Back to Basics: Scripture Memory 2

“Mary had a little lamb… ”

“Thirty days hath September… ”

“O beautiful for spacious skies…”

I bet you could quote the rest of each of those! You probably learned them by first or second grade, but you’ll never forget them. I imagine that those, along with “Jesus Loves Me” and John 3:16, will be some of the things I will still be able to recall even if I live to be a hundred and have failing memory.

God created us with this amazing brain that has a huge memory. It still baffles scientists, and no computer created by man has been able to come close to doing all our brain does. Yet we tend to shortchange and doubt the capability of our brain’s memory. Especially when it comes to scripture memory.

We remember all the lyrics to songs on the radio. We can quote scenes from movies with our friends. We remember word for word the argument we had with our husband. (Yikes! Am I hitting too close to home?) But we cast off this great potential we possess when it comes to memorizing scripture with statements like, “I’m not good at memorizing things,” “I’ve tried. I never can remember scriptures,” or “I guess I’m getting too old to memorize scripture.”

Allow me to point out that the emperor has no clothes.

Those are just excuses! Granted some people seem to have a greater capacity for recall, and yes, remembering things does become more challenging as we age. But it’s not impossible. What we’re saying with our excuses is “It’s not a priority for me,” “I have other things I’d rather invest my time in,” or “I’m too spiritually lazy to try.”

Paul tells us that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16) If we truly believe this, it should drive us to fill our minds with God’s Word. We need teaching and training. And though we don’t like it, we also need rebuking and correcting. And I believe each of you would say you want to be thoroughly equipped for everything God has for you to do.

So let’s get serious. Are you willing to put the time in to make a change? Are you ready to take on the challenge of hiding God’s word in your heart?

If you haven’t already read it, go back and check out Joy’s article on scripture memory first. Then come back here and check out these tips that will help as you get into high gear memorizing scripture. I’ve used all of these myself, so I know they work. 2017-04-19 08.28.39

    1. Write your verse out by hand. (The more senses we include in memorizing the better it will stick. This also applies to #2 and #3.)
    2. Read the verse several times a day. Reading it out loud is even better! You’re tripling the reinforcement by letting your brain see, speak, and hear it at the same time.
    3. Listen to the verse repeated over and over. Simply record it on an app and let it play over and over as you’re working out, cleaning house, driving to work, whatever!
    4. Keep the verse in front of you in any way possible:
      • Write it on your calendar.
      • Use Post-it notes and put it in places you look frequently (computer screen, kitchen cabinet, dash of your car, etc.).
      • Use a spiral or ring index card holder to keep in your purse for review in any spare time. Put one verse per card. This way you can easily review old ones.
      • 2017-04-19 08.35.06Set it as your screen saver or lock screen on your computer or phone.
      • Write it on you bathroom mirror with permanent marker. You’ll see it and can work on it as you get ready and brush your teeth every day. (Don’t worry, it comes off easily with fingernail polish remover and a cotton ball.)
    5. Sing the verse. Just to reinforce what Joy already suggested… Set your verse to a tune you already know, or google scripture memory songs and find a composition that works for you.
    6. Make a game of it. (See examples below.)
      • Make a chart with the verse repeated over and over several times. In each repetition underline the next key word or phrase. Read each repetition aloud emphasizing the underlined word. This helps you see the deeper meaning in what you’re memorizing.
      • Type the same verse out several times on one page. Randomly leave out 3-5 words on each subsequent repetition. Print this out and keep it in a handy place. Work on reading the verse in its entirety first. After a couple of days, fold the lines of the entire verse over and try to say the verse while looking at the next entry with a few words missing. Can you recall the words? After a couple of days more, fold that over and go to the next repetition that has 6-10 words missing. Try saying the verse looking at this. Are you recalling everything? Keep doing this process until you reach the bottom of the page and do not need to look at it at all to recite the verse.
      • Print out a chapter of the Bible one verse at a time, leaving space beside it and draw pictures depicting each verse. (This is similar to the idea of a doodling or journaling Bible. The difference is the purpose; you draw pictures verse by verse to help you with recall, not for the artistic value.)
      • Check out these Word document samples: Scripture Memory helps

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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.

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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.

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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.