscopic, making each corner in the drawer of a dresser a loci and then have several drawers and so on.
Ultimately, I think it might be less cognitive load to choose an entire house as one palace for one book. If you think of friends’ houses and stuff I think you would have enough. I am honestly no expert on memory palaces but I believe that from my POV the best way to go about this would be to first focus on Matthew. Memorize every single verse you want to in Matthew, leave 10-20 open spots for extra verses, and then move on to the next book. Otherwise, I could see myself at least burning out in putting so much work in creating 66 memory palaces all upfront with no visible return in effort, at least immediately. Does that make sense?

Best,

Brennan

Hi Brennan,
I see what you mean (about putting one book into one room). Matthew wouldn’t be too bad to put into one house (28 loci). I think that I would have to subdivide some rooms though and / or use cupboards / wardrobes and hallways / landings to make up to the 28: would using one loci for two books cause complications do you think? How would I subdivide the room in a way that would preclude confusion? I’d have to get more creative for Psalms though…

I had a watch of this video.

The guy seems to think that one could - potentially - hold info at a number of places within a room (which would thus give me room to add more at a later date if I make each loci relating to one chapter).

Here’s another one that I found interesting (a memory palace could be a journey (if you know it well enough) for example):

Before I started all of this memory research, I did get to the end of learning what I wanted to in the four Gospels (a mixture of verses, section headings etc., but over 200 entries in total). However, I found that I began to get confused as to which verse applied to which Gospel (especially since the Synoptic Gospels contain much of the same material) hence my journey that has lead me to this moment.

Have you used the peg system? (info I found interesting here: The Memory Institute - The Peg System (or Hook System))

Steve.

Hey again,

Life’s been busy.

I watched both of those videos and I think that what you are considering is a smart workaround – Leaving the middles of rooms and some more obscure places in case you want to come back and fill in more verses down the road. I personally haven’t used the peg system much so I can’t speak to how effective/ineffective it is, what were you planning on using it for?

Brennan

Hi Brennan,
Thanks for taking the time to reply. :+1:

I am just wondering if it would be better for me to use the Peg System rather than the Dominic System for the verse numbers. So, for example, 16 could be a dish (1 = t or d & 6 = j, ch, sh or g & the ‘i’ is a filler to make the word).
I could then link the dish with the main theme or word of the verse, so for John 3:16, I could have a globe rolling around on the dish (for example).

I am just trying to work out what will be the strongest and most effective way of reliably learning 1000,s of verses BEFORE I start. :grin:

What do you think? Peg or Dominic?

God bless,
Steve.

Hi Steve,

I hope you’ll excuse the nearly month late reply. If you haven’t already decided:

I am unsure what you mean by the peg system exactly. I know what the peg system is, but how are you relating it to numbers? Are you referring to 1 = bun, 2 = shoe etc and just rhyming for single digits?

I personally use the dominic/major system and I think it would be fine to use.

Hi Brennan,
No problemo - I actually haven’t moved forward any further on this yet as work has been super-busy. :+1:
What I meant was the phonetic use of the peg system, So:
0 = z, s, c (soft)
1 = t or d
2 = n
3 = m
4 = r
5 = l
6 = j, ch, sh, g (soft)
7 = k, c (hard), g (hard)
8 = v, f, ph
9 = b or p

Does that make better sense?

Thank you again,
Steve.

I guess I would just call that the Major System, but yes, that’s how I would do it.

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Steve,
I’m a teacher by trade and a Christian and grabbed a hold of the thorny problem of memorizing Scripture about three years ago. After several combinations and improvements on my system I would ramp up to recall about 100 full text verses and then let it decay to see how well it stuck. I’d be happy to help out from my experience. I’m currently writing a book on my System 7711 with all the important lessons I’ve gained with exercises and principles that help to judge the benefits of one technique over another for the memory purpose you have.

Personally, I like the Major (phonetic) system for any digit to image conversion. Having one system to encode the chapter and verse numbers as well as for other purposes keeps my memory system overhead low. The Major system is also the most common system so that other people will be able to play along. I select reusable pegs that are relevant for chapters but pegs that are easy for verse numbers.

Let me know if I can help out.
Doug

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Hi Doug,

Do you follow the key-word approach generally?

When memorizing chapters, I’ve found that works best for me is to read the chapter a bunch, create a memory palace for that chapter with 2-3 keywords per verse (1 verse per locus), and then for verses that I still struggle with, I’ll use the first letter method (see above thread) to help chunk it together and make it stick. What do you think of this approach? Could you suggest any improvements you’ve been able to make or things that have helped you?

Brennan

Hi Doug,
Thank you for making contact and your reply. :slight_smile:
If you have the time, please would you read the initial post (and perhaps speed read the rest) and let me know your thoughts in relation to the method that you use. I expect to be looking at many 100s (or even into the 1000’s) of verses and am looking for a resilient, reliable and expandable system.

Thank you and God bless,
Steve.

Greetings, Steve. I am on a similar mission, and found your post. I too started by attempting to create a 66-room memory palace. But then I realized it would probably be easier with fewer rooms. There are 39 books in the Christian old testament and 27 books in the new testament. If you want to go even further, the bible is divided into the Torah (5 books), the Nevi’im (21 books), the Gospels (5 books), etc. I think these divisions will be much easier than a 66-room palace. But I’m just starting out!

I also have a visual for each book of the bible. Here are a few:
Genesis → The Genesis Torpedo from Star Trek II
Exodus → Bob Marley singing “Exodus”
Leviticus → A pair of LEVIs jeans, CUTting you with a knife
Numbers → The Count from Sesame Street

Don’t steal any of these!!!

-Cass

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Steve (and Brennan),

Thanks for the inquiries. I didn’t know whether anyone would be that interested but I’m encouraged by your posts. May God bless you in your studies.

Palaces are a great way to create bigger granularities that can be decomposed so naturally with the several levels of information that needs to be encoded in the Bible, you need several levels of granularity.

My system uses a palace for each book in the Bible using relevant imagery from that book if possible. (Genesis = Garden of Eden) The one main thing that I do differently from other palace memory masters is I don’t use a very familiar personal journey or building. I just don’t remember that much and the detail I recall is poor. Maybe that’s a blessing as a teacher, maybe not. I let the information take on a life of their own and create their own palace.

I need reinforcement often. So the books are linked by a story line with as much relevant imagery as possible and reinforced by numeric order so I can traverse the book names forwards and backwards as well as show off a little to future students by naming books by number. Adam and Eve walk into Pharoah’s palace to play a game of tic-tac-toe (see if you can guess why) on their knees (another link to the Major system).

Books are further broken up into chapters which require their own “room” or locus which are also what I call bottom up palace creation as opposed to the top down palace structure creration where you decide the palace first and then populate it with loci/locations. So I browse through my list of peg words, select one closest to the book’s theme and then create the story line afterwards. I need the extra chapter peg reinforcement. That allows me to traverse chapters back and forth, visualize the start of verses I’ve memorized there, and tie in important events. I add information on the fly when I listen to sermons easily that way.

Most books require subdivision of the story into different scenes. Matthew starts out in a university building for math on a bench where I used to study a little before going in to class but after that it loses most of the personal touches. You follow the path from the foyer and patio where students are smoking when it switches scenes to a meeting with the dean (Matthew 12).

I just completed my list of New Testament book palaces, chapter scenes, and chapter pegs, a total of 262 chapters. They are surprisingly easy to remember now after writing down the story line and making the objects interrelate along the lines of a relevant story either by internal content or book palace content.

Then you have the verse number. I’m leaning towards the easiest peg you can think of quickly there but sometimes you need a few alternatives. Then because of my poor memory I need to find a way to do almost a word by word story for my verse. I’m sure other people don’t need as many images converted from the text but I pick out the important words and then the words that I forget and have to patch up later to embellish the story.

Here’s a rough example without all my little patches I need. I have an large vertical outdoors smokers’ ash receptacle (Matthew 6) that has spilled over ashes on to a student’s mumu (verse 33). The foreign student also wears a turban like a Sikh who leads me down to a king’s castle I can see in the distance where people listen to the Righteous Brothers on earpods. They throw balls that they are given into a well.

Sometimes I use acronyms, sometimes close approximations of words I call fuzzynyms (mondegreens), and other tricks to lessen the load of imagery.

I started out without a full plan and it failed as the number of images increased. So I created the structure of the palaces which seem to be holding together well for long term memory.

That’s the overview of my system. Hope this helps.

Doug

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Brennan,

I hope I covered your question in my recent response to Steve. I thought that your question about using keywords was for verbatim word memorization. I use a multiplicity of techniques for that and tend to judge their effectiveness by how long between reviews I can go before it starts fading out. Let me know if you have other questions.

Doug

Cassie,

I saw your post and thought that you really had a gigantic goal that I could help out with from my experiences. I always like to encourage anyone memorizing anything concerning the Bible. The big question I had to answer first was what my goal was. Memorizing the order of the books is easy. Putting significant themes with them is a little harder. But my goal was to get very granular so I could recite the verse verbatim when hearing the book, chapter, and verse number. I really backed off my impossible task when my review time consumed all of my time to keep verses in memory and looked for better ways which I described in another post recently.

I have very important principles which I believe result in a better success including making things more relevant instead of just personalizing it. So I’ll share my first five palaces for your comparison.

Genesis - Garden of Eden
Exodus - Pharoah’s palace (playing X’s and O’s)
Leviticus - The Hebrew tabernacle (vestments are Levi jackets and jeans)
Numbers - The tent encampment, each one with a number.
Deuteronomy - column of fire like a nuclear power plant (deuterium)

I’m very new to this forum so will appreciate hearing from you and learning from each other.

Doug

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Hi Doug,
Thank you fior you reply (and so sorry for taking so long to reply!)

Is their any particular method (secret) to remembering made up palaces as I was going to use palaces like the one below (so that I could review if I needed to + since there are many articles in the rooms, I can add a verse here and there quite easily (how do you add in new verses?):

Would you mind outlining your whole journey & methods for perhaps 2 Peter (only 3 chapters) so that I can see how you make the different methods work together please?

Thank you so much… :slight_smile:

God bless,
Steve.