Back to Basics: Scripture Memory

Teaching Children (Or Yourself!) to Memorize Scripture

by Joy Hutzler

Does the thought of memorizing scripture intimidate you, or worse, bore you? The Bible tells us over and over to memorize its words because they are living, powerful and necessary to effectively live out our faith.  If it’s so important to know God’s words and have them written on our hearts, why do we so often struggle to commit them to memory?  If I’m speaking personally, scripture memory is another discipline that I struggle with because it takes effort, time, and intentionality that I often just neglect.

red-bear-child-childhoodBut I’m a mom. And I have four children that I’ve been entrusted by God to raise up as arrows to send out to the battlefield.  I’d be a deadbeat in spiritual training if I didn’t equip them with the weapons they will need to be effective warriors for God’s kingdom. If they’re to fight off the kingdom of darkness and walk in the light, they will need the weapons of their warfare, which is the word of God.  So, since I can’t neglect teaching them the stories from the Bible or how to use and study the Bible, I also must train them to memorize it, so that the Spirit will be able to use it when they need it.

I have found that it’s actually not that difficult to memorize scripture. My children start learning to quote scripture once they start talking. It’s really not that hard…and I’m going to show you how to do it.  Afterward, I’m going to link to a few videos of some of the verses that my children have memorized.


First, you need to decide what verses you’re going to memorize. A quick search on Pinterest for scripture memory for children will produce a number of links to sites that will give you lists and often printables that you can use to guide you in this process. One of my favorite lists is this ABC set. My 2 and 5-year-old learned all of these over about a 8-9 month period by just practicing one verse at a time several mornings a week at breakfast, and reviewing the old ones once or twice a week.  Mostly now that they are a little bit older, we just memorize whatever is part of their Bible curriculum (we homeschool.) But you can use verses from Sunday School or Awana programs or look on Pinterest and find a list. My youngest two (2 and 1) listen in and participate when I’m teaching new verses, and I have been amazed to see how much they pick up just by being in the room!

b2bbf98979e4eb9a5283366f44737314Second, you need to make time to practice the verse and review old ones. This could be at mealtime, in the car, or at bedtime.  Choose a time when it will be easy to remember to practice, and when you can get your hands on the printed verse (with your Bible, or a printable, or even pulled up on your phone). After you introduce a verse, practice it a few times. On the next day, practice your new verse a couple of times and pick an old verse or two or three and review them.  Literally, all of this will take 3-5 minutes at most.  You’d be surprised, though, what kind of conversations learning new scripture will start! Be alert to opportunities to teach spiritual truths and willing to take an extra couple of minutes to do so. This is the whole reason we are memorizing the Word!

Last, you’re going to need a catchy way to remember the verse. This might not come easy for everyone, so I will link below to some CD’s that are full of scripture already put to music and that might be a big help.  When I introduce a new verse, I simply look over the verse a couple of times on my own and notice when reading it if I can put it to a rhythm that will make it easy to remember. Sometimes I make up a little tune. Sometimes I have them say the verse in a silly voice or emphasize one part of the verse over another. Doing something out of the ordinary, rather than simply reading/quoting the verse, helps it stick to the brain more easily.


So, there you have it! All you need is to figure out what verses you are going to memorize, find a time to practice, and put it to a catchy rhythm or tune. You’ll be so thrilled to see your children memorizing God’s Word, and the added bonus is that those words are settling into your heart and mind as well as theirs! It’s a win-win!

Here’s a link to my youtube channel, where I have a few videos posted of some verses we have learned. These may give you an idea of how I come up with a tune or rhythm to teach the verses.

Check out Seeds Family Worship, which is word for word scripture put to modern music.

BONUS: Scripture Lullabies are beautiful songs written from scripture, though they may not be word for word.  They are still great to have to listen to or playing in the background of your home or nursery. AND one out of ten of their CD’s is donated to a crisis pregnancy center to bless a new mom in a crisis pregnancy situation.

And finally, here is my 2 year old quoting Romans 8:28 last week.


Lego Lesson

As a young mom, clutter was always a battle. The Second Law of Thermodynamics – that all closed systems tend to drift toward a state of disorder – played out daily in my home! (I’m married to an engineer, can you tell?) I cleaned up the house and my four little ones and their mass of toys would bring disorder sweeping in right behind me.

One of the biggest culprits of this toy mess, and my biggest love-hate relationship was with Legos! I loved the creativity they generated in my kids, but hated the chaos on the floor of their room, particularly when I had to walk through there. Barefoot. In the dark! Ouch!

lego-tannerEach morning the Lego bin was dumped. In every spare moment – before school, after school, all day on holidays and weekends – cities and machines, craft and people of all sorts were meticulously assembled by my little horde of creators. Over the course of the day there were frequent requests of “Mom, come look at this one!” After supper was prime Lego play time, no school and often Dad would join in the fun. There were pirates and natives of tropical islands, British soldiers and space explorers and of course every conceivable building, device, or mode of transportation these Lego people might need. As you might imagine, when bath and bedtime approached it was war. “No! Don’t make me put them up!” “Whyyyy? I just got finished building it!” Sound familiar?

After too many bedtime showdowns, I realized something had to change. I’d been going to bed every night wound up from dealing with the kids. As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” so I came up with a solution.

Now, I’m not a “perfect house” kind of gal; I want our family to be able to actually live in, play in, and enjoy our home. My goal for picking up the toys was a safety issue. If the kids got sick in the middle of the night, or if there was a fire or other emergency, the children needed to be able to safely walk out of the room and their dad and I be able to safely walk in without crippling ourselves or falling over toys. It dawned on me that all we needed was a safe path through our personal Legoland.

The next night I introduced new procedures to the kids. They could henceforth leave the creations they had built spread out all over their room as long as there was a cleared path between their bed and the door. They readily agreed. That first night I helped clean up in order to show them what I considered a decent “clear path.” After that it was smooth sailing. Each night 10 minutes before bath time “Clear a path to your bed!” would ring out from Mom or Dad, baths would proceed without frustrated gripes (at least the gripes about having to pick up toys), and bedtime became peaceful.

So what does all this have to do with anything spiritual? I think it gives us a glimpse of the love of the Father.

As I saw my children, made in the image of Creator God, creating their Lego landscape, I saw sheer joy and love. Joy in creating them. Uniquely. Joy in talking with them. Joy in planning the whole script of their Lego lives and moving them from here to there. Joy in giving them new homes and cars and hats. Joy in being with them first thing the next morning and spending the day with them. Joy in protecting them from the crawling baby brother. Joy in preserving them from mom who would require destroying (putting up) things each night. They loved the creative process, loved what they made, loved interacting with it, and loved showing it off to others.

earth-blue-planet-globe-planet-41953Just think about the loving care that went in to creating everything we know. Creator God spent thought and energy and love and passion preparing this world we take for granted. What must have gone into his ideas for making the earth a ball and dangling it in space with beautiful heavenly bodies and spinning it and making it of dirt and rocks and water and air? What creative joy did He get out of making volcanos, clouds, hurricanes, and caves? Did He do all canyon-gorge-antelope-canyon-tourist-attraction-87419those majestic things just because one day He would delight in our joy and awe of seeing and experiencing these amazing sights? What about the variety of plants? Couldn’t he just as easily have made one kind of plant to cover the whole earth that fed us all, created all the oxygen, and did everything else He wanted plants to do? And the animals? Again, huge variety. Did He make slugs sticky so little kids would say “Ew!”? Did he make rugged elephants to reveal His strength, downy chicks to show His gentleness, peacocks to reveal His beauty, slug-nature-snail-mollusc-158158marsupials to remind us He takes care of us when we’re helpless? And did He make giraffes just so one day in 2017 He could watch us with joy all come together online to wait on the birth of a giraffe for weeks? On and on I could go. But the question is still Why?

pexels-photo-341971Ladies, just as we get joy from the creative process and the things we make, Father God gets great joy through us, His created masterpiece. What creative joy there must have been when He dreamed up just who we would be and gave us our particularly unique physical appearance, personality and abilities. He enjoys talking with us and being with us. He receives joy each day as He sees us live out the script, the plan, He has set in place for our lives. He rejoices every time He gets to give us something He knows we desire. He loves seeing each of us first thing every morning and spending His day with us. He enjoys protecting and preserving us from the things that might hurt or destroy us. He loves the whole process, from bringing us into being to relating with us to showing us off. He just simply loves us.

We were created for God’s good pleasure and to bring glory to Him. I encourage you today to bask in His love. Then live out your day in His love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19) When we know we are truly and deeply loved by our Creator, we will operate differently in this ole world.

For this is what the Lord says—he who created the heavens, he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it;
he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited—
he says: “I am the Lordand there is no other.
I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’
I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.

“Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations.
Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save.
Declare what is to be, present it—let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the LordAnd there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.
They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’”
All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame.
But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the Lord
and will make their boast in him.

Isaiah 45:18-25

Bible Resources for Children in Your Home (Back to Basics)

In our series on developing spiritual disciplines, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite children’s Bibles and teaching resources.

I am a sucker for children’s Bibles. However, not all are created equal. I’m no expert on all children’s biblical materials, but as a teacher and mother, I have some criteria for choosing quality resources for my children. I’m usually looking for resources from authors and sources whose views on theology I trust. I like children’s materials that are not dumbed-down, even though their audience is children. I like biblically accurate stories in a children’s Bible, not stories that have been overly shortened leaving out important theology. Beautiful illustrations are important to me, too. I have 4 children ages 8 and under, and we have a number of materials that we use or have used to teach the Bible and biblical doctrines. I am hoping that if you don’t already have some good books to teach the Bible to your children, maybe these ideas will be of help. Of course there is no substitute for the actual word of God. These are just additional resources for you.  And if you have some really good resources you’d like to share, please do so in the comments!


The Jesus Storybook Bible

The Jesus Storybook Bible is my favorite children’s Bible.  Every story shows how God is always pointing us to Jesus. It’s wonderfully illustrated, with sound theology and engaging retellings of the stories throughout the Bible. In fact, I’ve been known to read selections from this Bible in some of my adult classes, because it’s such a well-written book.


The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden

Affectionately called “The Snake Crusher,” this book uses brightly colored, geometric graphics as it takes the reader through ten chapters chronicling the highlights of the Bible. It ends with the Snake Crusher returning to wipe away the bad and restore the good. Isn’t that the wonderful truth of God’s word?!



The Garden the Curtain and the Cross

This is a short book with bright, lively illustrations explaining why Jesus died and came back to life. Using the phrase “Keep Out!” to describe man’s separation from God due to sin, the author beautifully explains the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection so that man can be restored to God.


Leading Little Ones to God

This book is an “oldie” but a goody.  Using short readings, it teaches children basic biblical doctrines like the trinity, the omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence of God, angels, sin, the Law, forgiveness of sin through Jesus, etc.  We homeschool and used this as a Bible curriculum last year, but it would be perfect for family devotionals or for dinnertime readings where parents want to disciple their children. I used it with a 4 and 7-year-old, but it could be used for children much older, as well.


The Ology- Ancient Truths Ever New

The Ology Music CD

This one I haven’t actually used yet, but have read through and find it looks to be a wonderful resource to teach Bible doctrines and basic catechism.  It has short readings, and lots of scripture paired with beautiful illustrations. This, too, would be a great book to use for parents seeking to disciple children with short lessons at meal-times or bed time. It has a partner CD you can order with children’s songs that correspond to the book to help expand understanding and remember the material.

And finally, check out Egermeier’s Bible Story Book.  I haven’t personally read this one, but a friend suggested it when she found out I was writing this post. I trust her judgment and she’s raised some amazing children, so I will definitely be checking into this one as well!

Do you have favorite Children’s Bible resources that you’ve used? Leave a comment for the rest of us! And stay tuned for a coming post about memorizing scripture with children!


But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16