Help Children Memorize God’s Word
By N. A. Woychuk (1915 – 2009)
Bible memorizing is a vital subject. I am hopeful that pastors and other Christian leaders in key positions in the churches, in the Christian schools and in other institutions will study this subject carefully so that they might be able to lead their people into memorization and make a big thing of it among their children, young people and adults.
As we read and memorize the Scripture, it makes quite a difference when we remember that it “proceedeth from the mouth God” (Deut. 8:3), and as the Apostle Paul said, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).
“Concerning Thy testimonies,” the psalmist said, “I have known of old that Thou hast founded them for ever” (Psa. 119:152). Error and falsehoods pass away, and the gems of man’s wisdom soon fade and disappear, “but the Word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isa. 40:8). It abides because residing in it are some of the same qualities that characterize God Himself. It is incorruptible (1 Pet. 1:23); it is living, powerful, and discerning (Heb. 4:12).
Satan and the whole world system is set against the Word of God and we see it manifested aggressively in the world’s educational program, its entertainment, its philosophies and all its standards. Satan has vigorously battled the Word of God in every generation, including our own, when possibly more has been done to undermine the infallibility, the inerrancy and the verbal plenary inspiration of the Scriptures than in any other age. But in every generation there are the earnest-hearted believers who recognize that the Bible comes from God and that it speaks for God; it is this keen realization that makes them concerned with desire not only to assimilate the Word of God themselves but to see it implanted in the hearts of their children and all those for whom they feel responsible. In speaking about the “more sure word of prophecy” the Apostle Peter said, “I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance…moreover, I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance” (2 Pet. 1:13-19).
“Therefore, think not of it as a good book, or even as a better book, but lift it in heart, and mind and faith and love far, far above all, and ever regard it, not as the word of man, but as it is in truth, the Word of God; nay, more, as the living Word of the living God; supernatural in origin; eternal in duration; inexpressible in value; infinite in scope; divine in authorship; human in penmanship; regenerative in power; infallible in authority; universal in interest; personal in application and, as Paul declares, inspired in totality” (Canon Hague).
In teaching the verses to children, parents, teachers and Christian workers utilize various ideas which seem to work best for them. Pre-school children particularly require adult help. Some suggestions which have come to our attention are included here:
1) Read the verses aloud, and do so with expression and enthusiasm. Explain the meaning of the verses in simple terms. Go over the verses with the child while eating, before bed, while working, while walking together and while riding in the car (Deut. 6:7). Most parents memorize the verses along with the child.
2) Do not insist that the child repeat the verse or verses each time.
3) Put the verses to simple tunes which you sing with the child over and over again. (Be sure that the exact words of Scripture are used.) In this way the child learns faster and remembers longer.
4) Read the child’s verses to him each morning while he is eating breakfast. Read them again at family devotions in the morning or in the evening.
5) Discuss the meaning of the verses in the home circle. This will help the child to relate the verses to his activities and needs. He will be very pleased when he begins to contribute something from his own store of verses.
6) Acting out verses which lend themselves for such a purpose aids the learning process. For example in Psalm 1, you can “walk,” “stand” and “sit.”
7) Filling in the missing words can be a delightful way of learning for children.
8) Turning off the TV, etc. and scheduling a set time for learning Bible verses will prove helpful.
9) Communicate your approval of the child’s work. Words of praise are always a strong motivating force.
10) When an older child lacks the initiative to learn his verse himself, you will want to work with him and encourage him. Suggest that he read the verses out loud to you 6 or 7 times. He may be surprised that by then he can recite them.
11) Always strive to make each Scripture reveal something about the Lord Jesus Christ and the child’s relation to Him. Many children are saved even as they memorize the Word in their early years. Then there is the life-long process of growing for them and for us. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2).
It is good to think of memorization of Scripture as an investment in the life of the young child. The benefits are as infinite as the Word of God itself.
– Taken from Keep In Memory by N. A. Woychuk. Used by permission of Scripture Memory Fellowship. Visit scripturememory.com for more resources and information regarding Scripture memorization.