All of my Christian life (it began at 16 years old), I have been told to memorize God’s word. It is important, because when you know, and I mean really know, what you believe, it’s more than just memorizing, you can truly “hide His word in your heart.” And, you can share what you believe with people who really need Jesus and His salvation. (Wouldn’t that be everyone??)
Now, changing the subject radically, memorizing in school (public) – also called “rote” learning – is considered a poor way to get kids to learn, because many kids can’t generalize the concepts they memorize, to apply them in real world problems. So, rote learning is considered “passe,” and seldom used in school.(1)
Does this mean we shouldn’t memorize scripture? Absolutely not!! I have known for a long time that memorization actually helps kids learn. Well, I decided to do a little research, and find out what studies actually say. I found several websites that support my belief, at least two of which are from Psychology Today.
What I found is that memorizing helps kids, (and parents, too), do several things:
- First, it trains your brain to remember;
- It exercises your brain (think of a gym workout!);
- Helps learners be able to recall more information than they otherwise might;
- Teaches patterns, like in poetry;
- Allows your brain to be quicker;
- Helps students (and adults, too) be able to focus on tasks;
- Allows more creativity;
- Even helps older adults avoid “cognitive decline.”(1)
Are those enough reasons to memorize God’s word? Kids can relate to wanting to be quick thinkers, and wanting to remember what they learn, so they don’t have to work so hard to relearn material when a quiz or test is coming up. Even elementary age kids can relate to that!
Now that you parents/grandparents have proof that memorizing is a good thing, how do you get your kids (and yourself) to actually do it? Believe it or not, there are a lot of online websites that address this, too. One that I really liked is “Eight Ways to Remember Anything,” by Alex Lickerman M.D., at psychologytoday.com (2).
First, it is good to know how you learn best, and use that to your advantage. If you are a visual learner, as I am, I write things down that I have to remember. If you are a kinesthetic learner (hands-on), you may have to touch things, or create things to best memorize. If verbal learning is your style, listening to a recording may work better than seeing something in writing. Or you may need a combination of forms, as I do, and I think most people do, as well.
At any rate, memorizing scripture is good for you! It helps you and your kids become better informed, wise Christians, and helps your brain stay young and strong. What more could you ask?
These are great verses to start with…:
Psalm 119:11, I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Joshua 1:8, Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Deuteronomy 11:18, Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Proverbs 6: 21-22, Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.
Psalm 40:8, I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.
Sources: www.bestvalueschools.org; www.bestcollegesonline.com, also,
(1) “Is Memorization Bad for Learning?” (May 2, 2011), William R. Klemm Ph.D., www.psychologytoday.com.
(2) “Eight Ways to Remember Anything,” (November 16, 2009), Alex Lickerman M.D., at www.psychologytoday.com .