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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Memorizing Bible Verses

In case Candy got everyone thinking about memorizing Bible verses, I thought I'd put together a little post of resources for you.

Christian Apologetics Society has a short history of format of the original Bible, and why memorizing verses is probably a relatively recent phenomenon.

The "books" of the New Testament were actually scrolls of very expensive parchment or papyrus. The scripture was written in scriptio continua style. That is, to save space and economize, the scripture was written without chapter and paragraph breaks. In fact, there were not even spaces between words and verses as in this paragraph itself. Can you imagine trying to read John 6:53 aloud, while looking at:

thenjesussaiduntothemverilyverilyisayuntoyouexceptyeeattheflesh
ofthesonofmananddrinkhisbloodyehavenolifeinyou

While New Testament scrolls existed in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, there were few, if any, personal copies. Christians of the day did not arrive at "church" carrying their own copy of scripture. The modern Christian tradition of believers bringing their own personal Bible to church was not an early church practice. Instead the congregation assembled a library of scripture, some in the modern canon and many not found in the current canon. At their gathering, most, if not all, the scriptures were read aloud to the assembly. If an early Christian congregation had acquired a copy of Paul's epistle to the Romans, it likely would have been read in its entirety every Sunday, week after week. That's how New Testament scripture was initially memorized. The Christian tradition of reading scripture aloud in in repeating cycles is still observed in all 22 Catholic Churches and in all Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Kevin Vost has written a book titled Memorize the Faith! (And Most Anything Else) about a method of memorization devised by St. Thomas Aquinas.

Once you have memorization mastered, you can get started on Patrick Madrid's 150 Bible Verses Every Catholic Should Know.

Or get to work immediately with this free list of verses.

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6 comments:

Nancy Parode said...

One of the best ways to memorize Bible verses is by singing them...just the way you memorized the alphabet and the days of the week and so on.

That's one of the reasons we sing at Mass...20 years ago I attended a brilliant Church Music Conference and that was one lesson I brought home. Music helps us all recall those truly important verses, so that when we need words of petition, prayer and thanksgiving, they are easy to recall.

Barbara C. said...

Did you check out the post on the 1611 King James Bible at Christian Apologetics? It included the OT Apocrypha and a liturgical calendar. Of course, Anglicanism used to be not much different than Catholicism, but the post makes note of the assumptions made by KJ only Protestants like Candy.

Kelly said...

There were several nice pages on their site. Besides the 1611 King James post, there was some great info on protestants calling their ministers "Father" until the past 150 years or so. Interesting stuff.

Tracy said...

thanks for the links and info Kelly:)

leah said...

Just a quibble... Aquinas didn't come up with the memorization technique in Dr. Vost's book "Memorize the Faith". As Vost points out, it dates back to at least the classical orators, including Cicero.

I love this book! This technique really works.

Gregorio said...

I use these www.scripturestickies.com and I have memorized many verses this way. God bless you!