The Bible charges parents to, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6 ESV)”. An excellent way to do this is to teach them to memorize scripture.
There are many places in the Bible were parents are instructed to teach, and remind their children of the word of God. A short list from the Old Testament includes: Genesis 18:19, Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19; 32:46, Psalm 78, and Joel 1:3.
In Matthew 19:14, Jesus insists, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” In 2 Timothy 3:15, Paul commends Timothy by writing, “how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
I present here the process my wife and I have used to teach our 4 year old daughter 12 different verses (and counting)! Is it the best way? Well it is the way that worked best for us.
Step 1 Pick several verses or short passages. Example: Let us love one another for love comes from God (1 John 4:7).
Do not be afraid to choose longer passages. Young children will amaze you with the amount of information they can absorb.
Step 2 Print out the verse on a piece of paper or on a 3by5 card. Let your child color and decorate around the verse as you are quoting it to them. When they are done place a sticker or help your child draw a picture to represent the verse. For our example we could choose a heart.
Step 3 Break the verse up into strings of 5 to 7 words and have them repeat the words after you. Always encourage and praise, as they are learning.
Step 4 Have them try and quote the verse to you, your spouse, other family members, and your friends. Praise them and gently correct them if they freeze up or forget out of nervousness.
Step 5 When they have memorized the verse thoroughly, punch three holes in the margin and place it in binder. Let you child decorate the binder. This is their special book. This holds the parts of God’s word that they have memorized.
Step 6 As the binder grows, go back weekly and review the verses. As the number of verses grow you may then review the oldest memory verses monthly and the newer ones weekly.
- Use hand motions while memorizing verses. Movements help us to learn and trigger memory.
- While learning verses keep them on the refrigerator or a bulletin board in plain sight. This will remind us to practice the verse regularly.
- I highly recommend having your child learn the “address” of the verse as well (1 John 4:7 in our example). This is often the most difficult thing to remember, but knowing the verse’s location in the Bible is quite valuable.
- Above all pray for both you and your child that you would learn the valuable lessons of the Bible and have fun!
Blessings and peace.