On Scripture Memorization (part 2)

We recently blogged about the importance of Scripture memorization in the life of an Orthodox Christian. That blog post was geared toward adults and teens. However, our younger children are equally part of the Holy Orthodox Church, and it is also important for them to memorize Scripture. The reasons that children should commit the Scriptures to memory are the same as those for adults. However, because they are children, the methodology should differ somewhat. So the next question is, how can we best help our children to memorize the Scriptures?

We can help our children to learn the Scriptures by taking them to church. The Divine services are filled with Scripture. Fr. Thomas Hopko of blessed memory and his wife helped their children to memorize Scripture when they were young. In his podcast, “How to Read the Bible,” he included this humorous anecdote about his children’s memorization of the Scriptures via the services, and how they applied their learning: “My own children, …went to church so much… I remember they used to memorize the psalms of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. And they knew how to use them. I remember when I would try to get my kids to go to bed, …they would quote to me: ‘I will not give slumber to my eyes or sleep to my eyelids until I find the place for my Lord.’. When I’d try to wake them up, they would say, ‘It is in vain that you rise early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil, for he gives to his beloved sleep.’” So, yes, even while in church our children are memorizing Scriptures that are found throughout the services!

We can help our children to learn the Scriptures by exposing them to passages at home. We should be reading the Scriptures to them. The daily readings that the Church offers pair nicely with family prayer time, or we can select a book from the Bible and read it aloud, bit by bit, at bedtime. (One family did this over a period of several years, and eventually read the entire Orthodox Study Bible aloud together!) We can also print passages of Scripture and hang them up around our house. (For example: as beautifully framed artwork; simply stuck with a piece of tape to the bathroom mirror; or posted by magnet onto our fridge.)

We can help our children learn the Scriptures by finding ways to help them memorize them. Some children can benefit from rote repetition of a Scripture passage, as some adults prefer as a way to learn, but they will enjoy the memorization process much more if we find ways to make it fun! One teacher-turned-homeschooling mom, who implemented a variety of methods for Scripture memorization over the years, offers the following ideas: Take turns reading the passage. Read it together in different “voices.” Read the passage and skip words, to see who can fill them in. (Take turns with this reading, as well! Children enjoy trying to stump their parent/teacher by skipping hard words to remember, often skipping several words in a row!) Write the entire passage on a chalkboard or white board and read it together; then erase a word or two and read again; and continue doing so until it is completely erased, but everyone can still “read” the whole passage! Write each word of the passage on a separate note card, mix them up, and work together to unscramble them. (Go on to make a second set, divide into two groups, and have a race to see which group can re-assemble their verse first! After that round, remove cards from the mix, one or two at a time, so players have to remember which words are missing as they re-assemble their verse.) Tape each word of a verse at a different spot in a room, and take turns touching the words in verse order. (Then, see who can do it the fastest!) Use your own creativity to find other fun ways to memorize! The children will be able to help with this.

It is not so much about what method we use to help our children learn the Scriptures: it is just really important that we help them learn the Scriptures and commit them to memory! May we all resolve to better learn the Scriptures this year. May we also help our children to do the same. In the process, we can have fun!

Here are more ideas of ways to help our children memorize Scripture:

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Find additional games and activities for Scripture memorization with kids here: http://www.hiphomeschoolmoms.com/2014/02/5-simple-ways-help-kids-memorize-Scripture/

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Print these A to Z verse cards for kids to memorize: http://www.myjoyfilledlife.com/2014/09/26/hide-em-heart-Scripture-cards-free-printable/

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Here is a set of verses featuring key words from A to Z. Each set offers printables that include the verse (at different levels for different ages) and some related activities to assist in the memorization process: http://totallytots.homestead.com/InMyHeart2.html  

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Here is another set of A to Z memory verse printables: http://wildflowerramblings.com/homeschooling/a-to-z-bible-verses-children-free-printable/

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For this set of simple A to Z Bible verses, each verse begins with a letter of the alphabet: http://www.homeschoolcreations.com/files/ABC_Bible_Verses.pdf

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Print and laminate these A to Z verses, put them on a ring, and just flip through them as you memorize! (free for personal use): http://www.delightingintoday.com/2012/06/abc-bible-verse-cards-free-download/

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Here are Scripture verses printables from 1 to 10 (each contains a number word) for children to memorize: http://wildflowerramblings.com/homeschooling/bible-verses-from-1-to-10/  

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These printables contain excellent verses for children to memorize: http://wildflowerramblings.com/homeschooling/best-bible-verses-for-children-free-printable/

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One thought on “On Scripture Memorization (part 2)

  1. Pingback: On Tattooing God’s Word on Your Heart | Orthodox Christian Sunday Church School Teachers

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