Involve the verse. You could ask the students to draw a picture to go with the verse. As each child shows his picture, the individual or the class can repeat the verse. You can use games such as Scrambled Verses to teach the verse. In this game the verses are written on stiff paper, cut apart, and scrambled. The students then try to arrange the words in the correct order.
By Arlo & Jane Moehlenpah
There are a number of reasons why we should memorize God’s Word; the most compelling is that God commands us to put His Word in our hearts. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children; and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Memory work can lead the unsaved to salvation. What we put into the mind influences behavior, so we must put good things in our minds and in the minds of the people we teach. One woman asked her unsaved husband to check verses as she quoted them. He became convinced that he had not been born again, and a few days later he sought the Lord. One Bible quizzer received the Holy Ghost after learning the passages of Scripture needed for his quizzes.
Memory work is a means of growth for the saved. If we read and memorize God’s Word, the Word will become a part of our daily life and thinking. As a humorous illustration, at the end of one quarter when I took an examination at the University of Missouri in St. Louis, the instructor asked, “How did you do?” The verse immediately came to my mind: “She hath done what she could.”
Memory work helps us resist temptation. David wrote, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). Scripture that we have memorized will help us in the absence of the printed Word. Memory work is not just for the future. God’s Word helps us to live right now. It is a source of strength in difficult times. A number of prisoners of war have testified to the strength and encouragement the memorized Scriptures gave them.
The more we read and learn the Word of God, the more we will respect it, and our students need to learn this respect also. They should not think, Hath God said? but rather, God hath said. Our students need to love the Word of God, and we have to love the Word before we can help others love it. Memorized Scriptures also gives us confidence as we face doctrinal questions when we witness. Here are some techniques for teaching memory work.
- Choose the verse. Ask yourself, “How useful will this passage be to my students in future years?” If you have the opportunity, choose a verse that they will enjoy learning and that is appropriate to their age level. Some nursery or beginner class students are more comfortable with a portion of a verse that contains two to six words, while older students can learn longer passages.
- Define the verse. Defining the verse means explaining unfamiliar words. Many times a student can read the words of a passage for himself, but just a simple explanation by a teacher will open his understanding of it. If your students are old enough to understand and enjoy it, and if the time permits, you might discuss the background of the passage of Scripture, including the author, when and where it was written, the recipient (if it is a part of a letter), and the value it has for our lives today. You could also give the students an opportunity to say what they think the passage means.