It’s hard to place a value on Bible memorization. The verses I learned
as a child are with me still, coming to mind when I need encouragement
and guiding my decisions with gentle promptings. I may not always
remember the reference or even the exact wording, but the truth is still there. The seed planted many years ago continues to grow and bear fruit in my life.
As much as I value the importance of Bible
memorization, I realized awhile back that I was not making effective use
of class time to help my students memorize verses. And sending verses
home with them wasn’t very effective either, as few students memorized
them at home. (We can bemoan this problem, but I prefer to accept it and
help kids memorize verses however I can.)
decided to make Bible memory work a priority on the class schedule.
(Memorizing things can’t really be rushed, so you must make a commitment
to spend time on Bible memorization.) Here are some ideas that have
worked for me and my students:
Devote 20 minutes of class time to memorizing Bible verses.
this small-group time. We divide our class by age with one teacher for
every three to four students (optimally). If you have a lot of kids,
invite some other adults to come into the class for just this 20-minute
portion to be "Bible memorization mentors." The kids love this time of
quoting verses and interacting more personally with a teacher!
Decide on a list of verses to be memorized
and then let the kids work at their own pace. That way, the older
children (or faster learners) don’t hold back the younger. Everyone is
challenged to make as much progress as he/she can.
small group time, have teachers assist kids in learning their verses by
reading and repeating them, creating motions to go with them, singing
them, etc. If each child in the group is working on a different verse,
be sure to spend a little one-on-one time working with each.
coloring pages (preferably relating to verses you are memorizing or
things you are learning in class) to occupy one-time visitors, younger
students, or any student who is waiting his/her turn to quote a verse.
a chart or booklet of some kind to keep track of each student’s
progress. Teachers should initial and date when a verse has been quoted.
A booklet we have used is Quick and Powerful Scriptural Concepts for Children by Valda Johnson and Ilene Sargeant available from Pentecostal Publishing House.
Praise students publicly for their
progress. From time to time have volunteers quote a verse during Review
or another part of the class, giving them an opportunity to show what
they have been learning.
student’s effort. When a student reaches a certain milestone (i.e.,
having memorized a certain number of Bible verses), I like to reward
him/her with a two-part prize: something of instant enjoyment (such as a
large sucker or candy bar) and something of more lasting enjoyment
(like a book). Some fun books I have used as prizes are the Scripture Sleuth books by Mat Halverson. These books are similar to the Encyclopedia Brown
books with the protagonist, Concord Cunningham, solving mysteries using
his knowledge of the Bible. Readers are given a Bible reference so they
can look up a Bible verse and try to figure out the solution to the
mystery before looking in the back of the book for the answer. If you order directly from Mr.
Halverson's website, he will autograph the books for you. The books are also available at Amazon.com.
For more Bible memorization ideas, visit my Memorization Tips page. You will find some helpful activities, whether you teach a small group or a larger class.
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