I have vivid memories of my third grade Sunday School class. My teacher was a sweet older woman who took scripture memory work very seriously. She would make us write long passages like John 1:1-14 in a special notebook and then take it home and memorize it. Did I mention it was in King James English? (I think I had to walk five miles in the snow to do it!)
I have to admit I probably memorized more long passages of scripture in those few months than I have at any other point in my life. However, I still feel a slight chill when someone says to turn in your Bible to John 1:1-14 or any of the other passages we had to learn.
When my daughter was old enough to start memorizing scriptures, I realized it isn’t really something taught in Bible classes very often these days. I wanted her to have verses written on her heart. It has been so helpful numerous times in my life to have a scripture come to mind when something is happening. I wanted her to have that same gift.
Of course the teacher in me wanted to try and find a way to make it more enjoyable for her. The easiest way for a young child to learn almost anything is through song. Christian books stores have a number of great CD’s in the children’s section. Many of these are scriptures set to music. We would play them in the car as we drove around town. Take advantage of the new technology that allows you to listen to music before buying it. Let your child listen and choose the cd he likes the best. I found my daughter learned the songs much faster if she liked the music.
As she grew older, we stumbled into an effective way to teach new verses that weren’t songs. My daughter was going through something at school (Time really does make you forget a lot of the negative stuff that happens!) and was anxious. I went through the Bible and picked out a half dozen scriptures that were God’s promises that applied to her situation. I took blank index cards and printed the verses on them. The cards were then taped to the bathroom mirror right in front of the area where she stands to brush her teeth.
I didn’t really say much about it, but left the cards on the mirror for several weeks. About that time we started remodeling the bathroom. I took the cards down, put them on a table and forgot about them during all of the chaos.
Several months later, my daughter and I were talking about something and she mentioned the cards. I told her I had misplaced them during the renovations. She told me that actually she had put them in her Bible. She said she would often pull them out and read over them. Now she could remember them when she was nervous.
The lesson I think I learned from this experience is to surround your child with scripture. The key though is to surround him with scriptures that are meaningful to him. They may be scriptures regarding a current struggle or something that is important to her. One of my favorite scriptures is a verse that one of my high school Bible teachers used for a theme in our class. It made such an impression, that I have loved that scripture to this day.
Don’t be concerned if your child can quote a scripture exactly word for word. Anyone in my generation can tell you we totally slaughter scriptures now because we quote them in half King James and half NIV. The important thing is that your child understands the concept of the scripture accurately and can quote enough of the verse correctly to be able to locate it in a concordance.
I encourage you to try those CD’s and tape those scriptures to the mirror. You will never regret taking the time to help write God’s words on your child’s heart.