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“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Ps 119:11 in the King James Version is the quintessential verse for explaining why we memorize Bible verses. The NASB translates it a bit differently, "Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” Either way you look at it, it’s clear that Bible memory is downright practical for us in our walk with Christ.
Many of our grandchildren are memorizing verses through their Christian schools, homeschools, or such programs as Awanas. It’s exciting when God allows us to help them in this worthy endeavor.
It’s important to remember that different children learn at different speeds and in different ways. My children were all very bright. They could each learn a verse in a matter of minutes. No matter how many verses they had to memorize for school, they could have it totally memorized with only a day or two of preparation, and the verses would stay with them long after the class was over.
Having worked with a variety of children through home school, Sunday School and Awanas, not to mention nine wonderful grandchildren, I’ve discovered it is rarely that simple. While I’ve seen many kids learn that easily, I’ve seen many more learn much more slowly. Then, of course, there are a wide variety of learning issues such as learning disabilities, auditory disabilities, dyslexia, being on the autism spectrum, etc. You may find that your grandchild is not comfortable saying the verse or even able to say it. Regardless of how your grandchild learns, it is still wonderfully worthwhile for both you and them to help them with the verses. It instills in them the knowledge that it is important to you, therefore making it more important to them. It shows them you care about them. It teaches them about your relationship with God. In addition, it is sometimes easier for a child to work on things with grandparents, that they would normally drag their heels on with parents 🙂 .
I have found that no matter how a child learns, just hearing me say the verses to them three times a day, most days of the week, is sufficient to help them learn it. If they work cheerfully with you, they will learn it fairly quickly. Even if it looks like they aren’t really paying attention, it often gets through. I usually try to couple this Bible memory time with snuggle time and reading time. My goal is to help them learn verses while wrapping the whole process with a sense of love, joy, peace, and even fun. That’s how I feel when I am enjoying a good sermon or Bible study and that’s what I want for my grandchildren.
If they have the option on how much they memorize, such as with Awanas’ Sparks, I’ve learned that a lot of verses poorly memorized are usually not as valuable as one or two verses well memorized. Four verses memorized in a month equals 36 verses memorized by the end of the school year. That’s 36 verses more than they knew at the beginning of the year, and 36 verses God can use throughout their lives to keep their way pure according to His Word.
If your grandchildren live far away, you can encourage them by asking them what they are memorizing. They will have fun telling you their verses and you will be blessed by hearing them.
Whether near or far, helping our grandchildren memorize God’s Word is another wonderful way to pass on our spiritual heritage to them.