I began teaching Adeline memory verses a couple months before her third birthday. I had recently created a prayer closet and she was spending the early mornings with me while I prayed. One of the verses I had posted on the wall was the Fruit of the Spirit, and I thought that was a perfect place to start. It wasn't the simplest of verses for her to begin with, but I like how all encompassing it is in regards to how we should act as followers of Jesus. Here she is reciting that verse shortly before she turned three years old:
After Adeline mastered Galatians 5:22-23, I decided to start teaching her a new verse weekly. I don't have a precise method for picking the Scripture, but I currently choose ones that are appropriate for her particular phase. Last month, I decided that Ephesians 6:1 was in order: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother..." No explanation needed! She knows that one WELL as we remind her daily (or hourly!). After that, I came across Daniel 10:16 when we were reading her devotional. I wanted her to memorize this one about not being frightened since she sometimes says she is scared when we put her to bed.
Today, I looked on Pinterest for "Children's Bible Verses" and came across an excellent website that offers a free Bible verse printable each week, the Well Nourished Nest. I gave Addie a choice between two, printed one out, and then she put it on the refrigerator--with princess magnets, of course.
On the first day of a new verse, we repeat it together five times in a row. Then, we turn the verse into a little tune to make it easier to remember. I always state the Bible address along with the verse, so she learns that as well. As part of our daily routine, we recite her memory verse and recall is several times throughout the day as applicable occasions present themselves. It is remarkable how well little children can memorize and retain, and immeasurably more exciting to think about how much Scripture she'll have hidden in her heart as a young woman.
Recently, I was listening to a Dr. Dobson broadcast about teaching children to memorize the Bible. I was challenged while I listened to the guest, Joe White, explain how he teaches his children to memorize BOOKS of the Bible. He said that he and his wife begin teaching their children Scripture at age three, starting in this order: Psalm 23, Psalm 1, Psalm 100, 1 Corinthians 13, Sermon on the Mount, and Philippians. I would love to follow his plan. I can imagine using it as a great incentive, too. For example, Mr. White talks about allowing his kids to have the car keys when they memorize two books of the bible--and LIVE by it! He told them about this deal at 9 years old and in the couple years leading up to age 16, he would memorize one verse a night with his children. That's it, one verse a night. He makes it sounds simple, but what an achievement! I also know it would be a deeply meaningful bonding experience and I'd enjoy the challenge to grow in my faith alongside them. Joe White says that memorizing Scripture with his children is the most fun he's ever had. If you're interested in listening to the broadcasts, you can find them here: Raising Kids who Love the Lord--Part I & Raising Kids who Love the Lord--Part II.
As always, I'm eager to learn more effective ways to raise our children in the Lord. Do you have any techniques or routines you use to teach Scripture? Please leave a comment and share your wisdom!