Someone will randomly say a line from a movie and the next 20 minutes are spent reciting lines from said movie. Do your children do this? It used to drive me crazy. But then it hit me. God made our brains to store an amazing amount of information. When we see or hear something repeatedly we retain it. Sometimes for years. However, last night it wasn’t movie lines at the supper table; it was songs from a children’s music album that we haven’t even owned for a decade. The children were able sing the words perfectly.
Recent research tells us that memory capacity for the human brain is about one petabyte which is roughly the size of the entire World Wide Web. That is a CRAZY big amount of information!
Beginning Your Child’s Bible Memory work
When our children were very young we started to read books that were age appropriate for them. Many of those were stories from the Bible. As they grew older, we would read to them directly from the Bible. Then once they learned to read, they would have a short quiet time each morning where they read on their own.
Even before they could read we helped our children to memorize God’s word. Our oldest was kindergarten age and was learning the ABCs when we bought some memory cards based on the alphabet. (You could also make your own!) So we began to work on memorizing those verses with our little man (and his younger sister).
A All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God
B Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved
C Children obey your parents in the Lord
D Depart from evil and do good
E Even a child is known by his actions
These are the first scriptures my children ever learned. But what is really amazing to me is that I was able to remember them after not having any review of them recently. I would wager a guess that every member of my family could do the same.
POWER OF REPETITION
When you do something over and over it imprints on your brain. The more ways that you can repeat an item of information, the more strongly it will sink in. As a family we practiced these verses aloud. Also as the children grew older, they wrote them for handwriting and it helped to cement them in their memory. Sometimes we would sit in a circle and each person would say a word. By doing this the younger ones didn’t need to know the whole verse to be included. Of course mom and dad had to know the verse! Great practice for all ages.
Scripture memory in the Teen Years
As our oldest approached the teenage years, we became involved in an activity called Bible Quizzing that I cannot recommend highly enough. It is a game where children (ages 11-19) who have memorized scripture portions compete and answer questions about their material. It is a “sport” in a way because the kids are on teams and work together to “win” a quiz by answering the most questions. But it is also SO much more.
My children have learned the lessons of hard work, humility, and sacrifice through Bible Quizzing. They also have had the opportunity to meet and interact with Christians of all ages and walks of life. It has helped them to develop friendships outside of their normal circle. My son even married a former team mate.
Impact & Lessons Learned from memorizing scripture
Over the years, the kids have memorized portions of most of the books of the New Testament. They all have had the amazing privilege of memorizing and digging deep into a whole book from the Bible. By taking God’s word and planting in their hearts they have stored up treasure for this world and the next.
One of the most ironic things happened when my oldest son was a new teenager. He had hit that stage where his words would come out less than respectful and he was working on changing that at his parent’s “request.” The ironic part was that year he chose to memorize the book of James. We had so many convicting discussions about what God wanted for our words, hearts, actions and it was all based on the verses that he was learning. I asked my son what verse from James has stuck with him from learning it so many years ago and he said James 1:2-8. What a beautiful passage to have cemented in his mind.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Turn up the volume
Something about memorizing makes us pay more attention when we hear it in a sermon or lesson. It’s like God turns the volume up so we can really hear him. Many, many times when we were listening to a sermon or a person teaching on the radio and we would hear the verses that my children were memorizing that year. They would pipe up and say “HEY, that is my verse! I didn’t know it was about that.” Even years later I have seen a child’s antenna go up when they hear a chapter or verse that they have memorized in the past.
Familiarity with the Scripture
I use my kids as a resource. Sometimes I can recall a verse but not the location in the Bible. When I ask them if they know where it is they can at least get me to the book and sometimes the chapter I need. Their familiarity with the Bible is so much BIGGER because of the time they have spent memorizing.
Making BIG goals
Memorizing takes time and effort. LOTS of it, if you are trying to commit chapters and books to memory. I’ve seen my children set goals and then sacrifice other enjoyable activities so that they can achieve their goals. I’ve also seen them cut corners and not get their work done. That leads to learning how to budgeting their time. Another great lesson! The accomplishment of learning scripture is especially awesome because they are placing large amounts of the Bible in their minds. God will use that storehouse in their life for years to come.
By encouraging memorization early in our children’s lives it has become a “normal” thing to do. It is part of the culture of our family. We work it in to our home school day and we do it together. I would encourage you to help your children to pick passages and individual verses to commit to memory. The goal of hiding God’s word in their hearts is one that will benefit them in countless ways.
Best of all it will draw them closer to God.
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Kim blogs at Day to Day Adventures and is a mom of 4, wife, lover of Jesus, sunshine, children and gardens, reader, memory keeper and crafter. You will find JOY on her blog as she shares about day to day life for her family as they work to be organized, grow and make their favorite foods and learn through home schooling. You can find her at Day to Day Adventures or on Facebook,Twitter or Instagram.
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