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Blog / The Memorization Study Bible: An Interview with Thomas Meyer

The Memorization Study Bible: An Interview with Thomas Meyer

Thomas MeyerTechnology has information at our fingertips. But our relationship with God needs to be one of the heart, not the smartphone. How does memorizing Bible verses, chapters, and even entire books help you engage with the Word of God in a refreshing and amazing new way? What are some techniques you can use for Scripture memorization?

[See the Scripture Memorization part of the Bible Engagement section on Bible Gateway]

Bible Gateway interviewed the “Bible Memory Man” Thomas Meyer (@WordsowerTom) about The Memorization Study Bible (New Leaf Publishing Group, 2018).

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How much of the Bible have you committed to memory?

Thomas Meyer: I know about 20 complete books of the Bible from memory. I’ve never counted how many verses I know because in the back of my mind I remember the account of King David counting how many subjects were under his dominion and the consequences he had to pay for his pride (2 Samuel 24:1).

What inspired and launched your incredible memorization journey?

Thomas Meyer: Hopefully the same thing that will encourage you to follow in my footsteps–it was just one person challenging me to hide God’s Word in my heart, so I can know him better. By having it in my heart and not just on my shelf or my phone, the Word of God, like David said, is “before me” or always on my mind (Psalm 18:22).

In what ways have you implemented memorization techniques used throughout Jewish and Christian history in The Memorization Study Bible?

Thomas Meyer: Every Bible in the world except this one is printed in such a way that is not conducive to memorization. Besides oral repetition, one of the main ancient techniques I implemented in this study Bible was having eight words or less in each line of the verse. This is what the ancients called “an eye’s glance”. We do the same thing today with billboards on the highway. They all have eight words or less on each line so those driving by at 55 mph can remember to buy an “Orange Mocha Frappuccino.” To break up the verse into bite-sized portions makes it much easier to digest (Isaiah 28:10)!

What are the three pillars of memorization used in The Memorization Study Bible and how do these work?

Thomas Meyer: The three pillars of memorization that helped those who went before us to memorize entire books of the Bible are reading, hearing, and writing. Let me explain.

When we memorize out of The Memorization Study Bible, we can do so through one of these three techniques or a combination of them. If you’re like me and need all the help you can get, use all three.

One method is to “read” the lines or bite-sized portions of the verse we want to memorize over and over again–but the key is to read it ALOUD or “hear” it. What works best for me is to simultaneously read the verse with my eyes, say it with my mouth, and write it line by line with my hand; this lets the word go from my lips through my ears and into my heart (Psalm 119:11).

Can you implement these three pillars into memorizing things other than the Bible?

Thomas Meyer: Yes. We live in a copy-paste, Facebook, Tweet, file and forget world. Like any other muscle, the more we work out our minds, the stronger they become. The renewing of the spirit of your mind when you memorize will help your mind stay sharp in all other facets of life (Ephesians 4:23).

What are some of the challenges people tend to face when they start the process of memorizing Scripture and how do you suggest they overcome these obstacles?

Thomas Meyer: That’s a great question. I think one issue is: where do I start memorizing? Well, don’t start in Leviticus, though the ancient Jewish schools did. I would suggest memorizing a short section like the Sermon on the Mount or a short book like Titus or Philemon. To memorize something with a train of thought that’s logically connected is very attainable in a short period of time. If you just memorized one verse a week, say from Philemon, you’d have the whole book (which is all about forgiveness, and who doesn’t need to be reminded of how we need to forgive?) memorized in less than a year.

How much time do you suggest someone spend studying The Memorization Study Bible a day to memorize Scripture most effectively?

Thomas Meyer: I’d suggest adding five minutes or so of memorization to your daily devotions. Also try to incorporate memorizing Scripture into family time or bedtime routines (Deuteronomy 6:7). It’s really cool to gather the family together and have someone quote the book of James or when the kids go to bed to tell them dramatically about Heaven from the book of Revelation.

What is your suggestion for someone jumping into The Memorization Study Bible who is looking to build a habit of Scripture memorization?

Thomas Meyer: Just like when we exercise our bodies, the first few days or weeks are the hardest. It hurts, and we don’t want to do it some mornings! But when we start to see results–that is, our minds and hearts becoming increasingly more like Christ’s (Philippians 2:5)–we’ll be so devoted to this spiritual exercise that soon it will become a normal part of our routine.

What are some ways you’ve seen the benefits of Scripture memory play out in your own life?

Thomas Meyer: That’s a great question. Why do it? I have four copies at home and it’s right here on my phone. God promises special blessings to those who meditate on his word: spiritual prosperity and spiritual success (Joshua 1:8). I’ve become a more obedient child of God, a better husband, a better father, and a better friend through hiding God’s Word in my heart. Even though I’m far from perfect, more often than not, it causes me to not sin against God.

Can The Memorization Study Bible be used in group settings?

Thomas Meyer: One of the greatest things you can do is memorize with someone else. When I lived in Jerusalem for four years, I visited a yeshiva (Jewish school) where there were students who’ve memorized volumes–Encyclopedia Britannica-sized collections of Jewish Law. One of the main techniques they used was having an accountability partner to quote to. Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17)!

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Thomas Meyer: As someone who’s been called to speak the Word of God from memory as the sermon, I really like to present the entire book of Revelation from heart, unabridged, without any exegesis. I really believe the opening promise “blessed is he that reads” (1:3). I know better than anyone the need for explaining the text, but to hear that book spoken dramatically from memory in one shot–as if you were sitting in the pew somewhere in Asia Minor in the first century–really makes the book more understandable. The Bible is originally meant more for the ears than the eyes. It’s like reading Mozart versus hearing Mozart. The few of us on earth who quote the book of Revelation dramatically from memory are links in the chain that go all the way back to the Apostle John.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App and Bible Audio App?

Thomas Meyer: Even the Bible Memory Man needs to look up Bible passages! As a product of my environment, I’m always on my phone. Whenever I need to find a verse, Bible Gateway is everything I need at the tips of my fingers. I’m able to quickly reference the books/chapters/verses I need with the ability to compare versions with ease. Bible Gateway is an invaluable resource that I highly recommend.

Bio: Professor Thomas Meyer, the Bible Memory Man, has memorized over 20 books of the Bible. He is a frequent Christian guest speaker at churches and conferences where he presents the Bible spoken dramatically from memory in an engaging and powerful manner. Sharing his Bible memory insights, Tom inspires Christians nationally to memorize the Bible. He’s the author of The Memorization Study Bible.

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Filed under Bible, Editions, Interviews