5 Easy Strategies for Memorizing the Bible

Memorize Bible verses

Bible Memory is Critical If You Want Your Child to Grow

Commit to daily Bible study, memory, and recitation in your classical homeschool if you want to see inward and outward transformation in your child.  Start each morning together around the breakfast table with community recitation of this week’s Scripture passage.  Recite the entire passage in unison, or work your way around the table by letting each family member speak a verse until you’ve said the whole excerpt.

Don’t let the urgent homeschool academics replace this crucial investment in critical thinking about God and man.  Think about the long-term payoff…if you make this a daily family ritual, you’re forming identity bonds (“as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”) as well as investing future spiritual capital for the days ahead when your adult child needs to draw on the interior Word for consolation in times of trouble, challenges, or even doubt.

1 – Choose Whole Passages of Scripture to Memorize

Decide what Scripture passage you want them to memorize.  There are lots of ways to think strategically, plan ahead, and fill the “Bible Memory Queue.”  You could dedicate the Fall semester to Old Testament passages…say the Pentateuch (especially Genesis, Exodus, and Deuteronomy), the Histories (Samuel and the Kings) or the Wisdom Literature (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes).  Do the New Testament in the Spring and Summer:  the Gospels (Jesus’ parables, themes like the Kingdom or Jubilee), History (Luke and Acts), and the Church Letters (Pauline).

Assign whole chunks of the Bible for them to work on. For instance, an entire Psalm (one that will permeate their mind and heart with good promises like Psalm 1) or a few chapters from a New Testament book like John (Jesus’ “high priestly” prayer for the disciples in chapters 15-17 is fabulous) or Hebrews 11 (great cloud of witnesses) are good places to start. There are so many wonderful narratives in the Old Testament, too, like Isaiah 6 (his vision of the Lord of Hosts), or Moses’ call at the burning bush (Exodus 3) which might be easier to tackle if your tween likes stories.

You can choose passages based on their particular needs; for instance, maybe you want to use Bible memory as instruction in doctrine like the Trinity, salvation, or sanctification.  If so, pick verses that teach these points.  Maybe your kids need topical encouragement like how not to be afraid when your enemy threatens; pick passages like Moses parting the Red Sea, David and Goliath, or Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

You are welcome to craft the Bible memory for your own children in whatever way meets their spiritual needs (and add some Church History studies for contextual meaning, if you like).

2 – Prepare the Bible Memory Script

I would have the entire family work on the same passage so that you can help each other when reciting. Type it out for them verse by verse, and put the script in a plastic page protector, or laminate it with contact paper since it will get a lot of use over the next few weeks. Memorizing a Bible passage backwards worked well for us (start with the last verse then work your way up to the first verse), but starting at the beginning of the passage works equally well.

3 – Take a Broad Look at the Whole Bible Passage

My basic teaching strategy for memorizing Bible verses follows this order:  (1) read, (2) write, (3) say. First read the entire passage silently. Next, have them copy the verses from your typewritten script which provides a tactile learning experience and enhances memory. Finally, read the Bible verses out loud with feeling; hearing is as important to memory as seeing the written word. Follow these steps for the entire passage for at least a week before you start tackling the individual verses.

Before you move on, talk about what the passage means, so they have an idea of the purpose of the Scripture. Ask questions like who, what, when, where, why, and how to help them get their minds around the content using their critical thinking skills.  What is the passage trying to say?

4 – Take a Close Look at the Detailed Bible Verses

Now that they have familiarized themselves with the whole text, it’s time to memorize the detail. Each day, follow the same teaching strategy: (1) read, (2), write, (3) say. Next step away from the written word, and try to recite the Bible verse from memory. Don’t just use your voice to bring the passage alive…use the mirror for facial expression (like acting), too. Have them repeat the verse out loud until they have it down cold, then keep adding verses every day until they can recite the entire passage.

5 – Perform the Memorized Passage for Friends

Schedule a casual performance for the grandparents, neighbors, or other classical homeschooling families over Sunday dinner, and let the kids demonstrate their memory accomplishments. Memorizing Bible verses can be fun, and the investment of time in these teaching strategies will reap huge rewards when the kids are adults and need to draw from the well of Scriptural truths.

With much love,

Diane

P.S. What teaching strategies have you found helpful in memorizing Scripture?  How often do you memorize Bible verses in your classical homeschool?  Share your secrets in the comment section below.

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4 Comments

  1. Wendy on June 17, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Thank you for these tips, Diane. We have been reading through the bible daily focussing on the eras – creation, patriarch, judges, kingdom, etc. with the intention to give our boys an overview/big picture of the bible. We also memorize prayers and some scripture but recently I’ve felt I need to focus our biblical knowledge goals for our children (what truths do we want to cement in their minds/hearts before they leave home?). These tips will be helpful for just that.

    Thank you as always for all you do to help families in their home/heart-education quest.

  2. Beth on June 13, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Amen! Proverbs 9:10 too often ignored in pursuit of “education.”

    • Diane Lockman on June 18, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      Yes, Beth! What good is any education if our kids don’t know the Lord?! When they know Him, all knowledge is filtered through His truth.

      For those who don’t know, Proverbs 9:10 is…

      “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
      and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

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