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Bible Memory at a Young Age

If I could do my homeschooling years over again, there are several things I would hope to do differently. But this one thing probably tops the list: memorize one Bible verse a week with your children. We did a fair bit of memorization, but not as consistently and faithfully as I wish we would have. The press and crush of life often pushes out and waylays the important. It has always been this way. A book was even written about it entitled The Tyranny of the Urgent. (Get the pamphlet on Amazon here:

I remember when Mattaniah, our 3rd born, was two years old, how he would surprise us during our family Bible memorization time after dinner. We were living in the Philippines at the time, and he was slow to begin talking. He spoke very little at that age and I was worried about him, until I consulted a specialist: this was not unusual for a child who was trying to figure out two languages at the same time. We would work on the memory verse all together, and then have Jeremiah or Sarah try to say it. Whenever they got stuck on a word, Mattaniah would pipe up and fill it in for them! He knew it, even if he couldn't say the whole thing himself.

My parents were big on Bible memory and enrolled us as children in a memory program each year. We earned rewards for memorizing a certain number of verses. As I get older, memory work gets more difficult. Oh, I can memorize all right; it's getting it to stick that's the problem! But the verses I learned as a child? I don't have any problem recalling those. They are with me forever—even the references.

A child's brain is like a sponge. It's unsaturated and they soak up everything in their path. Or like a blank page, we have the privilege of writing on it before it fills up. What are we filling them with? Research shows that between the ages of 0-5, children are learning patterns of living and the framework around which they will build all their rest of their lives. These are the years they learn the most. We don't have to wait till kindergarten to start filling their lives with God's Word.

Think of how many verses a child could learn in your home if you just worked on one verse a week. Even if you don't count the first two years when they are not talking much, and supposing they launch from your home at the age of 18, it would add up to 16 x 52 = 832. That's quite a few!

I was visiting with a homeschool mom last week, and she was telling me about her reading of Charlotte Mason's educational model. Mason recommends staying with one topic for an extended time, for a whole semester, for emersion and familiarity. If we apply that to Bible memory, what about focusing on one biblical topic for a semester? Using that very simple method over the course of several years, we would be building into our children's lives a solid biblical worldview.

This is one way we can put "Bible First" in our homes. Try simply reviewing the verse together every night at dinnertime. Say it three to five times each night. By the end of the week, go around the table and have each person say it by themselves.

Don't know where to start? Here's a link to a list of verses about the Bible itself. It seems to me that is a good place to start: If we're going to use the Bible as our frame of reference for building our worldview, we first need to understand and believe it's authority and power for taking that pre-eminent place in our lives.

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