Why I didn't teach my children to memorize Scripture

I'm happy to welcome Holly Shivers, author of I Can Learn the Bible (a book our family is very much enjoying!) to the blog today.

Why I Didn't Teach My Children to Memorize Scripture

By Holly Shivers

Raising kids in today’s {Christian} culture = No pressure at all, right? I mean, of course, just make sure they are at the top of their class and all. Make sure they are playing a minimum of three sports at a time and be sure to throw something somewhat musical in the mix. It’s really no big deal. Just have them at all the church activities, school programs and --for the sake of everything good-- do not forget to make sure every meal is healthy and nutritious! And when you are sitting at the dinner table staring at your eleven-year-old son picking up corn with his fingers, remember that you have to make them into civilized people one day. That’s all {shrug}.

These are the expectations that creep inside my head and tend to make me a little CA-RAZY. And I wouldn’t even classify myself as a perfectionist.

You may have heard it said, “The good is the enemy of the best.” The truth is, I will never run out of “good things” to give my children as I try to prepare them for life. I can give them all kinds of lessons, opportunities and life experiences. But, the fact remains: When it is all said and done, one day soon, they will be packing their bags to set out on a journey called adulthood. And a large part of my job will be over. How am I preparing them for that?

What if there was a way to empower them to know the Word of God and to have it with them, like an appendage, everywhere they went? What if their entire future and well being wasn’t really up to us as parents? I can already feel the weight lifting. The best thing I can give my kids is God’s Word inside of them.

Now, let’s be honest here. How do you feel when you hear the term Scripture Memory? What—No warm, fuzzy, happy thoughts? Just ONE. MORE. added pressure? I get it. And that is exactly why I spent years not investing any {precious and few} hours into this practice. I thought: We talk about the Bible, we have the important verses down, we have occasional family devos, and we pray…what’s the big deal? Until one day I watched a child less than ten years old use a verse she had learned by heart that week to speak straight into a need of her little friend. Hmmm…it seemed powerful. It seemed like a part of her. It seemed right to me. And thus began our journey of getting God’s Word into the minds and hearts of our kids. And can I just say? It has been such fun.

Think with me. What do we know about the Word of God? We know that it is inspired by God Himself (2 Timothy 3:16), that it is absolutely true (Psalm 119:160) that it always prospers and bears fruit (Isaiah 55:11) and most importantly, that it lasts FOR-EV-ER(Isaiah 40:8). That being said, if we are doing the small things: having real conversations, opening God’s Word, talking about scriptures we are learning as we go…we are putting that word inside of those little beings. We don’t have to worry about our children leaving home one day empty-handed if the living and active Word of God is hidden deep inside of them. The person of Jesus Christ through His Word will be walking with them as He comforts, convicts and guides their every step.

I wrote I Can Learn the Bible in an effort to show parents that teaching our kids to know and love God’s Word doesn’t have to be so legalistic and daunting. Full disclosure: I do not create little crafts and activities to help my kids learn the Bible. We talk about the verse they are learning, ask questions, play a game or use an illustration from the book and then we just learn it. There are plenty of suggestions and activities in the appendix to bring these scriptures to light and help with memorization-- use them or don’t. Make it your own. Do what you can! It’s just a simple tool that can serve as a fun, meaningful point of connection with your kids as you teach them God’s Word and make it real to them. Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is that regardless of your generation, you can do this together. As the Bible becomes fresh and fun, you will witness a beautiful thing: Christ alive in your child. And just perhaps, as God’s Word is sinking into their hearts, you will hear Him, too.



Holly Shivers is the author of I Can Learn the Bible, a child's journey toward knowing and loving God's Word for life. Holly has served as a staff wife for over a decade at her church, Prestonwood, where she stays involved in women's and children's ministries. She received her Masters degree in counseling. Holly enjoys contributing to various writing projects and ministry blogs, but is mostly passionate about writing to kiddos. Some of her favorite things: Dr. Pepper, rainy days, family time and oh, those Dallas Cowboys! Holly lives in Texas with her husband and four spectacular kids.  Connect with Holly on Twitter: @hollyshivers and Instagram: @hollyshivers1