Need Ideas for a System to Memorize Scripture

I want to stretch my mnemonics skills by memorizing some Scripture … maybe several books of the Bible. I’m asking for suggestions on how to set up my system. This is what I have in mind so far:

To remember the Book / Chapter / Verse part, I am using a PAO System.

P = person which represents the book of the Bible. So for Philippians, the image is my buddy Phil.

A = action which represents the chapter. So for chapter 1 is ‘run’ or ‘running’. So to find Philippians chapter 1, I see my buddy Phil running.

O = object which represents the verse number. One is gun. To find Philippians 1:1, I see Phil running with a gun.

Here is where I’m not sure what to do.

I can use a set of rooms in my house to memorize the verses. I need to tie the PAO (Book/Chapter/Verse) to the first image in the 1st room. In my example, I have Phil running with a gun and shooting two other friends of mine named Paul and Tim. (The first part of the verse is, ‘Paul and Timotheus …’) This ties the PAO to the first image and so I can go around the room from there remembering the rest of the verse. What do I do for verse 2? Can I use the same room, but with a different PAO hook to the first image … or will the images start getting mixed up as I memorize more?

Other ideas I had were:

Using a 200 or 300 loci journey to memorize each chapter - problem with this is I lose the ability to pull up an exact verse.

I could also use a palace per chapter with a separate room in the palace for each verse. I would still have to find the room to pull up the verse and this seems cumbersome to me.

The final idea I had was to make each verse a story line. Then all I would have to do is hook the PAO system to the beginning of each story.

Any thoughts? Ideas?

I was thinking about this just last night actually. Why don’t you use your PAO images as Pegs and associate the verse to that image. Then when someone gives you a Book Chapter and Verse you just recreate that image and “read” what’s associated to it

That sounds like what I’m doing … The PAO system is the key to getting to the Book/chapter/verse, but then how should I memorize the verse? Can you elaborate on the ‘peg’ system a bit?

Something else that may help is a post from the list: “What have you achieved with mnemonics”.

The user Mindscape in forum post #12 has a pretty cool way to memorize verbatim by focusing on the first letters of all of the scripture. He may be a good resource.

Hope this helped,


The peg system is a great way for remembering things in sequence. Most mnemonists have an image for numbers, we use these images as the loci. an example of this method would be if someone made a list of 30 items for you to memorize. Instead of putting the image into a palace or journey you attach it to your number image, (ie the first item you would attach to your image for 1, the second item you’d attach to your image for 2, the 25 image you would attach to your image of 25 etc.)

So, let’s say you have Genesis 1, 25 (I don’t know if that exists, or what the verse is) However, for me that would be an image of an Ape with a giant nose petting a rabbit (Ape= Genesis because that’s where we began, 25 is a Rabbit for me and 1 is nose.) Now I have an image that means Genesis 1, 25 then I make an image for the verse and then attach it to this image I created. Now, everytime someone says Genesis 1, 25 I’ll recall that image and I’ll see what I’ve connected to it

Thanks Maybetoday and Groat.

@Groat: with the peg system that you mentioned, how do you keep the numbers separate on the peg image? ie. a year from now, will you confuse the nose (the chapter 1) with the bunny (Verse 25) and end up at Genesis 25:1 instead of Gen 1:25? This is why I was thinking a custom PAO system would keep the chapters and verses separate because chapters are always actions and verses are always objects. It would still create an image as a peg, but allow me to sort out the verses from the chapters. Does that make sense, or am I missing something?

Usually, while making the images if you just make a mental note “This means x” then you’ll remember what it means. If not, then just use your understanding of the material to deduce what’s correct.

hi strathy

I am also trying to memorize book

You can read my post in general memory chat

Memorizing books got easy

and tell me if anything is missing

So that we can improve it…

First, nobody can tell you what you can or cannot do regarding a memory system. There are no Memory Police out there who’ll arrest you. You do NOT need permission to do one method or another.

Second, it’s rather silly to ask “what will happen if I do this?”, since there’s NO WAY to predict in advance how a memory system will affect you. Nobody can predict if you’ll be confused if you set up the material in a certain way. That’s the kind of thing that can be ascertained ONLY by YOUR private experience. Two people using the same method may come to two opposite conclusions = “This works great for me.” vs. “This confuses me too much.”

Don’t try to figure out in advance what only experience will teach.

If you REALLY want to master a system, keep at it. Try one and see if it works. The trick is to know when a complete system doesn’t work for you or when you can simply modify it to suit your needs. The more trial-and-error you do ON YOUR OWN the easier it gets, the more confident you get, the stronger you get.

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Thanks for your input Blaine … I guess. Maybe you don’t understand … this is a forum where we exchange ideas and best practices. Nobody is talking about ‘memory police’ or any other such thing. As far as my questions being ‘rather silly’ … you can bite me. If you find my questions silly - then just move on … troll someone else. Others here have been wonderful in their help and with their practical advice about how to work my brain. Your opinion was not asked for nor needed.

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I attended a class at my church on memorizing scripture. The guy teaching it covered a lot of different techniques and adapted them specifically to scripture memorization.

First, every book of the bible has a unique image. He used the journey method to help us memorize the books of the bible in sequence.

He taught us the Major System for converting the reference numbers into images.

He taught us “chaining” and “chunking” so we could condense information (although I chose to create an image for every word, as explained below).

He taught us to use “pegs” to store the verses.

So, putting this together, we have Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” I happen to have this verse mentally stored on the oil change sticker on the windshield of my car (that’s my peg for this.) To remember the actual verse I use images and I have chosen to use a specific image for each individual word. So, in my mind when someone asks me, “What is Romans 12:2?” I think of a Roman soldier (book of Romans) peeling off my oil change sticker and slapping it onto the Tin Woodman (number 12 = T (or D) & N = tin) who dives into the ocean but is rescued by Noah (number 2). I’m on the boat with them but the water recedes and I’m left on wet, dewy grass (Do) which I tie into a knot (not) and lasso a bee that is flying by (be) which is actually a cartoon robber (con-) and I’m flying over ploughed dirt (formed)… etc…

The longest step is converting the original words into the images, but once you’ve got that they stay locked in. Then just reviewing them regularly and the verses just come right back. After a few days the images even begin to fade and you can just recite the verse without need to stop and think of the images, but if you need to for whatever reason (i.e. you get “stuck”) you can go through the story and find what you left out.

I hope this is helpful to you.

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Hi Gammaflux, thanks for that.

I actually gained a specific benefit from your description, namely how you had your first image concretely interacting with the oil change sticker! I have shied away a bit from linking to ‘small’ items in my journies, but your concept of peeling off the sticker really strikes a chord. Thanks!

Also, have you tried memorising with fewer images - I have found it works well and you (generally) don’t need one image per word.


Thanks Gamma!

Excellent! Do you happen to remember (lol) the name of the guy who was teaching the course? Does he have a website or is he available for other churches to hire?


He is the IT leader for the church. From what I understand, he put together the course himself and as of now he is only teaching it as part of my church’s school of ministry curriculum.

I believe this kind of course could be invaluable to church organizations in helping people learn God’s word and take it to heart. What are your thoughts about how this could be taught or spread more readily?

Hi Gavino.

As of now I’ve stuck with using an image for each word (except “the” and “a”) because I want to be exact with my wording. For example, if I don’t have the image of a gift-wrapped box for “present” in “present your bodies as a living sacrifice” I might accidentally recall it as “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice”.

I might toy with chunking groups of words into one image as practice to see if I lost fidelity in the recall of the words. I just personally want to be exact with the scripture memorization. If it was a narrative or story and not the bible I wouldn’t be so concerned.

Verbatim Scripture Memorization

Hey fellows, I’m a NEWBIE. This is my first post. Here’s what I’ve come up with that works for memorizing scripture word for word.

  1. I’ve assigned a word for every chapter in the New Testament (260). The first part of the word represents the book and the second part, the chapter.

Example: Romans Chapter 6 is ROUGE. The RO = Romans and the UGE = 6 (using the J sound for 6).

Then, I’ve formatted 3 rooms in my house with 10 locations in each one for associating the verses with them. Each location is for one verse. Also, these location spots are the same in each of the rooms. This way I can keep up with the verse numbers without having to make additional associations. For instance, the left corner of Room #1 (regardless of Book) is always Verse 1, and in Room #2 it is always Verse 11. Verse 5 is always in the upper right corner of Room #1. In Room #2, it is for Verse 15. Got it?

  1. Now for the fun! I’m sure someone has done something like this, but since I’ve been in seclusion for years, I just haven’t seen anything done quiet like this. I call it VERBATIM MEMORIZING using 3 Visual Alphabets (feel free to dump this and leave…lol).

The first Visual Alphabet is 26 Lady Friends or celebs from A to Z. The second is Men Friends or celebs). Lastly, OTHERS (A to Z) … this is anything (visual), plants, animals, objects, etc… with the exception of ladies or men. These three visual alphabets are the foundation for pegging every word in the verse or chapter, not just thoughts. I refer to them as Alpha Characters (AC). And each AC will hold 4 words.

I call this the Lanier Verbatim Memory System, simply because my name is Lanier and the process, regardless of how effective or ineffective it is, is uniquely designed for me, by me to help me memorize scripture even though I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). It demands my total focus which is exactly what I need.

  1. Next it’s time for TANGIZATION. I don’t think this is really a word but for me it means to make seen. To each Bible verse or chapter, I assign a tangible (something I can visualize) SOUND-LIKE or SYMBOL that represents each word. In other words, every WORD in the VERSE or CHAPTER has a VISUAL REPRESENTATIVE or SUBSTITUTE.

  2. Here’s how it works:

Suppose I want to memorize Romans 6:1: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abide?

  1. Mentally (imaginatively) the entrance to Room #1 has rouge all over the doorway. This let’s me know immediately that it is Romans Chapter 6 (RO = Romans, UGE= 6)
  2. I look in the left hand corner where my Verse 1 location is and see a BED. This location will be my work area for memorizing every word in Verse 1.
  3. In the middle of the BED, I see a LIGHT BULB. This is my SOUND-LIKE or SYMBOL for the word WHAT (Watt = WHAT). It is the first word of the verse (New King James Version). This word, WHAT, tells me which ALPHA CHARACTERS I will use to PEG or LINK the rest of the words in the verse.
  4. Ladies first. Wenda, Hilary, Alice, and Teresa (come up with your own Alpha Characters) hold no more than 4 words each. I can share later how I do this through a little acronym using F-A-C-E. Works like a charm. Anyway each Lady AC (Alpha Character) is like having a piece of paper with one line where you can write four words. Since we have 4 Ladies, that gives us lines and room for 16 words.
  5. One thing that helps me start in the right place and continue in the right direction is: START AT THE TOP AND READ LIKE A CLOCK.
    Try it and see what you think.
    Hope I didn’t bore you or wear out my welcome to this great website.

Great post Garry. I have a few questions.

How do the alpha characters store the words?
What do you do about words like ‘and’,‘of’ and ‘that’?
Perhaps you could expand and continue the explanation of Romans 6:1?
When do you use the men and the objects?
What do you do if a verse has more words than you have room for?

See if this helps.

Question 1: How do the alpha characters store the words?

I associate (link or peg) the ACs to the words assigned to them. Each AC holds 4 words.
This is where the FACE acronym comes in. Or maybe for you, the PAO system.
There are four facts I know about each Alpha Character. Each fact holds one word. But sometimes I might use one fact to hold all 4 words. Just depends on the particular AC.

Feature - Something that stands out or I cause to stand out or exaggerate with my imagination. It could be their face, body or even a certain expression.

Abode – Where does the AC live? What does their HOUSE look like? If I don’t know, I might assign one to them. But it is important that it’s always the same place. Or if they are a movie star, I might picture them sitting on the HOLLYWOOD sign in California. Or if they live in Texas, they can stand by BIG TEX at the state fair. Anything that will fall into the ABODE column will work.

Career- What do they do? (doctor, entertainer, housewife, dentist, athlete, artist, teacher, etc.)

Event or Enjoyment- What HAPPENING or HOBBY can you associate with this AC? Do they like to play golf as a hobby, or fish. It doesn’t have to be a hobby. It could be some funny thing they did like driving a VW into a swimming pool to see if it floats. I was told Frank Sinatra did that. That would fall into the EVENT category.

A good way to start this is by taking just one verse at a time instead of trying to come up with all the ACs at once. As you begin the process you can keep a notebook and simply add the ACs as needed. You could have 5 columns (AC name, FEATURE, ABODE, CAREER, EVENT/Enjoyment).

Question 2: What do you do about words like ‘and’,‘of’ and ‘that’?

I handle all words the same. I use a visual SOUND-LIKE or SYMBOL for each word. On some words I have more than one SUBSTITUTE. AND=HAND (I imagine a big cartoonish like hand that I’ve seen at football games being waved back and forth). OF=OFF (I see a can of OFF bug spray doing it’s job on some poor WORD SUBSTITUTE). THAT=DAD or DAT TAPE (rapped around a word sub). THE=TEA (maybe a word sub soaking in a cup of tea).

Question 3: Perhaps you could expand and continue the explanation of Romans 6:1?

Maybe in another post.

Question 4: When do you use the men and the objects?

There are basically 3 modes I use: Ladies ACs, Men ACs, and Others ACs as mentioned in my first post. My rule is, Ladies begin the odd numbers, Men begin the even numbers. That way I always know which AC mode to use (1, 3, 5, 37, 57 is for the Lady ACs and 2, 4, 58, 78 is for the Man ACs).

Question 5: What do you do if a verse has more words than you have room for?

I have room for every word in the verse. In Romans 6:1, the first word is WHAT. As mentioned before, each letter represents an AC that holds 4 words each. That’s enough to hold all the words in that verse. I call this the verse title.

But suppose instead of 14 words, it was 48 words? Simply continue by using the Men ACs (using the same TITLE word “WHAT”) and then the OTHER ACs. BINGO! It really works.

If the verse is really long, like Rev. 20:4 (70 words), just add an extra word or two to the TITLE (link these words together). AND I SAW is the title I use for Rev. 20:4. That gives me 7 ACs for each mode (Mens Mode, Others Mode, Ladies Mode). Since this is verse 4, the Men ACs start. By the way, this is the longest verse in the NT. Get this one and you’re ready to handle them all.

God is GOoD

That is a very interesting system. Thanks for posting it.

If I understand correctly, you’re converting the first word of a verse into a peg system where each letter of the word can hold four more words, or even 12 words per letter if you need more space?

Absolutely right JOSH. Thanks for the reply.
Well let me clarify it a bit. Each letter of the the first word represents a person that can hold 4 words. If the word is 4 letters, you can hang 16 words.