The things we can store in our memory always amazes me. I usually can’t remember what I had for breakfast but I can still sing the entire opening song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And I couldn’t tell you one of my friends’ phone numbers today, but years (and years) ago before we had fancy phones, I had every person’s number stuck in that brain of mine. One things for sure, we memorize what’s important and useful to us.
Memorizing scripture was one of those things I knew I should do, but I never made a habit of it. It wasn’t until the kids came along that I finally saw more of a need to make it a priority. Why?
- I wanted them to grow up with God’s truth hidden in their hearts.
- I wanted them to hear God’s Word spoken in our home, not just at church.
- I wanted them to know what God says and that His Word guides us.
- I wanted them to know how important God’s Word is to our family.
- I wanted God’s Word to be a part of our natural conversations with them.
But I also wanted to make sure that memorizing scripture wasn’t this robotic thing that we did where the truth goes in one ear and out the other. To ensure this wouldn’t happen, I decided to start with a few verses that I knew could be applied to their lives. That was the key for us…talking about the verses in teachable moments instead of repeating them over and over again.
The Power of the Teachable Moment
We started using the teachable moments to memorize scripture when my kids were about 2 and 4 years old. Since they were siblings, they knew how to fight with each other. But instead of telling them how to act, I found a verse that did… “Be loving and kind to one another.” We applied it in that moment. And guess what? They memorized it!
But again, I didn’t want scripture memory to become a robotic moment with the kids… “Now son, what does the Bible say in Ephesians 4:32 about being kind?” So to keep this from happening, I always started the beginning of the verse and the kids finished it. This made it more of a conversation between us. And I’ve never used the verse reference because I know that one day they will learn where it is in the Bible. Right now we are focusing on hiding God’s Word in their hearts and applying it to their lives.
Here are a few examples of what this looks like for us…
Kindness and Ephesians 4:32
Imagine the kids are fighting over a toy and my son goes and snags it out of my daughter’s hands.
Me: “Davis, we don’t take toys from people. Remember, God tells us to be kind…”
Davis: “…and loving to one another.”
Me: “So how were you not kind?” or “What is the kind and loving thing to do?”
Giving and 2 Corinthians 9:7
Imagine my daughter comes home from school with a special treat from a class birthday. Her brother sees it and is clearly disappointed that he doesn’t have any. So she gives him some without hesitation.
Me: “Reide, I love how you just shared with your brother. God loves…”
Reide: “…a cheerful giver.”
There really is power in the teachable moments. The kids not only memorize scripture, but also learn how to apply it to their lives. And it’s not complicated! I don’t know about you, but I need not complicated in my life right now.
We also know that we won’t catch every teachable moment in our kids’ lives. And the examples above are a few of the “successful” ones. I remember one time at dinner when Davis was younger, he kept putting some of his food on our plates because he didn’t want to eat it. When we told him to stop, he very politely said, “But God loves a cheerful giver!” We got a good laugh from that one!
It won’t always be perfect and we won’t always get it right. And that’s ok. But to help us recognize as many teachable moments as we can, we came up with a list of verses that makes it easy for us to stay on the lookout. We’re working on a resource that provides those verses and tips to go along with it. So stay tuned!
Question: What’s your favorite way to memorize scripture? We would love to see your answers in the comments!