4 Tips for Encouraging Children and Adults to Memorize Bible Verses

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by Avery Foley on July 29, 2020

A recent study found that a mere 9% of Americans read their Bibles every day. With so few even reading their Bibles, the number of those memorizing God’s Word is even smaller. But Scripture memory is a vital Christian discipline. It’s through God’s Word that we’re encouraged, convicted, and equipped to share the gospel with others. So how can we encourage those in our Sunday school classes to put in the effort to hide God’s Word in their hearts?

  1. Talk about it. Western culture is not a very oral culture. And with the advent of smart phones we no longer need to commit anything to memory! (How many phone numbers does anyone my age actually know? I can probably count them on one hand!) The idea of memorizing when we can just open our Bible and click on the Bible app may seem unnecessary. But God commands us to memorize his Word because when it’s in our hearts we can recall it right when we need it or the Holy Spirit can bring a verse to mind to encourage us during a trial or convict us of sin. Also, when we know God’s Word, those truths become part of our vernacular, and we are more likely to speak truth to others and spot false teaching when we hear it. So encourage others to memorize God’s Word, giving them they “whys” of why it’s important—don’t just assume they already know!
  2. Use music. For children, music is a natural avenue for Scripture memory. Catchy songs are quickly learned, and you’ll find children will start singing them in the playroom, in the bathtub, and in the car. And don’t think Scripture learned by a young child will just be forgotten. I’m in my mid-20’s and I can still remember the Scripture songs I learned as a very young child. The memorization of those songs has now translated into the memory of those verses (and when I can’t remember the reference, I just hum the song and then I almost instantly recall it!).

    These fun songs help children of all ages store up a treasure of God’s Word in their hearts.

    With ABC, you can enjoy Scripture memory songs in the ESV from Seeds Family Worship and in the KJV (in a traditional style) from Majesty Music. These fun songs help children of all ages store up a treasure of God’s Word in their hearts—and that’s a treasure they’ll be drawing from for the rest of their lives. Use these songs in the classroom and order extra music CDs to send home with children so they can sing along in the car or at home. Find these resources at AnswersBibleCurriculum.com/music.

  3. Use the three pillars. Tom Meyer, the “Bible Memory Man,” has committed over 20 books of the Bible to memory. He offers “three pillars of memorization” that you can share with your older students or adults who want to memorize God’s Word. Those pillars are: hearing, reading, and writing. Meyer says to read the section you want to memorize over and over again out loud. Then listen to it multiple times using an audio Bible (he says a dramatic reading works best). Lastly, write the verse out. Meyer suggests “dividing the verse into several lines with no more than eight words in a line.”

    You can learn more about how to memorize Scripture in this workshop Tom Meyer did at the Creation Museum last summer:

    You can also learn more about memorizing the Bible with Tom Meyer’s The Memorization Study Bible.

  4. Actually do it! We often make Bible memory part of our routine with young children in Sunday school, but that habit is often dropped by the time children are in middle school or high school and we rarely practice Scripture memory with adults. Why? We need to commit Scripture to memory when we’re older too!

    Consider making Scripture memory part of your Sunday school class or Bible study, regardless of age.

    Consider making Scripture memory part of your Sunday school class or Bible study, regardless of age. Use the “three pillars” together and make a goal to memorize one set of verses each month (consider doing an introductory class with the video from Tom Meyer and then implement his methods over the next year as part of your regular class or study). By the end of the year, your group will have hidden twelve sets (or more!) of verses in their hearts. And that’ll reap a lifetime of rewards.

As you consider how to move your class from studying God’s Word (which is a great start!) to memorizing it, reflect on what Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

© 2020 Answers in Genesis