Memorizing Philippians: An Unexpected Downside

As I continue to progress in my goal of memorizing the book of Philippians in Greek (I added three more verses yesterday on my drive up to Virginia), I noticed something unexpected. My mind was “chunking” the text. Those of you who are familiar with the term “chunking” in discourse studies will think this is a good thing. The problem is, I’m not chunking the way a speaker naturally divides up his text based upon the flow of information he is communicating. Instead, my mind is creating divisions in the text based upon the chunks of verses I add to my memory.

As I go over the text in my mind, the following divisions are present:

  1. Philippians 1:1-3
  2. Philippians 1:4-8
  3. Philippians 1:9-11
  4. Philippians 1:12-14

As I reflect and ruminate upon the text, I know these divisions are faulty. For instance, the text should be divided in these places:

  1. Philippians 1:1-2
  2. Philippians 1:3-11
  3. Philippians 1:12-? (I haven’t gotten there quite yet).

Despite knowing this, upon recitation, I cannot help but chunk the text into the segments I added them to my memory. Do you have any advice on how to remedy the situation? The ideal solution is to memorize the text according to its natural divisions. Yet, I doubt I will be able to add huge chunks like 1:3-11 to memory in a sitting. I’m open to your thoughts!

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7 Responses to Memorizing Philippians: An Unexpected Downside

  1. Hi Jacob,
    You might be able to figure out where the accurate subdivisions in a section are, memorize the subdivisions as chunks, and then add an additional step of reviewing them as a section. Your brain should be able to “bind” them together through the review process. It may take a little extra review at the places where they join together, but I think I have done something similar when memorizing verses in English.

  2. GeoffSmith says:

    yeah, just keep going and then as recite larger and larger chunks from memory, the discourse structure will be more evident to you

    • jacobcerone says:

      The divisions are becoming evident as I go along. As kellys4christ mentioned, the problem is binding those divisions together naturally instead of having to correct myself as I go. My hope is that, as I memorize more and more, sections will just “pop” out in my mind. We shall see.

  3. GeoffSmith says:

    The guy who taught me about the discourse structure of Philippians posted just at the same time I did about the discourse structure of Philippians.

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