I recently posted about making treasure boxes with the boys as a tangible way for them to think of God’s Word as a treasure. We are currently memorizing Proverbs 2:1-11 together, and before that, we memorized all of Psalm 19 (14 verses). If you have never memorized a larger chunk of scripture with your children, you really should try it! And don’t wait until they’re big – I started Psalm 19 with the boys mainly for Aidan and Gresham’s benefit (ages 9 and 6), but Owen amazed all of us! He’s three, turning four next month. He didn’t finish the psalm, but he memorized the first 10 verses and can do the rest with help. We work on our memorizing together for about 10 minutes each morning, for as many days as it takes to finish the section we are doing.
While I was writing the treasure box post, I began thinking of all the ways that I have been blessed by spending time in God’s Word. Scripture truly is a treasure… when I make the time for it to be a priority! I want to share these thoughts with you, and I hope that you will be encouraged to fill your heart and the hearts of your children with the Bible. I will also be coming back to this post myself as a reminder. It’s SO easy to let other things fill my mind and my time, but what a waste it is when I neglect God’s Word!
Five benefits of memorizing the Bible with your children:
God’s Word has the power to change us and our children.
The Bible is living and active (Heb. 4:12). God uses His word to teach us about Him, to convict us of sin, to encourage us with His faithfulness, and to show us how to live. We don’t experience victory over sin through our own power. His word has power!
Memorizing the Bible together leads to good questions from our kids.
When a child memorizes the Bible, they are not going to understand every word. In fact, I don’t understand every word of scripture! When we memorize together, it gives us a chance to really think about the words, and this has led to some really good discussions in our home. Aidan asked me one day, “Mom, what does it mean exactly to store up treasure in heaven?” A few hours earlier, he had gotten into an argument with a neighbor boy about some possessions of his that he was afraid would be damaged. I told him that storing up treasure in heaven means that we value things that will last through eternity more than we value temporal things. Eternal things would include people and God’s word, and that’s just about it! I told Aidan, “Storing up treasure in heaven means being more concerned about whether the neighbor boy knows Jesus than about whether or not your stuff gets damaged.” I could see a light bulb turning on in Aidan’s mind as he contemplated that thought. These are the conversations that we long to have as parents, and they don’t happen unless we have God’s word in our minds to think about!
Memorizing the Bible gives kids “footholds” to hang onto during the adult service at church.
Our three older boys sit in the service with us on Sundays and also attend Sunday School with kids their ages. When they’re in the service, I can see their eyes light up when they hear the pastor refer to a verse that we have memorized. It makes the sermon more real to them because while they may not understand much of it, they heard some words that were familiar!
When we see God work in our kids through His word, it’s easier to stop taking credit both for their progress and for their sin.
It’s easy to get off-balance on both sides of this. I often become frustrated with the boys’ poor behavior, forgetting that my job is not to convict them of sin! That is the work of the Holy Spirit. My responsibility is to teach them God’s word and to provide discipline where needed, and then to trust God with the results. When I’m too focused on producing the results myself, I turn to nagging, lecturing, and frustration rather than what is needed, which is a patient trust in the Lord while I diligently instructing them in God’s ways. But then when I see something good in my children, I need to keep in mind that this is also the result of God’s grace in their hearts and not the result of my good parenting methods.
Memorizing large sections of the Bible together makes it easier to present God’s word as water for their souls, and not just as a correction.
If we’re not careful, we can use Scripture only to show our kids where they are wrong. It is good to take our children to the Bible when they have done something wrong. They need to see that it is God who says that what they are doing is wrong, and that it’s not just our “rule.” But they also need verses like these:
“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.”
“The law of the LORD is perfect,
restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes.”
Psalm 19: 7-8
Passages of Scripture that are good for memory work:
- Psalm 19
- Proverbs 2:1-11
- Ephesians 6:10-17 – the Armor of God. This is SO fun to memorize, especially with boys! Lots of fun things that you can do with this passage! We started a “Christian Soldiers Club” and made a life-size paper soldier
- Psalm 1
- Philippians 2:1-11