For years, people have asked me how I memorize scripture. It is only to the testimony of two of my precious mentors (Ms. Jane & MaryBeth) that I ever began to understand the importance of learning God’s Word in this way. While it’s still important to memorize individual verses, especially those that bring great encouragement to you, learning the Bible chapter by chapter really builds up a new vocabulary for your heart.
Now that I have kids, I’m attempting to pass that same passion on to them. Here are a few keys I’ve found:
*Learn the verse(s) yourself – you cannot teach what you do not know
*Write the verse down in BIG PRINT (even if your kids cannot read yet) and post it in a highly visible and frequently passed place in your home (for us, it’s the refrigerator). If your kids are young, try doing it on construction paper with crayons, writing it in colored markers, or adding pictures above the words to help them learn to read the words they’re memorizing!
*Make up hand gestures to go along with the words
*Make up a song to go with the verse – we always remember songs even when we don’t want to!
*Practice Frequently! The prime times to capture your kids’ attention are bed time, meal time and travel time. It doesn’t even have to be purposeful – what I mean is this: once you teach your kids the verse (that does need to be a purposeful time set aside from other distractions) you can sing it while you’re getting dinner ready, while you’re dressing them, while you’re driving in the car, etc. I often find my kids pick things up better when I’m not expecting them to listen (for better or for worse!). At night, after we’re done praying over the kids, we’ll recite the verse they’re working on for that week.
*Stick to one verse a week – depending on the length of the verse and the age of the child, you may need to adjust your time frame. But this way, it really has time to sink in.
*There is a book called “Faith Training” by Dr. Joe White that I’ve reviewed on my “Books” link that gives great, practical advice on teaching scripture as well as suggestions for what passages to teach to what age group. He even suggests paying kids once they memorize verses – after all, if we pay them to rake leaves or put toys away, why not pay them to do something even more important?
Below is our latest verse on the fridge: John 1:12. We just finished Psalm 23 last month and John 1:1 this month – so you’ll notice John 1:12 is written on the bottom half of that paper with my silly drawings around the words.
The fridge is a great place for us because I can hang it at the kids’ eye level, and anytime we’re in the kitchen it’s a reminder for me to bring that week’s verse back to our attention.
Below is a VERY AMATEUR video I made of the tune and hand gestures to go along with the verse. Remember, the signs are not all true American Sign Language and the tune is simply something that came to my head as I listenend to the rhythm of the verse when saying it out loud.
I hope this helps answer some questions and inspire all of you. Remember, never underestimate your kids. Their brains are powerful and their hearts were created to comprehend these words. Pay attention to the individual needs of your child(ren) and never make it a competition.
If you found this helpful, leave me a comment and let me know. If enough of you respond, I’ll start posting better pictures of how I write out the verses and continue adding teaching video.
Never focus on what you haven’t been doing, but instead start today with a bigger vision for your family!
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13b-14