Teaching my child, who is 7 years old, Psalm 23 and Psalm 91. Someone said that was extreme. I do not think it is, I feeI I should be teaching him even more, I just do not know which passages to start with next?
ESV - 6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
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Speaking just from personal opinion (rather than from formal training or experience as a teacher -- either in an academic setting or in Sunday school), I would think that, for the memorization of longer passages (rather than just isolated verses), the parables of Jesus might be an appropriate starting point. It seems to me that the narrative flow and format of the parables, as well as their individual purposes or teaching points, would make them easier to memorize than other passages. They would also be of a convenient length with a definite beginning and ending (so as not to overtax the child's memorization skills), while at the same time providing meaningful instruction to the child in biblical principles. Other passages that come to mind would be the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), as well as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) and the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:7-15) from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and also St. Paul's discussion of the attributes of Christian love (1 Corinthians 13).
Memorizing scripture builds a solid foundation for anyone’s faith, but especially a child. Children naturally trust their parents, but that trust only becomes rock solid over time, as they experience relationship that is trustworthy, in every situation of life. When I came to faith many years ago, I decided to build my faith on the promises of God. So I started reading, meditating and some memorizing of the scripture passages in a book called “The Bible Promise Book” (I think that was the name). Years later, when I decided to commit myself seriously to scripture memorization, I wrestled with the same question you are. Where to start? At that time a Christian book called “The Purpose Driven Life” was very popular. I decided to write down every bible verse referenced in the book and start memorizing them. My reasoning was that my faith would also be stronger when I understood and followed God’s plan and purpose for my life. In recent years I have been more dependant on the Holy Spirit to guide my memorization. Since I follow a read through the bible in a year plan, I wait on the Spirit to highlight the verses he wants me to pay attention to, and then add those verses to my memorization list. I have a lot more verses on my list than I have time to memorize. There are lots of different approaches to memorization of any material. I encourage you to do some reading and have your child try some different ways to see what works best. I discovered that I was practicing verses throughout the day and didn’t even realize it. I used some concentrated time to commit the verse to memory but my initial practice and recall practice times were very spontaneous. Once I started this discipline of scripture memorization, I was astounded at how much easier it got over time. Word lengths that would take me a week to memorize when I first started, I was committing to memory in a couple of days. For this, I give the Holy Spirit all the honour and glory, for He is my resident teacher. May God bless your efforts, as you partner with the Holy Spirit, to strengthen your child’s faith.
Teaching a child is the same way you can create memorization. Start with shortened verses, John 3:16, Psalms 23, or 24. Start with loving, kind passages. I have seen too many parents act as hard thumb authoritarians, that start off with psalms 119. How about the love verses in Corinthians? I don’t feel that we should beat anyone over the head to make them learn long bible scriptures, we teach in love, kindness and nurturing. God never made anyone learn anything just as we each have a free will to come to the Father. Love conquers all. As we minister and share to those in need God will reveal what He has for that person or group of people. We are traveling pastors and missionaries to the campgrounds of America. We see a lot of people that have been hurt by the church or parents that pushed too hard.
Due to its poetry and prose the King James Version is an excellent way of remembering verse meaning and word flow. It's all I was brought up on and I find it so valuable for remembering verses today. The thees and thous are not a hindrance when one understands exactly why they are there in the first place.
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