Teaching Scripture Memory

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In our fam we’re currently memorizing an entire chapter of Ephesians.  Chapter 4, if you’re one who likes specifics.

Why?  I hear you ask, as I might have at one point in my life, complete with a look of bewilderment and nose all scrunchled up.  I have two reasons.

The first one is that scripture is important.  Not only is it important for us to read it but also to have it tucked away in our hearts and minds.  To have it sealed in our brains.  To be able to call on it at any time that we may need it for encouragement or rebuke.  To speak it to our children when they may be in situations that are hard or scary.  To tell a friend what we’ve learned.  To remind yourself of promises and truths.  The reasons we need it are endless.

I’ll be honest, I get frustrated at myself when I use words like, “It says in the bible…”  and then I give a sort of summary of what I sort of remember it saying.  I know that speaking this way lacks power and depth.  I want to be able to use words like, “It says in Ephesians 4….” and be able to recite, from memory, the words that I know to be true even when I may not have a bible right next to me.  Not so I can look super awesome and smart, it’s not that at all, it’s for reason number one.  (Refresher?  Scripture is important.)

Secondly, we’re memorizing a whole chapter because we can.  We are able.  Capable.  We been given minds that can grasp and retain and not using that just seems like a waste.  Besides that, my kids (from a super young age) could recite entire story books that we would read to them, from memory.  Now they know every League of Legend character by name and description of abilities.  At one point it was Pokemon characters.  At another all the words to Dynamite.  Or Canucks stats.  Or any number of useless things.  We decided early on, as parents, that if they could learn stuff, they may as well learn the good stuff!

The norm in our house is to memorize a verse a week.  Sometimes every two weeks if its longer.  But with the boys not being in school just now and nothing but time on our hands I decided that we’d aim for a chapter of Ephesians because it’s the book we’re reading and studying together just now.  We’ve done this before.  The boys have memorized  1 Corinthians 13 (otherwise known as the famous passage on love) and they’ve memorized “The Christmas Story” from Luke 2 (up to verse 21).  One day we’re going to go for the entire book of James!

photo 2 copyPardon the dirty mirror.  All I can say is, 3 boys!!

I’ve been asked a few times how we do it.  Truth is, we don’t just have one method but I will tell you the various things we do!

First of all, we read the entire chapter (in our current case all of Ephesians 4) at least twice a day.  Just by sheer repetition we learn the order of the words and commit the verses to memory.  As I’m reading it over each day I’ll start to drop words and the boys easily fill them in, simply because they’ve heard it.  It’s sort of like learning the words to a song by listening to it on repeat all day.

The other thing  we do is start at verse one and just read it independently until we know it, can cover it up and say it.  Then we go on.  This time around we’ve been adding a verse a day to learn, skipping weekends of course!  When we move on to the next verse we don’t just focus on the one but we repeat all we’ve learned and add the new one in.  So today we all recited up to verse 4 to each other and then moved on to memorize verse 5 reading from one to 5 over and over individually until we could all say all of it!  Then, when we read the whole chapter again before bed, we can all say the first 5 verses together and I’ll carry on reading to the end of the chapter.

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Lastly, we have it everywhere!  It doesn’t matter what room you are in there will be words to the scripture around you.  Brushing your teeth?  There’s a chalkboard with verses 1 and 2 on it in there.  Sitting by the fire?  I’ve taped up the words to verse 3 and 4 there.  Eating breakfast, lounging on the couch or walking past the desk?  Open bibles to Ephesians are there so you can peek really quick if you forget a word.  Having scripture all around reminds us to review what we know as well.  When we read verse 1 and 2 in the bathroom you know we don’t stop there.  We carry on as far as we know!

There are multiple times in a day that a boy will come up to me and proclaim, “Mom, I’ve got it!”  recognizing that they could plug all the way through without any hitches or stalls.

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Our minds are capable of so much.  It’s simply because we don’t try that we don’t know.  In the past number of years we’ve committed, in our family, to trying with the most important book we know.  We pray that locking these words into our children’s hearts will mean they know them forever, can bring them to mind often, and can share them with others!

I still know many verses in the King James Version from when I was a kid and I’m hoping the same for our boys!  (only with the ESV)

It’s not rocket science!  It just takes consistency and a bit of effort!!

What about you?  Do you do memorization with your family?  Do you have different ways of doing it?  I’d love to know!

**Side note:  Scripture memory doesn’t have to be about being fancy.  I know many of you are artists and chalk board aficionado’s and that’s great.  If you’re not, don’t let that stop you.  As you can see our verses and chalkboards are plain and simple.  No design scheme.  No artistic flare.  Just words on paper.  That’s how we roll.  Getting it in our minds is what’s important, not impressing our guests with our chalk skills.

Wanna read more on bible memory?

Check out a post I did here about the resources we use for our verses.

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