I have fond memories of memorizing Scripture as a child. I don’t remember how old I was (maybe 6?) when my mom purchased a set of cards that had a Bible verse for every letter of the alphabet. I thought it was the coolest thing ever! I can still quote most of those verses to this day.
Now that I’m a parent, I have the rewarding task of helping my own children hide nuggets of Truth in her little heart. I strongly believe that it is important to teach children how to pray and memorize Scripture as soon as they can talk well enough to do so. Young children have minds that are like sponges, so it is important to start early when training them to think Biblically.
While most of us know the importance of assisting our children in memorizing Bible verses, knowing where to start can be another matter. Today I am sharing some of the strategies that I use with my almost-two-year-old daughter . While this post is geared toward teaching toddlers and preschoolers, many of these tips can be applied to older children and even adults.
How to Help Young Children Memorize Scripture
- Choose Simple Bible Verses. A short verse, or even part of a verse, is the best way to introduce the idea of Scripture memory to little ones. For example, I started my daughter off with “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) as her first memory verse. When choosing verses I think it is also helpful to find ones that will be applicable to the child’s character development. After memorizing a verse about God’s love, I then had my daughter work on Ephesians 6:1 to help her begin to understand that she must obey her parents because God Words says to do so.
- Define Difficult Words. It is much easier for people of all ages to memorize something that they have a clear understanding of. Depending on your child’s age, you can ask them if they comprehend what all the words in the verse mean and how the verse applies to their lives. My daughter isn’t quite old enough for that yet, so I use my own judgement to determine how much she understands. When we were working on Ephesians 6:1, I explained that “parents” was another way to say “Mommy and Daddy” because I knew that would make more sense to her. When she quotes the verse, she often says “Mommy and Daddy” instead of “parents”, but I’m okay with that because she gets the concept of the verse and is able to apply it to her life.
- Sing the Scripture. Catchy tunes are a great way to make Scripture memory easier. You can sing the verse to a made up tune or use a well-known melody like “Mary Have a Little Lamb” or something. There are also several wonderful Scripture music CDs that you can purchase to use as well. These are nice because the music artists to all the work for you, but the drawback is you must memorize the verse in whatever version of the Bible the musician uses. Some of my favorites are Hide ‘Em in Your Heart and Songs for Saplings.
- Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Practice often! The only way to memorize anything is through repetition You can use specific times of the day (like mealtimes and bedtime) to practice. One way is to randomly ask your child to recite when they are doing something else. This is especially useful when working with spirited children that need to move around a lot. My almost 2-year-old is on a kick where she likes to run aound in circles. So, some days you can find us running around the coffee table quoting (or singing) Bible verses. I’m sure it looks and sounds crazy, but it works for us! Also, I suggest saying the “address” of the verse at the beginning and the end of each recitation as it is the most difficult part of the passage to remember.
- Use Hand Motions. Giving young children something to do with their hands that will help trigger their memory is very helpful. You can make up your own signals or use basic Sign Language for the key words of the verse. You can see an example of this in the video of my daughter reciting Joshua 1:9.
Can’t see the video? View it on YouTube here: Toddler Reciting Joshua 1:9
I hope you find these tips to be helpful and would love to read some of your own ideas in a comment below!
What strategies do you use to help your children memorize Scripture?
Need help choosing Bible verses for your child to memorize?
Read my follow up post here: How to Choose Bible Verses for Young Children to Memorize
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