App review: Memorize Anything
Memorizing Scripture was always one of those things I said I wanted to do as a Christian, but I never had substantial goals, a plan to reach those goals, or tools to help achieve those goals. A renewed interest in memorization came after my friend Truman won second place in the National Bible Bee in 2009, where he memorized hundreds and hundreds of verses from many different books of the Bible. And recently my good friend Matt told me about a blog he read about an individual that was almost finished memorizing the entire New Testament!
Needless to say, I was again provoked.
This time, I wanted to arm myself with a tool. I went on a quick Google hunt and found a great little app for my smartphone that allows me to memorize on the go! It's called Memorize Anything and will work with any fairly recent iOS device.
Though Memorize Anything can be used to memorize anything as the app name obviously states, it is specifically suited to the Bible, providing a means to look up scriptures directly within the app. The scripture tool simply uses Bible Gateway, which provides all of the major translations of the Scriptures in over 50 different languages.
How it works
The app makes memorization easy - not primarily by reading text, but by hearing your own voice read your selected passage over and over again. The concept is simple - you can memorize something easier if you hear it in your own voice with the nuances of your own speech, pauses, and accent.
The app presents an intuitive interface to add new memory passages - a simple record button, a list of suggested passages, and a link to look up your own through Bible Gateway. When you're finished recording, you have the opportunity to label your recording. The most natural name would be the passage itself, but anything can be used.
For a basic trial, I recorded my own voice through the app reciting Colossians 1:15-16 - just two simple, short verses about the glory of Jesus. Much to my surprise, I repeated the verse along with the recording and had these two verses memorized in less than 5 minutes. I was amazed at how well I was able to remember because I was hearing it in my own voice.
The "mute" feature
In addition to the simple interface and the ease of passage lookup, Memorize Anything contains a powerful feature that is more evident with longer recordings.
Sometimes it's easy to think we have a passage memorized when we are still relying on the words in front of us or a recording playing along with us. The app helps to remedy that problem by providing three "difficulty levels" (easy, medium, and hard). As you are reciting the verse along with the recording, the app will selectively and randomly mute portions of your recording to help you see if you've really "got it". "Easy" mutes less while "Hard" mutes much more. This concept is simple yet brilliant because you recite the passage with your own voice, inflections, and speed, and makes it so much easier to know if you've truly memorized a passage.
For a more complex trial, I recorded Colossians 1:17-29. It took longer than 5 minutes to memorize this one, but with the help of the app's difficulty level feature I was able to have it memorized in several days.
When to memorize
After my brief trial in Colossians 1 and Memorize Anything, I'm thoroughly convinced that everyone has time and the ability to memorize the Bible. I was able to completely memorize about 15 fairly complex verses in only a couple of days, and that was only working at it for about 10 minutes each day. I'm hooked now, and I'm currently on track to memorize the entire book of Colossians!
Some practical suggestions of when you can work on your memory passages could be:
- On your drive to work
- As you are eating a meal (between bites!)
- On your run or bike ride
With only a small amount of time and a simple tool like Memorize Anything, you will be amazed how quickly you can memorize the scriptures!
Currently Memorize Anything is available for only 99 cents through the iTunes App Store - just a small price to pay for the treasure of God's word being written on your heart.