Our kids live in a world surrounded by technology. They can have the world at their fingertips via a screen, including the Bible. I love the Bible apps that we have available. I very much love when I see my middle schooler engaging with the Bible on her smartphone (except when she got smart aleck-y with me because I was interrupting her plan to get her to go to school… but that’s a whole other blog post).
Memorizing Bible verses has long been a part of children’s ministry. Is it still a relevant thing to emphasize in this technological day and age? I would argue that this discipline is more important now than ever.
Why should memorizing scripture still be an important part of our ministries and our homes?
- Kids are designed with a high capacity for remembering. God created kids to have brains that are like sponges. They absorb so much and learn so much so quickly. If you are 40 like me, you might realize that memorizing doesn’t come quite as easily as it used to. As important as it might be for kids to learn all of the state capitals and parts of a plant, it is vital that we help them use this stage of their lives and brains to hide God’s Word in their hearts. Even toddlers and preschoolers can begin learning truths from Scripture.
- They can “preach the gospel to themselves”. This phrase is popular in gospel-centered circles and it refers to continually reminding ourselves of what Jesus has done for us. When our kids have memorized God’s Word and have hidden the truths of the gospel deep in their hearts, they are better able to keep the gospel at the center of everything they think and believe.
- We all have a worldview. Every one of us has a “lens” through which we view the situations, people, and circumstances around us. Memorizing Scripture allows opportunity God’s Word to be an automatic response, not something they have to Google when they are unsure. When kids know verses about who He is, who we are, what He does, and what Christ did for us, they are prepared to view the world through a Biblical worldview.
- Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Jesus shared this truth in Luke 6:45. What is in our kids’ heart shapes what comes out in their actions, their words, and their decisions. I love the illustration of a mug. Whatever I fill that mug with is what is going to spill out when it is bumped. If I fill it with coffee, I should not expect orange juice to splash out when I bump it and some splashes out. In the same way, what is filling my child’s heart and mind is what is going to “splash out” or “overflow” when life bumps them.
- Kids can better sort out the world’s junk. 2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Partially because they have a screen in their hands, our kids are inundated with messages and ideas every single day. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that kids are exposed to at least 40,000 advertisements a year. And this number just includes media ads, not even the messages and ideas kids receive from other kids, teachers, coaches, and everywhere else in life. How can kids immediately compare thoughts and ideas to what Christ says is truth if they do not know truth?
- We want them to make wiser choices. I know I say this to my kids all the time. Do you? “Do the right thing.” “Make good choices.” “Choose wisely.” The book of Proverbs reminds us over and over again that wisdom begins with knowing God. When our kids are filled with His wisdom through His Word, the words they have memorized begin to shape the choices they make.
- Discipline is good. Memorizing takes more work than searching for something in an app. Memorizing takes concentration and focus. These are good things. In an instantaneous world, it is so good for our kids to have to put forth some effort to exercise a spiritual discipline.
What would you add? How do you make memorizing Scripture relevant in your ministry or in your home?