Our Favorite Way to Memorize Scripture

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9

When Moses said “these words” he was probably referring to the commandments in the previous verses to love the Lord wholeheartedly and to keep his statutes. The first command was for the individual Israelite- “these words shall be on your heart.” This implies that one needed to constantly meditate on these words. Moses goes one step further and tells the Israelites “to diligently teach them to your children.” Not only did they need to have God’s word in their heart, but they are also charged to pass on that knowledge to their descendants. In the same way, we are also called to hide God’s word in our hearts first, and then to teach them to our children.

Moses says “you shall talk of them when you sit in your house…when you walk by the way…when you lie down…and when you rise.” In simple words it means to make scripture the center of our lives. This conveys to us that teaching God’s word to our children is not just a weekly activity. It is not something that is to be outsourced to the Sunday School teacher. It is to become a normal part of our everyday lives. Teaching them Scripture at the breakfast table (when you sit in your house). Talking to them about something we read or the verse we learnt as we visit the grocery store or walk to the park. Or singing worship songs in the car as we drive to school (when you walk by the way). Praying with them at bed time (when you lie down). When they wake up, reading a Bible portion or a Bible story together (when you rise up). There are so many ways we can incorporate talking about God in our daily routine. It doesn’t only have to be a sit-down session, rather it must become integrated into our family culture.

Interestingly, at 36, I can remember all the bible verses I memorized at 6, but find it difficult to recall those that I’ve been attempting to learn in more recent years! In my opinion, the earlier we start the better. Seeing as how toddlers are able to grasp things so quickly, they can definitely memorize short bible verses. We are constantly trying to teach our toddlers the alphabet, numbers, colors, and shapes; and including bible verses would reap numerous benefits. Our two-year old may not understand the complete significance of the verses, but the Word of God is living. It is active and powerful and can work in their hearts even at this young age.

This post today is not about the benefits of scripture memorization, nor does it include the statistics to back it up. I am not writing this post because I’m an expert- I’m really not! I’m only here to share my personal experience. Countless times when I’ve found myself in impossible situations, the Lord has brought to my memory the verses I learnt as a child. And these verses have encouraged me, corrected me, guarded me, and strengthened me in those circumstances. I want the same for my girls. I want them, from a young age to hide God’s word in their hearts and minds, so that it would be “a light unto their path”, it would “impart understanding” to them, and enable them to “not sin against God.” (Psalm 119: 105, 130, 11)

At the outset I want to emphasize that memorizing God’s word won’t save our kids and it’s doesn’t even guarantee that it will transform their lives. But what it will do is help them tuck away these truths in their hearts. When we’re teaching them these verses we’re laying down the foundation for them to develop a love for God’s word. We’re prayerfully teaching them in the hope that as they learn these living words it will ignite a fire for Jesus in their hearts as they grow.

One thing I’ve learnt in my short almost-seven years as a mother is that ‘consistency’ is the key to teaching little children anything. If you’re not consistent you’re confusing them. I’d like to share a few ideas to keep scripture memorization consistent. There are numerous ways to do this. This is just what we do at our house. 🙂

Commit to it as a family                 

The first and foremost point is to commit to scripture memorization as a family. It’s fun for the kids when parents join in too. If you have older kids you can even a include a weekly or monthly goal of the number of verses you want to memorize.

I’ve said before that we can talk about God at any time during the day and we should use every opportunity to do that. However, for learning Bible verses, we’ve found it helpful to set apart a specific time in the day. For us in this season, breakfast time works best so that’s when we do it. Once you’ve decided when you’re going to do it, share it with your kids and commit to it together. I can promise you, even if you forget your kids will remind you!

Keep it Simple

Choose your verses according to the age of your children. If you have very young kids, start with only a small part of a verse. Have them repeat it after you every day. Once they’ve got it, do the same with the next part of the verse. Recite it together every day and soon they will be able to say the whole verse together. (We use a simple method for memorization which I will share at the end along with a free printable!)

Use Music/ Actions

Adding music to any text is an excellent way to memorize it. You can just make up your own tune or sing the verse/psalm to a known tune. You can sing it together in the car, during bath time or any time during the day. You can find a lot of resources online as well. We also find it helps to add hand motions or actions to the words. It keeps the child’s attention and aids in remembering and recollecting.

Keep it in sight

We use scripture memory cards and we keep them on our dining table. It doesn’t take up much space and is right there when we do our memory verses at breakfast time. I’ve realized that if I have to dig out my Bible or rummage in a drawer for my scripture cards every time we want to memorize, we’re less likely to do it. So depending on how you learn at home, keep your aids where you’re most likely to see them each day. Leave no space for excuses!

Connect to Daily Life

I feel it is crucial to help kids connect the scriptures they memorize to daily life situations. Otherwise, it’s going to just be head knowledge and that is not our ultimate goal. For instance, when we went on vacation to the mountains, we talked about a verse we had learnt, Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaim His handiwork.” When the sisters are not in an overly sharing mood, we might remind them that “God loves a cheerful giver” or when one doesn’t want to do her school work, we remind her “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23). I’m not saying we need to beat them over the head with the Bible all the time! I just mean that gently reminding them of these words will make it real and meaningful to them. As a parent you get to gauge the situation and discern what to say in the moment and if you don’t know what to say, just ask God. He always helps!

Repetition is Key

Finally- repeat repeat and repeat!! When you do something over and over it leaves an imprint on your brain. We repeat our verses aloud every day. With older kids you could even get them to write it down a few times. I’m sure you can think of other creative ways to repeat bible verses again and again so that it sinks in permanently.

Often what happens is, once we’ve memorized a verse or a psalm and moved on to other passages, we tend to forget what we’ve learnt previously, unless we revise it regularly. This used to be my biggest challenge with scripture memorization.  Not anymore! A few months ago we started using a new method to memorize scripture which is perfect for revision as well.

Let me tell you all about it!

The Charlotte Mason Method for Scripture Memorization

This method of memorizing scripture is not difficult at all, once you get the hang of it. It is a gentle approach and is not only useful for kids but adults too. The written instructions and the video will help you understand how we do it. All you need is five to ten minutes each day and you and your kids can get into the habit of memorizing scripture daily.

Here’s a video of us using this method in real-time at the breakfast table! It doesn’t always go this smoothly though! 😉

If you think this is something you would like to do, I’ve put together another video with step-by-step instructions to show you how you can set up and use this system. You can also download our free printable set of 40 Scripture Cards.

Untitled design 1
(Print on card stock for best quality)

How-To Video:

Getting Started with the Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System

If you’re a reader, here is a PDF with step-by-step written instructions on how to set up this system.

My girls and I really enjoy this method of learning scripture. It’s easy enough and we remember to do it every day! Another benefit is that this method works for both single verses, as well as whole chapters or psalms. I hope you’ll give it a try for your family; and if you do, don’t forget to let me know in the comments, via messages or on Instagram! Download your verse cards and Index tabs here!

“The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” 1 Peter 1:24-25

boredandbusymama
boredandbusymama
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3 Comments

  1. Great ideas here ( and lovely to see your beautiful family in action!). I am a big fan of Bible art Journaling – it gives you time to dwell on and absorb a scripture, and express it in word and image. And even as an adult, I have learned a many scriptures from Colin Buchanan’s videos and songs. You know someone learned from Colin because they end “we all like sheep have gone astray” with a ” baa baa do baa baa” – great fun and easy to learn!

    • I love Bible art journaling too! We’ve used the Slugs and Bugs and The Rizers for memory verse songs. Never heard of Colin Buchanan…I will look him up for sure! Thanks Lindsey! 🙂

  2. This method appears to be quite helpful & fun, Shiphrah! Love the real time video (M’s actions 🙂 ) & reading the instructional pdf helped. Thanks for taking time to create the resources.

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