Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Busy Mom's Guide to Scripture Memory


Memorizing Scripture will impact my children's lives in far-reaching ways, but memorization often gets buried under laundry, dishes, and math flashcards.

When my children were preschoolers I realized they could memorize with little effort. They heard a silly rhyme and could recall it a week later. They quoted their favorite storybooks word for word. I wanted to include Scripture memory in our days, so I decided to see if we could learn the Christmas story. I read the first section of Luke 2 every day. I didn't know if young children could learn the passage, but by the end of the month, I would overhear my four-year-old quote the verses while playing (though the verses on taxation were muddled).

Encouraged by success, the next month I chose a shorter passage, Psalm 1. I quoted it while pushing them on the swing or driving to the grocery store. As they became familiar with the verses, I'd pause and allow them to fill in the next word or phrase. We added some hand motions, so the one-year-old could join in.

That was ten years ago. We discovered that passages were easier to memorize fluently than individual verses. The Psalms were favorites, but we also learned the Ten Commandments and short passages from the Gospels and Epistles. As the children grew older, we chose harder passages (this year we are tackling the book of James), but we also spend more time reviewing verses so we won't forget them.

To review verses, I printed off all the passages we learned and placed them in a three-ring binder. Every school morning I read the new passage with the children joining in, and then we review an old passage. I mark our place in the review notebook with a sticky note. Sometimes we spend a week or more reviewing the same passage if the younger children need the practice. As a side-benefit, Mom (that's me) gets consistent time spent reviewing God's Word.

Bible memorization can seem like just one more thing for a busy mom to do—even if it takes only five minutes. I found that connecting it to another activity worked best. When my children were little, I often said the verses as I gave them their baths and tucked them into bed at night. Then we switched to repeating our verses every day at lunch. We don't usually skip meals so this was an effective method. 

Now memorization is connected to school work, but I'm thinking of switching back to mealtimes. I want Scripture memorization to be a life-long habit continued long after formal school days are over. After all, “man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

And that makes it more important than flashcards and laundry.

This article was first published in The Homeschooler's Friend - CLP's magazine for homeschoolers.

I'd love to hear more of your tips for helping your children memorize Scripture.

5 comments :

  1. I admire your determination! I don't know how you do it but memorizing scripture will carry them through the rough times and they will remember how hard you tried. I am praying for you and your family.

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  2. I am always blessed when I stop by your blog. The ministry of hymns. Bible memorization. Yes.yes. but when I read about Ed's latest news today my heart broke for you. I pray that you can find your security and hope in God and the wisdom for your weighty decisions. You will be in my prayers with many caring thoughts. Love, Elaine

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  3. What a great article! I was inspired to copy out Psalm 19 by hand - I always notice more when I copy out Scripture, like the first half of Psalm 19 stands out most when I read it, but copying it out, I noticed the second half more.

    I remember reading about how Jews have an emphasis on study being prayer: even the 'driest' of Leviticus commands is cause for love and praise: "The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart" Psalm 19:8
    Everything about God is true (true like a plumb line), and how wonderful and beautiful it is, that it is so!

    Imagine that the subject of "sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb" is not only God's love and comfort, but also His "judgments"!

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  4. I recently read about helping your child learn the a b c's by having them memorize a simple Bible verse to go along with each letter. I really like that idea, and plan to try it with my 3 year old.

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  5. http://thywordcreations.com/ this is a website that sells Scripture songs for memorizing. We have found that singing Scripture is an almost effortless way to memorize and it sticks in the mind better. The passages I've memorized this way are easier to recall than others. You can also make up your own simple tunes to Scripture. You mentioned memorizing James. I knew a family that did that and they made up a tune, nothing fancy, just a simple tune that helped with the memory!

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