Memorizing Scripture (our how and why)

A few years ago we decided we needed to put more focus on Scripture memory work. We’d always sort of done it but not with the intentionality that we wanted. I’ve tried various methods with my family and somehow we’d always get stalled out or we’d forget what we’d learned. It felt futile to even put the work in if we weren’t going to remember the verses a few weeks (or days) later anyway.

I was a little desperate and so I did an online search for methods that might help us. I watched YouTube videos (when we were off the mountain and I had something more decent than our satellite internet which doesn’t support videos even though we pay a king’s ransom for the service) and I sifted through post after article filled with ideas. Nothing really resonated until I stumbled on Charlotte Mason’s index card box method. As soon as I read through the instructions (I didn’t watch the video because, well, the internet) I knew it was a system that covered my needs as a scattered homeschooling mother of a wide range of ages.

And so I got a bunch of index cards, dividers and a box and I implemented the system post-haste. It worked beautifully. Every day we’d review the current (daily) verse as well as the corresponding verses for the odd or even (depending on the numeric date of the month), day of the week, and date of the month. Now when we first got started my box was obviously empty and I didn’t want it empty. I knew we knew some verses so I gathered any I felt we already had a good handle on and wrote them out and filed them. It gave us a little traction but you could absolutely start from scratch if scratch is what you have to start with. The important thing is just to start.

We used that box system for a long time (I’m not sure how long a long time is, really, but the box was  getting populated with many lovely verses) before I stumbled on a website that organizes it all for you. Now, I’m typically more an ink and paper girl than one who wants things digitized, but in this case I loved the concept of the whole thing being more portable.

The website is called Scripture Box (I have no affiliation with them) and they were inspired by the Charlotte Mason method I was already utilizing so there was no new system to learn. The rotation of verses just became more automated and large (or small) family, crazy-mom friendly. It only costs $9.99 a year and it’s totally worth it. Now we have easy access to our memory work no matter if we’re home or out, because while it’s a website, I’ve saved it to my homescreen like an app and it functions just like one. I guess if you don’t have a smart phone it wouldn’t be as useful but I’m one of those techno-groupies whose kids run around with mismatched, hole-ridden socks so I can have one. Really, I’m seriously not tech savvy at all but I do have a smartphone. We all have our strengths.

And our weaknesses.

I’ve never been strong at memory work, Scripture or otherwise. I’m not sure I ever memorized all the states and capitals or presidents and vice presidents and I know I didn’t ever manage to memorize the table of elements. My memory is like that of a 90 year old, only not quite that good. Hannah found Scripture Typer (again, no affiliation) and got it on the ipad she uses for school and eventually told me about it. I’m not even exaggerating when I tell you that free app (you can also just use the website) has been a game changer. I can suddenly remember not only Scripture but also the names of all my children. It’s incredible. I’ve been able to memorize large portions of Scripture now when more than one verse at a time used to give me fits.

What I love so much about memory work is that while we’re studying the Bible or reading a Bible based story or participating in the small group study we have in our home on Friday nights, verses will constantly come up that we have memorized. And it gives the Scripture so much more depth when you have it in your head and can then allow it to make it to your heart. Somehow the act of memorization mobilizes the brain to be able to better grasp the message behind the words and cancels out the disconnect between the head and the heart.

Because I want my family to know Jesus, not just know about Him. I want them to know how to dig for His personal message to them and not just skim the thin pages of the book inscribed with their name feeling like it’s all about those other guys. I want them to find Him in there and to know He’s talking to them using stories that remind them of His faithfulness. I want them to see the whole of Scripture as a love letter from One desperate to reclaim them as if they were His only beloved child.  And having Scripture tucked into their minds helps it all become a little more real.

A few days ago Quinn and Levi were squabbling. I pulled them close and reminded them of what God has said about using the tongue for sharp words and how He wants us to have unity and kindness and patience. Levi’s little finger shot up, all his former irritation gone, and he said “I know, let’s say Our Father (Matthew 6:9-13) because it says about keeping us out of trouble.” And so we did.

The argument was forgotten, the Helper was remembered and peace was evidence of the victory.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Do you make Scripture memory work a part of your daily life? Share your tips and tricks and stories in the comments…

 

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