Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) wrote some 9,000 hymns in her lifetime, including Blessed Assurance. That's pretty incredible. What's even more incredible? She was blinded in the first two months of her life, yet memorized whole books of the Bible during her childhood.
According to Christian History, “While she enjoyed her poetry, she zealously memorized the Bible. Memorizing five chapters a week, even as a child she could recite the Pentateuch, the Gospels, Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, and many psalms chapter and verse.”
It was while reading a biography of Crosby to my boys that it first occurred to me that we could be memorizing not just isolated verses of the Bible, but whole books.
Why Memorize Whole Books of the Bible With Your Kids?
Why? Because Scripture in context is an amazing thing. Because Psalm 119:11 tells us: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Because we reject cultural Christianity, and embrace God's Word in all things. Because their little elastic minds are an amazing thing. Because possession of a Bible is illegal in many places, and history changes quickly. Because Christ fought temptation with Scripture, and so should we. Because it's the Sword of the Spirit.
We memorize large passages of God's Word because Scripture is precious, and life-changing.
My boys recently finished memorizing the first chapter of Romans. (I'm slow. I'm moving through at a different pace.) We plan to work through the entire book of Romans, then move on to Philippians. I'd like to work on John with them after that.
Our technique is simple.
Every morning, the boys work for five minutes.
- First, they read the chapter they're working on.
- Next, they work to memorize the next verse on their schedule. They do this by repeating the verse a number of times out loud (they're in middle school, and it works for them).
- Then they practice the paragraph before the verse they're working on up to and including the verse they're working on. In this way, they add a verse a day, and shore up their long term memory for the passage before.
- On Fridays, they say the book up to the point they're at out loud for me.
Simple, right? It just takes diligence.
Articles and Books on Memorizing Books of the Bible
How to Memorize Entire Books of the Bible by Jemar Tisby
Skip the Verse, Memorize the Book by Joe Carter
14 Reasons to Memorize an Entire Book of the Bible by Andy Naselli
11 Steps to Memorizing an Entire Book of the Bible by Andy Naselli
An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture by Andrew Davis ~ A short ebook for just $0.99 by a recommended author.
How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible by Keith Ferrin ~ This is not just about memorizing books of the Bible. It's a great study tool to work through with your older students.
Of all the things I want to leave my children with, a heritage of God's Word in their hearts is at the top of the list.
Image: Children Reading, 1916, Pekka Halonen (1865 – 1933), Public Domain