System 7711 Bible memorization

Bible students, I’ve gotten far enough along to share some details of a system that I think collects most of the mnemonic techniques and adds some consistency and structure to verbatim text memorization of the Bible. Any other text memorization would also benefit from the system, I believe.

I’m doing more technical analysis of what’s behind this system in the Data analysis and modeling of memory systems topic. The generic process flow will be discussed there but adapted for the Bible here. You’ll see some technical terms sometimes, like following the process steps in parentheses, but I try to avoid them.

The name comes from Psalm 77:11. I welcome any feedback and suggestions for what has helped you. The endless repetition systems don’t seem to work for me as my natural memory has kept me from doing much memorization for 40 years.

The first main step is to strategize. The four things I found useful were:

  • Choose objective for the kinds of information to store. (data type)
  • Choose objective for how much information to store. (data scope)
  • Choose objective for length of preferred time of retrieval. (retention period)
  • Choose objective for speed in competition or flexibility for long-term memory. (encoding style)

@LaurianH, I think you wanted to start with

  • verbatim Bible verses
  • Genesis 1 and 2.
  • Forever
  • For references to use when speaking

The next main step in verbatim text memorization is to familiarize yourself with the information. Here are the three main steps I thought summarized this:

  • Increase your natural memory ability by seeing the information often. (experiential advantage)
  • Understand the ways your information is organized. (context enrichment)
  • Think about the information often. (recall reinforcement)

I’m guessing that most people wanting to memorize Bible verses are familiar with it. Otherwise the ways your natural memory will be increased for aiding the artificial system is through:

  • reading passages you will be memorizing often
  • pay attention to book, chapters, paragraphs, and verses
  • recall the basic stories of the passages

The other main parts of the process that I’ll be talking about in future posts are:

  • Prepare
  • Encode
  • Retrieve
  • Improve
  • Structure
  • Review

I look forward to encouraging more people to “remember the deeds of the Lord.”

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This is already sounding very achievable. Thank you

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3 Prepare

After the goals have been set and you have familiarized yourself with what you are going to memorize, there’s at least five different steps to preparing the structures so you can move in and live there. They are:

  • 3.1 Mind-map or outline your information into similar types. (data schema creation)

  • 3.2 Identify what information should be encoded. (data requirements)

  • 3.3 Identify the needs for the result of the query. (query outcome)

  • 3.4 Identify encoding system for information. (process requirements)

  • 3.5 Practice selected mnemonic encoding systems. (mnemonic basics)

This part included the heavy lifting that I am still working on but I feel comfortable sharing the system knowing that the scope won’t change much. Here’s the tasks as applied to Bible memorization:

  • 3.1 Books, chapters, groups of chapters, paragraphs, and verses. Other geographical or personal information is useful also. The Bible has a distinct advantage for memorization over other texts that don’t have chapter and verse divisions by number and it should be leveraged.

  • 3.2 Two main choices are contiguous verses by chapter and selected verses.

  • 3.3 You may only want to remember themes and main stories. But others may want to recall verbatim. Since the Bible has many versions, you should select the one that will stay with you forever. I will use the NIV in my examples.

  • 3.4 This is the heavy lifting since I created much of it from scratch. You may choose to use pieces of it as you wish. Not all of it is necessary to do what you need.

  • 3.5 The mnemonic encoding systems involved in my system are simple on purpose. Essential to remembering verse chapter and numbers is the #major-system and the pegs from 1 to 100 formed from that. The other encoding type is just word to images which was outlined in my post in Data Analysis.

@LaurianH, do you need any help with the Major system? You’ll need some good pegs for verses one through 31 in Genesis 1 and 2.

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Yes. I do need help with the Major System Doug.

OK, @LaurianH
The first step in learning the Major System is to commit the ten digits encoded to the phonetic sounds to memory. This will decode the chapter and verse numbers in your encoded images. The reasoning helps understand the conversion.

The Major system

digit sound reasoning
0 S, Z first letter of the number zero
1 T, D, TH one vertical stroke in the letter T
2 N two vertical strokes in the letter N
3 M three vertical strokes in the letter M
4 R last letter in the number four
5 L hold your left hand up with fingers together, Roman numeral for 50
6 SH, CH, J upside-down lower-case g (soft g as in George), almost upper-case G
7 K, G, Q two sevens make up the upper-case letter K
8 F, V script written lower-case F
9 P, B mirror-image upper-case P

Go through the digits and commit at least one consonant for each digit to memory. Write the system table down on paper. Then without looking, recall the mapping for each. Repeat the attempt to recall the encoding several times. Correct yourself with your table. Then recall without looking while you are going to sleep, the next morning, and a few times more in the day until you have it down, knowing all of the consonants without making a mistake and not taking too long.

Then see if you can recall the digit sounds backwards. During the following days, encode numbers you see in your head such as phone numbers, addresses, PINs, etc.

The next step will be to learn some pegs, or words that are developed from the consonant sounds.

Good luck!

Number pegs

@LaurianH,
After you get comfortable with the Major system encoding process, you can develop some basic pegs. The pegs that will be used to traverse the Bible books, chapters, and verse numbers are number pegs based on the Major system and are simple encoded images of objects.

# Major system sound Major system peg Visualization
0 S, Z saw a handsaw cutting through a 2x4” on a workbench
1 D, T, TH tie a black tie on a man with a suit constricting his neck in his office
2 N Noah Noah herding animals on the ark
3 M ma Ma cooking dinner in the kitchen
4 R rye a bottle of rye liquor being poured into a shot glass in a bar
5 L law a judge with a gavel stopping a lawyer’s speech in a court of law
6 CH, J, SH shoe a tennis shoe being put on over a sock in a dressing room
7 C, G, K, Q cow a cow eating grass in the pasture
8 F, PH, V ivy ivy growing up a brick facade of an old building
9 B, P bee a bee collecting pollen in a flower garden

Practice the recall of the images in order from zero to nine. Then practice reciting the images backwards.

Encoding information with pegs

Now with the peg images you can start encoding numeric information and associating them with other things. During your day, think about what time it is on the hour. It can be cow o’clock instead of 7 am. You may have an appointment when Noah starts bringing animals in your office at 2 pm. The other pegs you could use are 10 = toes curling up in the sand, 11 = Toto running down the yellow brick road, and 12 = a tuna fish being hauled into a boat.

When combining the peg image with other images, the default visualization will alter. Maybe Toto will be running around your meeting room or digging up buried treasure. But with a simple peg system, Toto will be the main character in the little scene that you are visualizing. In another system, the PAO (person-action-object), the action of scampering around might be what you have to combine or the yellow brick road would be tied in to other images.

Make associations with pegs

Associations are formed by replicating basic English sentence structure: subject - verb - direct object. The subject or key you use to get to the direct object or value you want to remember is best connected with a memorable verb or action. You want to remember the number of items to get? Item → action → number of items. You want to remember the time of a meeting? Meeting → action → time of meeting.

Use associations for the pegs with other objects to encode the quantities that you have or need for a shopping trip or a small inventory. How many apples did my wife say to get? Apples are being squashed with your Doc Marten boots :hiking_boot: (apples first, then the number). How many people are coming to Ma’s meeting (3pm)? The meeting’s main agenda item sprouts ivy which grows onto the seats. (meeting first, then the number)

Traverse a list with pegs

You can use the pegs to number your daily to-do list or a shopping list. Milk, bread, coffee, apples, a roast, and some toilet paper becomes a sequence of images starting with man dressed for church writing out a grocery list at breakfast but his tie gets soaked with milk spilled on it (peg first, then the item).

Noah finds bread hiding in kangaroo pouches as he is loading them on the ark. Ma peels apples for a pie and the peelings stick to Ma (unfortunately the apples were squashed by someone’s Doc Martens :hiking_boot: but she scraped them up from the floor), a bottle of rye liquor has a beef roast marinating at the bottom of the bottle, and the judge struggles to get up from his chair but is bound by toilet paper wrapped around him and the chair.

Association image order for data entries

Make sure that the encoded image of the peg can lead you back to the information you are hanging on that peg at the end of the “shot” that you’ve filmed. With the basic data entry of a key and a value association, the key is the subject. The apples → are squashed by → the shoe. But when remembering sequences, the pegs are the key to the shopping list values. Ma → peels → the apples.

If Ma merely made an apple pie, she probably wouldn’t have a continued connection to the apples since she no longer is in the picture and the apple pie would become the central “character” of a chain of events at that point. That’s the narrative logic of a story which is used for sequences not using pegs.

Keep Ma as the central subject so other information about the third item can be encoded around her. Maybe they are Gala apples. So, a terrible storm is blowing at gale force outside her kitchen while she bakes. I like Granny Smith apples myself. Ma’s mother helps her peel the apples and Ma brushes the peelings off her.

Let me know how you are doing on these. We’ll be ready to tackle the verbatim text process next. Since this takes a very long time to master, I’ll post the next step in a few days so you can start working on a few selected verse passages.

Doug

The full process that I’ve been able to figure out for applying memorization to any kind of discipline forms the backbone of the System 7711. It’s not polished yet until I take a few groups of students through it like many of the other classes that I’ve developed and then taught. But here’s the initial flow of events that I’ve carved out. Comments and improvements are always welcome.

Click on the triangles for the details.

System 7711

1 Strategize

1.1 Choose objective for the kinds of information to store. (data type)

1.2 Choose objective for how much information to store. (data scope)

1.3 Choose objective for length of preferred time of retrieval. (retention period)

1.4 Choose objective for speed in competition, flexibility for long-term memory, selection of references to use when speaking. maintenance, relearning, mastery. (encoding style)

1.5 Choose the amount of time you are going to dedicate. (scheduling)

2 Familiarize

2.1 Increase your natural memory ability by seeing the information often. (experiential advantage)

2.2 Understand the ways your information is organized. (context enrichment)

2.3 Think about the information often. (recall reinforcement)

3 Prepare

3.1 Outline or mind-map your information into similar types. (data schema creation)

3.2 Identify what information should be visualized. (data requirements)

3.3 Identify the needs for the result of the query. (query outcome)

3.4 Identify encoding and visualization systems for information. (process requirements)

3.5 Practice selected encoding and visualization systems. (mnemonic system basics)

4 Visualize

4.1 Write it out. (encourage narrative logic)

4.2 Visualize information with system as unique memory images. (data visualization)

4.3 Make the first memory image of a sequence the strongest. (trigger image)

4.4 Associate memory values in a story, pegs, adventure, or a marked path. (key-value association)

5 Retrieve

5.1 Visualize query as a memory image (query key encoding)

5.2 Recall the association of query memory image to its place in the story. (key-value traversal)

6 Improve

6.1 Add missing or redundant memory images. (patching)

6.2 Enhance memory images with more background and detail. (increased granularity)

6.3 Reinforce recall with a redundant second system. (double keying)

6.4 Gather related information and visualize it. (supplemental enhancement)

7 Structure

7.1 Create branches to a supplemental system for more storage. (aggregation creation)

7.2 Split up seven (plus or minus two) memory images and bind each group to their own memory image. (image chunking)

7.3 Group memory images into one memory image to reduce their complexity. (storage compression)

8 Review

8.1 Review periodically when information decays. (spaced repetition)

8.2 Review the first memory image of a sequence separately. (trigger key review)

8.3 Review aggregated systems independently. (hierarchy separation)

8.4 Review each memory image to retrieve all the dependent memory images. (system traversal down review)

8.5 Review each memory image to retrieve memory images that it depends on. (system traversal up review)

I really like this process list, and I’m impressed by your redundant peg idea. I’m curious about what 7.1 and 7.4 look like, if you have any examples.

I know it’s a lot to ask, but I’d love to see a longer example to see how some of your system’s more complex features work.

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@doughoff

I am more interested in reading mythological books , bible , gita , kuran and so on…
Well, memory books too.

Sorry but I am not interested in memorization though but I will try to understand your whole method and how it works.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it.

When I will know your method exactly what then someday if someone wants to memorize this type of things I likely to share this method.

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@Mountainmystic Thanks, it’s just I don’t have a great memory that I find it useful.

People talk about using a portal from one position in their palace to another. They also talk about zooming in, or using a Russian doll visualization. These are all branches or sub-groups. I call it an aggregation (a software design term) because the sub-group can be used separately from the main group.

An example might be that you have a palace for the book of James which in my case is a punk rock band performing at a concert (chains=James which feature significantly on clothing). I’m also interested in archeology so I notice that a chain from a nose ring of the singer is pulling off the top covering slab of a half buried ossuary (the James ossuary) in a dig where an Indiana Jones character is busy uncovering it. The limestone box can now be used as an associated branch of a marked path (a rule-traversed method of loci) to visualize dates, inscriptions, people, and more.

The ossuary also exists separately if I need to extract knowledge about it but I could also zoom out or portal back to the book of James if necessary.

One type of example using a group of words encoded into one image is the acronym. I was familiar enough with some of the words in the passage of 2 Timothy 3:16 but couldn’t remember the order or if I had competely recalled them all. So where the NIV says:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.

I combined the letters US, T, R, and C into a US flag painted TRuC(k). Now four difficult images are compressed into one easier image.

I’ll be working with people who want to use the system and detailing more of it as I go but don’t mind answering questions about any of the practical side of the processes.

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Here’s an explanation of the next few major steps in the 7711 system. They do depend on having pre-designed memory images for those that don’t want to struggle with designing their own system. I’ll be placing those in a special 7711 folder on my Github account.

4 Visualize

4.1 Write it out. (encourage narrative logic)

Write out the verse by hand in either double or triple spaced lines. Start with the book, chapter, and verse reference first on its own line. Then continue with verses not writing more than about half a page at a time.

4.2 Visualize information with a system as unique memory images. (data visualization)

Visualize the book as a memory image and place a short description above the book name. You can use my book story interpretation to review the order of the books if you want or try your own interpretation.

Encode chapter and verse numbers to memory images and place above the chapter and verse numbers. The chapter encoded image should be strongest and first to encounter in the story. It will be the subject that performs action on the verse peg object. The story will continue to be acted out with the following verse encoded images.

4.3 Make the first memory image of a sequence the strongest. (trigger image)

Select the starting phrase of the verse and box or double underline it on the paper. These phrases will be turned into memory image triggers for continuing the verses. The chapter is officially the first memory image but the one that must be just as strong as the one with a unique story following the images of the verse. When you review, the memory image trigger of the verse will be a short way to review more verses in a shorter period of time if you are doing well.

4.4 Associate memory images with each other in a story, by pegs, in an adventure, or on a marked path. (key-value association)

Choose and underline key words from the remaining text for memory images. You will at first need about a quarter to a half of the words to be visualized so that you can create a good story interpretation. Later you may add or drop encoded images as needed.

Start a story interpretation with the chapter, verse, and memory images written above the verse text in pencil since you will most likely update it as you use it. A different color ink is nice also.

Above the verse, write out the entire story interpretation for the memory images one phrase at a time. Make sure to try and follow a good visual sentence structure of subject with associated objects, an action that causes an effect, and the inanimate object being affected in a location suggested by the background.

Test your story by reading it through, visualizing it, and rewriting it if the characters and actions don’t seem to make sense.

5 Retrieve

5.1 Visualize a query as a memory image (query key encoding)

Start with the book, chapter and verse information and look away to see if you can visualize them as memory images without looking at your story sheet.

5.2 Recall and build the associations of your query memory image in your story interpretation. (narrative traversal)

Recall the memory image trigger to the story interpretation after getting the verse memory images without looking at your story sheet.

Visualize a new phrase after the previous memory image with story narrative logic without looking at your story sheet to see if it is easy to recall.

Recall the incomplete story interpretation starting from the memory image trigger up to the new phrase after each addition.

Say the exact words in your head, under your breath, or out loud noting where words are changed, omitted, or added when you check your sheet.

5.3 Challenge yourself by traversing the story interpretation in different ways. (test traversal associations)

Try to see the story interpretation in reverse. Make corrections as you need.

Try to see the story interpretation associations at a particular memory image so you could go either forwards or backwards. Make corrections as you need.

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I merged a list of my substitute words with @9erCreative’s Bible words, and lists from @tarnation and @ThomdeTarde in my memory repo (folder) on Github. Thanks for all your work!

It’s not completely edited but when it becomes v1.0 it will have been completely merged.

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I can’t determine yet if I need a substitute word system for verbatim memorization because I don’t have enough practice using the systems yet, but I was excited to see your verb tense and grammatic mnemonics table at the end of your list. I was thinking along similar lines recently and was playing around with sentence diagrams (the grade school ones).

Another tidbit I ran into is that we can remember chronological sequence(as it happens to us, not abstracted and described to us as in history) about as well as we can remember spaces we have experienced. So if you remember yourself picking up a pencil yesterday, and picking up a pencil on your mother’s bday in the same location last year, these memories will be distinct provided that both memories were strong enough to begin with. Not sure if this is true, but I’m looking into it.

@Mountainmystic, the substitute words are good visuals for at least starting a piece of text. If your natural memory is good with a familiarization of the text, you may not need much. I go back and forth. I compiled and used the list when I was learning a scripture and then abandoned the image when it became a friend and my natural memory took over. I’ve also found better images for some difficult words. If it decays, I reinstate my substitute word and apply more enhancements.

How would you use your time sequences as opposed to your locations that we use in the method of loci systems?

Oh, I don’t think a chronological system would be useful at all. Time is abstract so it’s harder to associate, it can have a visual component but is less directly visual than space so it doesn’t engage the visual memory as well as physical locations engage the visual memory, and it’s not 3d so it would be rather limiting to organize information in such a system.

I simply meant applying a chronological element as an additional association within the method of loci system. You could potentially multiply or reuse stations this way, or just make an existing link stronger.

Imagine using the kitchen to store a verse of Matthew in chapter 13. Earlier in the same book you could have used the same kitchen from 5 years ago to store different information.

I don’t know that this is possible or effective.

Alternatively, you could use 5 years ago to reinforce a station. Say, 5 years ago you hired a carpenter to repair the table, and you used an image of the table from before the repairs
to store the word “carpenter” or “fix”

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