I sat there, feet dangling off the edge of my bed. My ruffled pajama bottoms hung past my ankles and hovered over the top of my toes.
Bedtime was my favorite time with my father. I was a young girl, maybe 3 or 4, but he made it a practice to have my sister and I memorize scripture from a young age. He had a special trick and it worked every time! (In fact, we thought it was magic it worked so well).
Our family would save those cardboard pieces in the stockings and leggings packages. He would start by writing the reference on the left and the first three to four words of the verse after that; like this:
- John 3:16 – For God so loved…
- Galatians 2:20 – For I am crucified…
- Titus 2:11-14 – For the grace…
- Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned…
- Romans 6:23 – For the wages…
This little trick of jogging our young, developing memories caused us to remember these scriptures and hide them in our hearts. Each night, through repetition and implementing this technique, we soon had 50-100 scriptures memorized!
To this day, as an adult, I still recall all of those scriptures we memorized. God has brought them to my mind and heart so many times when I needed encouragement from God’s Word. It reminded me of just how important and valuable memorizing scripture is! That’s why the following book is so dear to my heart as a parent of young children now: I Can Learn the Bible: 52 Scriptures Every Kid Should Know. Take a quick peek inside the book here.
Holly Hawkins Shivers wrote this devotional book for kids, which was adapted from her father’s gift book, The Joshua Code: 52 Scripture Verses Every Believer Should Know.
What an amazing tool to use as a whole family! Parents, read O.S. Hawkins’ book while your children read Holly Hawkins Shivers’ book. What a unique and inspiring book to help kids memorize scripture and live God’s Word out in their individual lives. Each week they will focus on a different verse and apply the principles within that particular lesson.
Here is a preview of the first 10 Chapters and their corresponding memory verses:
- Your View of the Gospel (Genesis 1:1)
- What is the Gospel? (John 3:16)
- Sin and Grace (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- You Have a Shepherd (Psalm 23:1)
- The Good and the Bad, Together (Romans 8:28)
- Thirsty for Doing Right (Matthew 5:6)
- Lost Sheep (Isaiah 53:6)
- Knock, Knock! (Matthew 7:7)
- Fill Me Up! (Ephesians 5:8)
- The Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
Eight practical tips to help children memorize scripture:
1. Write it out. If your children are able to, have them write the verse out three times each day. It’s amazing how simply doing this can help a child retain the verse.
2. Recite it over and over out loud. God’s Word is living and powerful! When we say it out loud, it seems to amplify that power.
3. Color code it. After your child writes it out, have them color code the different verses, or parts of the verse. This is especially fun for artistic children like my daughter.
4. Turn it into a song. Why is it so easy to remember a song, but so hard to remember a verse? It is a proven fact that music is enjoyable. The different melody and notes help children and adults alike, remember the words better.
5. Act it out. What child doesn’t enjoy putting on a show? Have your child create hand motions for the different words or even put on a short play, for a longer passage.
6. Pass around the Bible. Sit in a circle with your family. Have a parent start by saying the first word of the verse and passing the Bible to the next person, who recites the next word. Repeat these steps until you have finished saying the whole verse and reference.
7. Carry around index cards. Write the verse out on index cards and have your child carry them around in their pocket, purse, or backpack. Have them look over these verses and read them in their head during quiet, downtime.
8. Post it. Display the verse in your bathroom, bedroom, refrigerator, or some other central location in your home where your child can quickly glance and read it often.
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What do you believe are some other scriptures every kid should know? What are some ways that your family hides God’s Word in their hearts? What tools have helped your kids the most? What new ones would you like to implement?