Scripture Memory and Children
There are at least four reasons to encourage children to memorize scripture:
1. Children have amazing memories.
Children memorize easily. In fact, they often memorize effortlessly. Since memorization is so easy for them, they are memorizing constantly. They will memorize either what the world has to offer them or what we have to offer them. Why not take advantage of this God-given gift for the benefit of our children’s spiritual growth? This “window of opportunity” is open for about twelve years. After age twelve, memorization is harder — unless a child has been trained in the habit of memorization.
2. What is learned in childhood is often retained for a lifetime.
It is so much harder for adults to memorize scripture than children. We often feel handicapped because we do not have more scripture memorized. For many adults, the verses they know well (those which come to mind as an automatic response) are verses learned in childhood. So seize the moment!
3. Memorizing scripture provides children with an ever-present counselor and protector.
We cannot always be with our children. If the word of God dwells richly in them, they have wise counsel with them at all times. In addition, God’s word is so much more powerful than our words; it will protect them from the attack of the enemy.
4. Memorizing scripture makes application and response to the word more likely.
Situations arise in all of our lives which either demonstrate a spiritual truth or demand a word of Biblical counsel (e.g. What do you do when someone speaks harshly to you?) Often in those situations, the Holy Spirit brings to mind a verse you have memorized. (e.g. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1). This is less likely to happen when we have memorized only a few verses. When we recognize a Biblical truth demonstrated in a situation, it is often impressed on our hearts, and a heartfelt godly response is more likely to occur. That response can come in the form of appropriate behavior, correct attitudes, or in worship of God as we are awed with the truth of his word.