Whitefield Academy Blog
Memorizing Scripture as a Family
I’m looking out over this summer with a mixture of “How am I ever going to survive?” and “I only have 12 summers left with my girls! Make it count!” I quickly get overwhelmed with everything that I need to teach my girls: tying shoes, showering, brushing their own hair, doing chores. Every once in awhile I realize that I’ve missed something important (“What do you mean you don’t know how to put a shirt on?!”). The responsibilities of parenting are much more expansive than I ever expected them to be, and it’s easy to find that I’m focusing on small, unimportant things and letting the most important things fall to the wayside.
The Most Important Thing
I’ve been studying different parts of the Old Testament this year, and the resounding message that I have been brought back to time and time again is the importance of loving God’s Word. The greatest command for parents comes up numerous times but most strongly in Deuteronomy 11:18–21.
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.”
The Center of Our Lives
Scripture does not say, “Send your kids to a Christian school and let them do all the work.” Nor does it say, “Play some Bible songs in the car, and you’re all set!” No, my friends, God demands that His Word be at the center of our lives, the focus of our homes, and the ever present connecting thread throughout all of our conversations with our children. Why? “…that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land…” for “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word” (Psalm 119:9).
As Frontlets Between Your Eyes
What exactly does living out this Scripture look like? It absolutely means reading God’s Word together, discussing aspects of the Bible, encouraging the application of weekly sermons, but it also means (cue scary music) Scripture memorization. That phrase, for me, invokes feelings of inadequacy and also a little bit of eye rolling. Why is it important anyway when I can look up Scripture on my Bible app? The answer to that is easy: it is important because God tells us to “lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul”. Scripture is supposed to be so ingrained in our hearts and minds that we can refer to it at a moment’s notice. Alrighty then, but how do I encourage memorizing scripture with my kids, when I haven’t even done a good job with it myself?
How Do We Do It?
- Pray about it. If I’m honest, I not only have to pray that God would help our family to memorize His Word, but I also have to pray that he would help us to WANT to memorize His Word.
- Model it ourselves. Take advantage of the extra time together this summer and pick a Scripture for the whole family to memorize. Mom and Dad too.
- Don’t excuse the littlest ones! We often think that long Scriptures are too much for little brains, but those same little brains can memorize ten different TV show theme songs. We should be filling those sponges with as much Scripture as we can while they are soaking everything in!
- Explain the “why”. If you have older students, you might find yourself butting up against a brick wall when you tell them you want them to memorize more Scripture. Present Psalm 119 to them. Present the earlier Scripture from Deuteronomy. Have them see for themselves what God requires of us as believers. Be honest with them if you haven’t done a good job with it up to this point. Partner with them in moving forward rather than demanding that they hit the books.
- Repetition! Put the words to a song, say your verses every time you hit a certain intersection on your daily drive to the pool, quiz each other, post them on your window by where you do dishes.
Our family will begin the summer by memorizing Exodus 20:3–17, the Ten Commandments. There are, of course, many wonderful pieces of Scripture that you could choose. If you’re wanting further advice on Scripture memory or family worship time, The Family Worship Book, by Terry Johnson, is a great resource!
If you’re also spending time this summer deciding on school for the Fall, peruse our ebook for some practical advice on choosing a private school in Kansas City.