Important Scriptures for Your Kids to Memorize

Scripture memorization is a great way to help your kids keep God’s words on their hearts and in their minds. Your church may not encourage your kids to memorize scripture. If you want your kids to know what God would want them to do without having to take the time to research, look up and read scriptures, memorization is key.

With so many possible passages, which ones should you help your kids memorize? Below is a list of some of the scriptures that can help your kids be who God wants them to be.

Some of the passages are only one or two verses. You will need to review these regularly in order for them to transfer to your children’s long term memories. Longer passages should do that automatically because of the number of repetitions they take to memorize.

Make sure your kids understand what they are memorizing. Explain to them how those verses can help them if they memorize them. Since memorization assignments at home are rare for non-homeschoolers, you may want to have ways to celebrate whenever they memorize passages.

The scriptures have been divided into categories to help you organize your memorization project.

Classic Scriptures

  • Psalm 23
  • Acts 2:38
  • Deuteronomy 6:6-7
  • Luke 6:31
  • John 1:1-14
  • 1 Corinthians 13
  • Matthew 5:2-12
  • John 3:16-17

Scriptures to Comfort

  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
  • Romans 8:26-28
  • Psalm 1:1-6
  • Isaiah 40:29-31
  • Proverbs 3:5-6

Scriptures About Courage

  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • 2 Timothy 1:7
  • Joshua 1:9
  • 1 Peter 5:7
  • Isaiah 41:10
  • Matthew 6:31-33

Scriptures About Behavior

  • 1 John 1:8
  • James 1:27
  • Colossians 3:23
  • Proverbs 29:11
  • Psalm 34:14
  • 1 Timothy 4:12
  • Ephesians 2:10
  • Matthew 5:13-16

Scriptures About Our Heart

  • Philippians 4:8-9
  • Galatians 5:22-23
  • Luke 16:13
  • 1 Peter 5:5
  • Proverbs 21:2
  • Matthew 22:37-38
  • Psalm 51:17
  • Ephesians 4:32

Scriptures About Family

  • Proverbs 6:20
  • Colossians 3:20
  • 1 Timothy 5:8
  • Ephesians 6:1-4
  • Proverbs 15:17

Scriptures About Friends (and Enemies)

  • 1 Corinthians 15:33
  • Proverbs 17:17
  • Ephesians 4:2
  • Luke 6:35
  • Proverbs 27:17
  • 1 John 4:7
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11
  • Proverbs 27:6-9
  • Hebrews 10:24-25
  • 1 Peter 4:8-10
  • Proverbs 22:24-25

Don’t know these scriptures yourself? What a better family activity than memorizing them together? Having God’s words on the hearts and minds of your family will help all of you.

Creating Space for Your Kids to Grow

Maria Montessori was an Italian educator who believed giving children the freedom to explore their environment was the best way for them to learn. She developed classrooms full of interesting things that would engage children, encourage them to explore, experiment and ultimately learn.

While I don’t necessarily agree with everything in her theories, she did have some important points. And though as far as we know, she didn’t apply them to a child’s spiritual growth and development, they do.

The ministry of Jesus and how he discipled the apostles is very interesting. We know now what their futures held, but they didn’t. Jesus did, however, and he spent a lot of time teaching and mentoring them. But look a little more closely.

There were times where he went off to pray and left them to themselves. At other times, he sent one or more of them on what could basically be described as an errand. Once he sent them off for a period of time to try teaching and healing on their own.

These opportunities gave the apostles time and room to process, think, pray, day dream, experiment and practice. The Bible doesn’t give us many details about what they did during these times. We know a few of their activities like fishing, sleeping, discussing, arguing and talking to those around them, but we can only imagine the other things they did during those times.

The apostles spent about three years with Jesus. Yet the teaching, mentoring and free space and time to grow helped them do just that. As far as we know, with the exception of Judas, they all became courageous ministers.

Who knows the plans God has for your kids? What Maria Montessori and Jesus knew though is that your kids need some free time. They need time to pray, read scripture and process everything they are learning about God. They need time to reflect on scripture and think about who God has created them to be. They need time to experiment with the gifts God may have given them and think about how they can be more like Jesus. They need to experiment in the ways they can best serve others and share their faith.

They won’t have the time to do these things if every moment is not just scheduled, but over scheduled. Or if their free time is spent interacting with screens. Fill your home with things they can explore, experiment with and ultimately learn. Give them enough free time without devices so they can work on becoming who God wants them to be.

This will probably mean making some tough decisions. Activities will have to be cut. Ignore societal pressure that demands every child be engaged in programmed activities every minute of every day. Yes, idle hands can be the devil’s workshop, but only if there is no godly adult presence and guidance. Give your kids the space and time to grow to be the person God created them to be. You may just be pleasantly surprised how they grow when they have the space and time to do it.

Finding God Moments for Frazzled Parents

I absolutely love those perfect family Christmas photos. You know, the ones where the children are clean, smiling and rather angelic looking. Reality is different – even in those families. Parenting can be exhausting and leave you feeling constantly frazzled. Depending upon your circumstances, you may find yourself falling asleep any time you sit down or have moved on to the more subtle emotional and mental exhaustion that often comes with older children.

It seems like your energy is spent trying to make sure you are keeping all of those parenting balls you are juggling up in the air. If you had to be totally honest, you can’t really remember the last time you prayed or read the Bible. Forget reflecting on God’s word or taking a Sabbath type rest. That’s for when your kids are grown and gone. You may even be missing worship services for aany number of reasons.

Part of that exhaustion you are feeling is because you are spiritually exhausted, too. Pouring love into your precious little ones, serving them in hundreds of unnoticed ways, teaching them about who God wants them to be are all wonderful, lovely and godly things you are doing in your ministry to your children and at times their friends.

When we constantly feed others out of our spiritual cup without refilling it though, we are left feeling empty in the deepest parts of our soul. Even Jesus had to take time to separate from everyone and reconnect with God.

I know. You eat on the run and shower with little ones knocking on the door. When are you supposed to find some time to spend with God? You tried getting up before the kids for quiet time and that didn’t work well. So now what?

Instead of looking for large blocks of time, seek moments with God. Pray while you are rocking or feeding the baby. Read your kids a Bible story or a Bible verse as part of your day – often during a meal together works best. Reflect on that verse whenever you can during the day. Sing worship songs to your kids as lullabies or in the car as you go from place to place.

If you give God your moments each day, you will be amazed what He can do with them. There will be seasons where you can have those long extended times with God, but for now make sure to give Him those moments. You may find some of that rest and calm you so badly need in the process.

Raising Forgiving Children

“ For if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15 ESV). This is perhaps one of the more frightening passages in the Bible.

We think we are teaching our kids to forgive their siblings, yet sibling rivalry often has its roots in holding grudges for the inevitable wrongs siblings commit against each other. As parents, you can force your kids to say the words, but getting them to develop a forgiving heart is a lot more difficult.

Living in our culture doesn’t make it any easier. People are encouraged to hold grudges against entire nations, races and other groups. It’s a great way for politicians to maintain their power – by convincing everyone they will “right the wrongs” their opponents “are encouraging”. At its core, it’s a philosophy of revenge – not forgiveness.

Even churches struggle with teaching forgiveness in meaningful, practical ways. Your kids will most likely only get the platitude version of the verse above, when they need more practical help in understanding and practicing forgiveness.

There are some things you can do at home to help your kids to develop more forgiving hearts. Here are some of our favorites.

  • Share Bible stories in a different way. The stories of Jacob and Esau are a good example. Instead of just telling the story, stop at various points and ask your kids how Jacob or Esau must feel. Ask how hard it might be for Esau to forgive Jacob. Then read the story of Jacob and Esau reuniting. Point out that Esau had evidently forgiven Jacob before he received all of the gifts. Have your kids think of the things Esau might have done to be able to forgive Jacob. Joseph forgiving his brothers is another great example…and he even says why he was able to forgive what they had done.
  • Encourage your kids to talk to God about what happened and ask for His help forgiving the other person . The best thing your kids can do in any circumstance is to turn to God for help. If you can get them to do as the Bible says and pray for the other person, it will help them develop a forgiving heart towards that person.
  • Teach your kids that they can forgive even if the person never asks for it. This can be tough for everyone. There is a belief that forgiving someone who hasn’t apologized is the same as saying they didn’t do anything wrong. Forgiveness is about allowing the person to start “fresh” with you – as if the negative incident had never happened. It’s not about saying the person was right when they did the hurtful thing.
  • Teach your kids that when they forgive someone, they should try to stop thinking about what happened. There may be things that remind them of what happened. They still may hurt physically or emotionally from what happened. The key to forgiving and ultimately forgetting as much as we can is to not allow yourself to continually think about what happened and get yourself angry all over again. Time will ease the pain, if your kids learn to stop themselves as soon as they realize they are thinking about the incident and redirect their thinking to something more pleasant.
  • Help them see the full picture. This has to be done carefully and in the correct timing. People who are mean have often been mistreated themselves and aren’t happy people. When something first happens and your child is venting is not the best time to have this conversation. Once they have calmed down a bit, they may be more willing to think about having a little empathy for the other person. It doesn’t excuse the negative behaviors, but it can make them easier to forgive.
  • Teach them to assume the best. People are often totally ignorant that they have hurt or offended others in some way. It is quite possible your child misunderstood what happened or is missing some critical details that would change the interpretation of the event. Teach your kids to start with assuming the person didn’t mean to hurt them. It’s a lot easier for most people to forgive accidents and mistakes than intentionally inflicted pain.
  • Encourage your kids to keep practicing. If the incident was extremely painful, it may take time for the hurt and anger to totally subside. Teach your child that in addition to redirecting their thoughts away from the incident, they should forgive the person again every time the thought returns.
  • Don’t allow your kids to keep a running list of the wrongs of others. This can be tough to do, but reminding yourself of everything the person has done to you in the middle of processing the current incident is only going to add fuel to the proverbial fire. Don’t allow your kids to say things like the other person “always” or “never” does something. Even if it were true, it doesn’t help them forgive.
  • Remind older kids and teens that forgiveness is not optional. It is ultimately their choice as to whether or not they choose to forgive someone. God, however, didn’t tell us to forgive others only when we feel like it. He commanded it. This means forgiveness is one of those things they need to really practice until they are able to forgive, because it is an expectation God has of His people.

Forgiveness isn’t always easy. You may be tempted to avoid teaching your kids about forgiveness because you still struggle with it yourself. It’s okay to be honest with your kids and work on forgiveness together. Everyone will benefit as you all learn to be more forgiving.

Teaching Your Kids God’s Principles

Periodically, aspects of secular culture invade Christianity. It’s well disguised, because it is often promoted by theologians and the ministers who are taught by them. Unfortunately, many of today’s theologians are thinly veiled agnostics or atheists and it impacts how they view scripture.

One of the most common ways of currently undermining scripture is by claiming that much of it wasn’t written to apply to us. The argument is that an Old Testament prophecy only applies to the specific group of people to whom it was given. Or that a New Testament epistle only applies to the original person or church to whom it was written.

On the surface this sounds logical. If the people in Nineveh hadn’t repented when Jonah preached, God would have destroyed them. The specific prophecy wasn’t about the country next door.

Paul’s letters to Timothy, Titus or Philemon did indeed contain specific instructions for those people. If he wanted Barnabas or someone else to do something specific, I’m sure he would have written them, too.

What these types of theological arguments often miss though, is that in addition to specific commands, God has underlying principles. He knew some things stay the same over hundreds or even thousands of years, but other things change. He also may not have cared to list each person who would ever be covered by His blessings or every single possible sinful activity in a category.

When God makes a promise or gives a warning to a specific group of people, there are often underlying principles that apply to all of His people. When God says He loves His people – even in an Old Testament book – I don’t need my name mentioned specifically to know I’m included. When God repeatedly says He detests lies and lying, He doesn’t need to list every possible way a person could lie or obfuscate the truth for the principle to be obvious.

This rejection theology also ignores the fact that almost as quickly as scripture was written down, it was passed among the people to learn what God wanted them to do. They didn’t seem to think most of the books weren’t written specifically to them and therefore didn‘t apply.

We have strong evidence the gospels and epistles were quickly passed from city to city and congregation to congregation and were considered to be inspired by God. There is no evidence they assumed the commands and principles didn’t apply to them, even if they weren’t the original addressee.

Why is this so important to teach your kids? Because ignoring biblical principles is one of the most common ways Christians currently use to excuse their disobedience and their sinful choices. Teens have always had a talent for this. (“God didn’t specifically say it was wrong to get high on cocaine.”)

The ignoring of biblical principles has seeped into the lives of adult Christians now and even into pulpits. Listen carefully for how many times someone teaching, preaching or having a conversation says something like, “I know the Bible says xyz, but…”. The “but” is usually followed by some version of it wasn’t meant for me to obey, because if God had known what I know, He wouldn’t have said that. Or even worse, implying that God did not inspire scripture.

Teach your kids to remember those conversations between Adam, Eve and the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. Remember the argument that seemed to sway Eve? Satan basically claimed, “God only told you not to eat the fruit because…” and of course, “You won’t really die.” He was trying to convince her God’s rules were not meant for her. He wanted her to believe her wants were more informed, more important, than God’s commands and principles.

Satan’s tricks haven’t changed in thousands of years. We just tend to forget what they are and to be watchful for them. Teach your kids to watch for those biblical principles and not to believe the argument that biblical principles no longer matter to God or apply to them.