The last time I was here, we talked about why we should memorize Scripture and why it's good for our children to learn the discipline of Scripture memorization.
For this post I promised I would give you some practical tips to help your child with memorizing Bible verses. We have used all of these ideas at our house–with a wide variety of ages.
Practical Tips for Memorizing Scripture
1) Make it easy.
Memorizing Scripture does not have to be difficult. You don't have to memorize chapters or books of the Bible all at one time in order for it to be effective. Start small. Just memorize one verse, or even part of a verse, and then add the next section or verse to it. This is especially helpful for young children. It not only helps them remember the verse, but also helps their understanding of the verse develop as they memorize.
Give your child more than a day to memorize each passage. I know that sounds a little exaggerated, but I think it helps to drive home the point. This is not a race – not against siblings, nor against himself. Memorizing Scripture is a joy in and of itself, and you never want your children to begin to feel that it's a task they are failing or slow at.
Our mission as parents is to help each child love the Word of God and not find it a source of failure or incompetency.
- Read the verse together. Read it again slowly.
- Talk about the verse. Explain what it means in language your child can understand.
- If you are not sure what the passage means or how it applies to your life or your child's life, ask God to help you. He will.
- Let your child repeat each phrase of the verse after you say it aloud. Then say the whole verse together. Practice this each day.
2) Make it ever-present.
Keeping the verse you are memorizing ever-present in your daily life helps you to see the importance of the verse, or what God may be wanting to teach through that verse. Children need literal, black-and-white explanations. The Bible truly comes to life for them when they can see how it helps them.
- Copy memory verses onto index cards. Copying helps the child to think about and process the meaning of the verse while also helping to memorize the words and word order. We like to put the cards into a file box so we can look back at all the Bible verses we have memorized.
- Depending on the ages of the children, we have also written the Bible verses onto index cards attached in a spiral notebook. In fact, I have carried one of these spiral index card books with pretty cards (and a cover that closes) in my purse for several years. I take it wherever I go and then pull it out to meditate on my memory verse while waiting at appointments, etc. My older children have done this, too.
- Write your memory verse on a blackboard or white board in a prominent area of your house. This puts the verse in a place where everyone will see it often throughout the course of the day.
- Make your verse into wall art. My children love art and have always enjoyed copying their memory verse onto a piece of paper, decorating it with a beautiful picture or representation of the verse, and then hanging it near their bed.
3) Make it catchy.
Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head that you could not get rid of? It was probably a song that you didn't like, wasn't it? Those catchy tunes seem to stick, whether we want them to or not. So why not put that principle to work for you?
- Recite/practice the verse at every family meal. I know this doesn't sound very “catchy,” but the familiar rhythm that develops will help the words flow together and make them easier to remember.
- Make the verse into a song and sing it together every day.
- Create motions to go with each word or phrase of the verse. It feels silly to do, but the body movements help our brains commit the words to memory.
I hope these practical tips for Bible memorization help you. Be creative. Come up with ideas that work for your family. The important thing is that you are writing the Word on their hearts… and yours.
What is your favorite way to memorize Scripture?