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"The Brain Man" memorising tips from Terry Small, memorisation

 May 2010 

We were greatly blessed when we attended and spoke at a homeschooling conference in Christchurch in March. We were very encouraged by the main speaker, Terry Small from Canada. His subject was our brains and what amazing organs they are and how people can mobilise their brains for more effective learning.

He said that over the past two years, more has been learnt about the brain than in all the previous history of mankind. Furthermore he said that over the next two years, more is going to be learnt than in the past two years.

Perhaps the main thing he said was this: It is the connections in our brain that gives mental ability. The more connections we have, the greater our ability to remember things.

It has been discovered that we have 100 billion brain cells with approximately 40,000 connections in each cell. And so we have a vast, almost immeasurable number of possible connections in our brains.

Terry gave many illustrations, stating ways that we can increase the number of connections to make for more effective memory and learning.

All that we learnt at the Conference about the brain is helping us greatly with Scripture Memory. In my Scripture memory, I was already applying some of the techniques Terry spoke about, but there were some that I was not applying.

Among the things he said, I remember some of the following points.

1. Write it down

You remember ten percent more by writing things down in your own handwriting rather than just memorising typed passages. For the past 16 years I have been writing down the Scriptures in my own handwriting, but I have mistakenly told people that it's okay to type verses out.

2. Use colours

It is best to use different coloured pens for the various verses in a passage as colour is powerful in making connections in our brains. 16 years ago, I used blue, black, green and red pens but after a year or two, I reverted to just one colour - either black or blue. Recently I have started underlining, in a red felt tip pen, some of the sentences I have trouble remembering.

3. Enjoy.

We learn better the things we like. Because Scripture Memory has become such a joy to me, I now find it much more easy to memorise God's Word than in the early years of my life.

4. Move about.

By standing up, you learn at least 10 percent more according to surveys done in universities. For years, I have been walking for an hour a day memorising Scripture. I have found this to be a great help rather than sitting in one place.

5. Speak out loud

Memorise Scriptures out loud as you learn 50 percent more by speaking. Over the years I had tried memorising Scripture by reciting the verses verbally, but didn't think it helped much. But now I recite the verses out loud as I walk and I have found it amazing. I am now memorising passages much more quickly and even sharpening up on passages I learnt years ago.

6. Recite to someone else

Another point I have found helpful that I don't recall learning at the conference is to get someone to listen to you recite the passages. The problem is to get someone who has the time to listen to you. When we were going on a trip back in February, I recited the Seven Churches of Revelation to Priscilla and she to me because we were memorising them as a family.


We believe that Scripture Memory is a key way we can connect with God to make Him the deepest joy in our lives. We believe that the memorisation of Scripture fills our minds with what is good and holy and pure. When our minds are filled with God's Word and He becomes a great joy to us, then addictions like pornography, alcoholism and food disorders can be overcome.

Our family was greatly blessed by hearing Terry Small and we are now using modern brain discoveries to help us in our walk with God. Terry Small is referred to as the Brain Man

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