The Importance of Memorizing Scripture with Children

—Kathryn Eriksen, Director of Children and Youth Ministries

In order to master math, music, and scripture memory, you need to practice over and over. No practice, no improvement!

Consider Psalm 119: 9, 11
How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your Word. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

Scripture memory can help you get victory over sin. When temptations come along, God brings to mind that verse from memory that specifically addresses the temptation.

I saw this play out in our family this spring with the growing anxiety in one of our children over the dreaded End of Grade tests. At times she seemed paralyzed by the stress of not getting it right. (I understand—she’s my daughter!)

A friend at church reminded me of the power of scripture. So, my daughter and I memorized Philippians 4:14 together. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” We said it in the car before drop-off at school, wrote it in her agenda so she would see it throughout the day, said it before practice homework and bedtime when I kissed her goodnight. We practiced that verse so much, Jack started repeating it to her when she began stressing.

She began to relax, she began to process that Christ was always with her, and that in her weakness Christ could shine. I later learned that as her class talked and journaled about how to deal with stress, she shared about how praying to God always helped.

Memorizing scripture was a huge part of what helped her begin to learn to overcome that sin of worry (Matthew 6:25f.).

“Since we want children to learn to love the word of God, we should start Bible memory at the earliest opportunity. Although their minds may not understand every word, our prayer is that their spirits will be touched. As their life experiences add to their understanding, these verses will come to mean even more to them.”—David and Sally Michael, Foundation Verses

How should we start?

Here's a sample schedule you could follow for each day of the week:

• MONDAY: Read and repeat x2. Talk about any unfamiliar words. Color a coloring page and post somewhere where you'll see it often (car, fridge, dining room).

• TUESDAY: Look up the verse in the Bible. Read. Repeat x2. What's one thing this verse is telling us about Jesus?

• WEDNESDAY: Read. Repeat x2. Write or draw out the verse.

• THURSDAY: Read. Repeat x2. Talk about how this verse might apply to your lives.

• FRIDAY: See if you can say the verse from memory and celebrate!

• the NEXT MONDAY: Loop back to the previous week's verse. Repeat and then start on a new verse. Continue repeating the older verses each week.

Start with your child’s Sunday School verses. Their teachers are already working on this with them, but they need your help! I’d love to talk with you about this as I have lots of resources to help. The biggest encouragement I can leave you with is just start and figure out what works for your family as you go.