To help reduce (but not eliminate!) the guesswork involved in pre-jumping of Memory Verses this season, the following deep dive into the 92 Memory Verses of Romans and James revealed a few words of caution: Do, For, Let, and Therefore.
#1: Only 32% of the single-verse memory verses are unique at the first word.
This is the lowest rate of unique word starts for memory verses in the last 7 seasons of Youth Bible Quizzing. The lesson here is that caution is warranted when jumping on a single-verse memory verse. You will know if it is a single-verse memory verse when the Quizmaster starts reading the question with “Finish this verse…” If it were a multiple-verse memory verse, the Quizmaster would instead say, “Finish these verses…”.
That being said, I still encourage quizzers to jump as the Quizmaster starts reading the first word of the verse portion of a single-verse memory verse. This is because there is typically a fraction of a second between the quizzer’s jump, the equipment beep, and the Quizmaster’s recognition to stop reading the question. In that fraction of a second the Quizmaster will likely reveal the entirety of the first word and perhaps begin reading the second word.
In Romans and James, an additional 37 (62%) single-verse memory verses are unique at the second word. That means 94% of the single-verse memory verses are unique by the second word.
As for the multiple-verse memory verses, 53% are unique at the first word and 34% are unique at the second word. So, if you are comfortable with a 53% chance of knowing the verse at the first word (hint: you should be), then jump before the Quizmaster starts reading the verse portion of the question.
94% of the single-verse Romans & James memory verses are unique by the second word
According to the National Center for Voice and Speech, the average conversation rate for English speakers in the United States is 125-150 words per minute. If you take up to 5 seconds before you even begin reciting the memory verse, at a normal speed and without pausing you only have time to recite 57 words. Thus, it is to your advantage to ensure you know the 3 longest memory verses very, very well:
- Romans 1:16-17 (“For I am not ashamed…”, 60 words = 26 seconds at normal speed)
- Romans 8:3-4 (“For what the law was…”, 69 words = 30 seconds at normal speed)
- Romans 11:30-32 (“Just as you who were…”, 62 words = 27 seconds at normal speed)
Now, on to the words of caution:
Word of Caution: “Do”
There are four single-verse memory verses that begin with “Do”. To complicate matters, they are not unique until the third word!
- Romans 12:2 - “Do not conform…”
- Romans 12:19 - “Do not take…”
- Romans 12:21 – “Do not be…”
- James 1:22 – “Do not merely…”
Word of Caution: “For”
I predict a lot of quizzers will be saying “ugh!” this year when they jump on a verse that begins with “For”. This season there are 8 single-verse and 7 multiple-verse memory verses that begin that word:
- Romans 1:20 – “For since…”
- Romans 2:11 – “For God…”
- Romans 2:13 – “For it…”
- Romans 6:14 – “For sin…”
- Romans 6:23 – “For the…”
- Romans 7:18 – “For I…”
- Romans 11:36 – “For from…”
- James 2:10 – “For whoever…”
- Romans 1:16-17 – “For I am not…”
- Romans 3:23-24 – “for all…”
- Romans 8:3-4 – “For what…”
- Romans 8:24-25 – “For in…”
- Romans 8:38-39 – “For I am convinced…”
- Romans 12:4-5 – “For just…”
- Romans 14:7-8 – “For none…”
Word of Caution: “Let”
There are three single-verse memory verses that begin with “Let”:
- Romans 13:1 – “Let everyone…”
- Romans 13:8 – “Let no…”
- Romans 14:19 – “Let us…”
Word of Caution: “Therefore”
“Therefore” is a long word. Therefore (ha!) you will not likely get a second word from the Quizmaster when pre-jumping on these verses. This season there are 4 single-verse verses of which to be aware:
- Romans 3:20 – “Therefore no…”
- Romans 12:1 – “Therefore, I…”
- Romans 14:13 – “Therefore let…”
- James 5:16 – “Therefore confess…”
In summary, my recommendation regarding jumping on memory verses this season of Romans and James:
- Single verses – Jump as the Quizmaster starts reading the first word of the Bible verse. The only real risks (other than getting out-jumped) are the four “Do” and four “Therefore” memory verses which account for only 13% of the single-verse memory verses.
- Multiple verses – Jump just before the Quizmaster starts reading the first word of the Bible verse. The seven “For” verses could be an issue, but a fast-talking Quizmaster may utter a portion of the second word before they recognize the buzzer.
- Memorize Romans 1:16-17, 8:3-4, and 11:30-32 extremely well and practice reciting them quickly.