Children have an amazing capacity for memory. I am often amazed when my two year-old will quote lines from books without any real effort. She has simply learned by repetition as we read books over and over and over again. As a young mom, I have often been convicted not only about my responsibility to protect my daughter’s mind from evil, but to also intentionally fill it with good things. What better way to fill her mind with truth than to teach her to memorize the Word of God at a young age.

Don’t underestimate a child’s ability to memorize.  I have watched my young daughter quickly memorize entire story books and have heard her come home from church quoting Bible memory verses that she learned in Sunday School without any encouragement from me. I love how quickly she can memorize! I have been challenged to help her hide God’s Word in her heart now while she is little and memory comes so easily. 

Why Should We Memorize Scripture?

The Bible is God’s Word to us, as human beings, as believers. It is the means by which we first understand the gospel story: that we are sinners and deserve eternal punishment and separation from God, and yet, God loved us enough to send Jesus to take the punishment for our sin so that we be forgiven and live with Him forever. 

The Bible also teaches us how we ought to live and interact with each other and the world; how to love and interact with our families; how to live righteously in an ungodly world. It is the Sword of the Spirit, a Lamp to our feet, a comfort to our aching hearts, and most importantly, it reveals to us the Person and Nature of God himself. When we memorize scripture, we are planting it deep in our hearts so that in times of temptation, struggle, pain, discouragement, and uncertainty, those verses will come to our minds to encourage and instruct us in the way we should go. As we teach children scripture, we are giving them a solid foundation of biblical truths that they will build on as they continue to grow in the knowledge and understanding of God and His Word.

How to help children Memorize Scripture?

There are multiple methods you can use to memorize scripture, but for any of them, repetition is key. One of the best ways, I think, to help children memorize the Bible is through scripture songs. I am thinking specifically of songs that either directly quote the scripture or tell a story that very closely follows the Biblical narrative. Other songs are important too, in fact, good music with rich theology is foundational for teaching children what we believe. 

There are several good groups/albums out there, but His Word in Me has become my favorite for scripture memory songs.The melodies are simple and sweet and the text is either word-for-word scripture or a close retelling of a Biblical account. We play these albums almost daily in our house and my daughter has many of them memorized. I love knowing that while she is listening and singing these sweet songs, she is hiding God’s Truth in her heart. 

Another way to help children memorize is to repeat it early and often. Try practicing a verse while doing an activity that you already do. For example, maybe you’re working on memorizing Ephesians 6:1, say the verse out loud every time you get your child dressed or change his diaper/take him potty or you could practice it at meal times while you’re eating together. I love to work on Bible memory while we are outside walking – it’s a great way to practice saying the verses out loud and then talk about the meaning of the words.

In addition, adding hand motions to your memory verses can be a fun way to keep young children engaged AND help them to remember words. You can use sign language or make up your own signs, whatever helps you and your child remember. 

One of the most important things to remember as you seek to help your children memorize the Bible is to keep it light and fun. When children begin to pull away or lose interest, move on, don’t force it. At this young age, the best learning will happen organically. Sometimes you may hear the child quoting little pieces of the verse while he is playing – gently encourage it and finish quoting the verse. Little bits here and there will add up into a memory bank of Bible verses. 

Consider including other family members in your scripture memory plan. Small children can be working on a small phrase of the verse while older children can be memorizing the whole verse or even an entire passage. As mama’s, we are often learning – or re-learning – these verses right along with our kids and how sweet it is to hide the words of scripture in our hearts together. 

What Version of the Bible Should We Memorize?

Bible translations is a huge subject of debate and I am not here to tell you which is right or wrong. I will say that while I currently read and study from the Christian Standard Bible, I grew up reading and memorizing the King James Version of the Bible and I still prefer it for memorization simply because it is familiar to me and it is a little more lyrical than some of the more modern translations which makes it a little easier to memorize.

The goal is to hide God’s Word in our hearts which comes from reading and listening to it repetitively and you probably will not do either of those things if you pick a version that you prefer not to read ordinarily. Memorize from whatever translation you will be reading from most often in your home so that your children hear the consistency and memorize more quickly.

What Verses Should I Memorize with My Children?

When children are small and just starting to talk, start with a short Bible verse that can be easily repeated over and over. While I am an advocate for memorizing an entire verse in its proper context, young children will benefit from the simplicity of verses that are just 3-5 words long. Some verses are easier to shorten than others and you can always add the rest of the verse to memory as the child gets a little older. Consider Ephesians 6:1, “Children obey your parents.” or John 13:34, “Love one another” as some beginning verses to memorize.

As they grow, children will be able to memorize increasingly longer passages of scripture and don’t be surprised if this is sooner than you think. My daughter was quoting almost the entirety of Psalm 23 at 2.5 years old! I like to choose passages that have some relevance to the child’s life (ie. Eph. 6:1) and have a straightforward application. 

Here are some scripture verses and passages to start with:

1. The Armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-11, 13-18

2. Children Obey- Ephesians 6:1-3

3. Psalm 23

4. Luke 2:1-20

5. Psalm 19

6. Fruit of the Spirit- Galatians 5:22-23

7. The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13

8. The Ten Commandments – Exodus 20:2-17

For an older child, consider having him memorize the “Romans Road” verses, Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 8:1, 10:9. Try making verse cards to aid in memory. Grab some index cards and then write one whole verse on each index card. Children may have fun personalizing their cards with different colored pens or stickers. You could even play a simple Bible memory game by mixing up the cards and then challenging kids to put them in the correct order. There are so many creative ways that you can memorize Bible verse, just make sure to keep it light and fun. 

Scripture Cards to Help Your Child Memorize Scripture

While you do not need any special tools to learn Bible verses, one thing I have found to help is visual aids and reminders, especially for children who do not yet read. I learned this firsthand when I realized that my two-year-old had memorized several short storybooks and could quote them word-for-word. We obviously did not practice this, it just happened as we read them over and over and over. As I began to think about this, I began to have this idea that I could create something that would be enjoyable to look at and read, but would be straight scripture verses. My hope was that as we read the verses over and over we could begin to memorize them without it feeling like we were trying. 

These scripture cards were born out of that idea. I started with Psalm 23 because it is the first passage I memorized with my daughter, but it is also a very familiar passage and relatively short. I suggest printing the cards onto card stock and then laminating them for durability. Read them over and over – slip them in your morning basket, review them at meals or bedtime, “read” through them like you would a book, however, it is most helpful to you. I would encourage you to even let your child handle them and play with them to become familiar enough to be interested and WANT to read them. You can check them out in my shop here. 

Hopefully these ideas help you as you seek to plant God’s Word deep in the hearts of your children.

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