100 Scriptures Project
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We interviewed one mom who has challenged her young children to memorize 100 scriptures. Read one to find out how they did it and why.
Cari, tell us about having your children memorize 100 scriptures:
What motivated you to do this? Why was it important to you? What did you want the outcome to be? Did you wish to accomplish more than just memorizing? As a mama, I worry about how much time I have left with my children to teach them and to prepare them for the world. I want them to have the tools and the wisdom that they will need in life to combat temptation and doctrinal error. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were bringing my eldest child, Savannah, home from the hospital, and now she is nearly 9 years old. I know that all I will have to do is blink and she will be headed off to college. What will happen when I’m not there to guard her against false doctrine? What will happen when my children are out on their own and faced with temptation? Will they be prepared? The psalmist said in chapter 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” How do I prepare my children? I must put the word of God in their hearts!
How long did the whole project take? How old were your children when you started? Will you continue on past 100? We have been memorizing scriptures for well over 2 years now. Avery was probably 5 and Savannah, 6. I will probably wait until Grayson is at least 5 before I start with him. We learn one new verse every week, starting on Mondays. I write the verse on a notecard and make them say it daily, along with the ones that they’ve already learned, so that they do not forget them. They must also tell me where the verse is found. We do this Monday thru Friday, like any other school subject, and then take a break on Saturdays and Sundays. We do, however, do this thru the summer as well. We are definitely continuing past 100.
How did you introduce each scripture? My kids really like the flashcard system. On Mondays I introduce the new verse that they will be learning, along with where it is found, and usually by Thursday or Friday they have it well-memorized.
What did you require of them? (Did you require them to be able to tell you the whole verse and the book and chapter/verse numbers? Did you require that the verse be exact word for word? To tell you what the verse means or is in reference to?) Yes, they must be able to tell me the entire verse word for word, along with the reference. I usually do my best to explain the verse to them. I realize that sometimes their depth of knowledge or understanding of the verse will not be the same as an adult’s. As they grow and mature, their understanding will mature as well.
Once it is memorized, did you require them to tell it to you again later? Can they now tell you all 100 verses? How long in one sitting does it take for one child to tell you all 100 verses? Yes, they currently have 103 verses memorized, and they are required to tell me all 103 (along with the references) daily. On a rough day, it usually takes each child about 30 minutes to get thru them.
What version/translation of the Bible did you use? Any specific reason as to that version/translation? We usually use the NKJV or the KJV. Sometimes Savannah’s Bible class teacher will assign her a verse to memorize, and I think she likes for the kids to memorize using the KJV, so that’s what we do for those verses. When her Bible class teacher assigns her a verse, then that’s the verse we work on for the following week.
How did you motivate your children in this? Did you ever get into a battle of the wills over memorization and how did you handle it? When we first started memorizing scriptures, I told my children that when they reached 50, I’d reward them by taking them to Chuck E. Cheese. They apparently thought this was a very good deal, because they did not require much more motivation than that. We kept all of our flashcards in a notecard box with Chuck E.’s picture on it. Once we reached 50, I made good on my promise. Over the summer, my children really wanted to go to Six Flags. I told them that Six Flags was rather expensive, but once they had memorized 100 verses, I would take them to Six Flags. When Six Flags opens in March, we will be taking our first trip there! Somedays my children aren’t so enthusiastic about saying their scriptures. On those days, Avery entertains herself by saying her scriptures with a foreign accent or even singing them at the top of her lungs. Although I think she is well aware that this drives me absolutely crazy, I try not to complain HOW she says them, just as long as she says them!
Did you ever get stuck or “fall off the bandwagon”? What did you do to get started again? The mere thought of them forgetting all of their scriptures after we’ve put that much work into learning them pretty much keeps me on the bandwagon.
Not everyone is good at memorizing, did one child have an easier/harder time than the other? What did you do to help the one struggling? I used to tell Avery that she was allowed 3 hints. Once her hints were used up, that’s all she got! This motivated her to think hard until the very end, and then usually she’d get down to the last 3, grin, and say, “Okay, I need my hints!” (I’m pretty sure that she really DIDN’T need them, but I gave them to her anyways.)
What scriptures did you chose for them to memorize? How did you go about choosing scriptures? I started out trying to find scriptures that would pertain to their youth or that they could easily relate to…”Let no one despise your youth…” (1 Timothy 4:12) or “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure and whether it be right.” (Proverbs 20:11), “Children obey your parents in the Lord…” (Ephesians 6:1-3),”Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth…” (Eccl. 12:1) “Do all things without complaining or disputing.” (Philippians 2:14), “And be ye kind to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32), etc. Sometimes I make them learn a particular scripture just so they can get a Biblical definition of something. (Q: What is “truth”? A: Thy word is truth. (John 17:17). Q: What is “death”? A: For as the body without the spirit is dead…(James 2:26) etc) Sometimes we learn verses regarding the plan of salvation, and sometimes we just learn verses that the Bible class teacher assigns. Sometimes the preacher quotes a scripture that I find rather profound, so I scribble it down in my Bible and when I get home I stick it in the “scripture box” for the kids to learn later. They’ve probably memorized more verses out of Proverbs than any other book. Once we started this whole process of memorizing scripture, I started requiring them to write down any familiar scripture that they heard the preacher use in a lesson, and then after the lesson was over they had to go and inform the preacher that they heard him use it, and then quote it to him. I cannot begin to emphasize how beneficial this has been to my children. They are more in tune with the lesson, and they know that if I hear the preacher say a verse that I know they know and they miss it, then I’ll know that they weren’t paying attention to the lesson! They get so excited when they hear the preacher quote (or even reference) a verse that they know! It’s my hope that this not only helps my children, but that it also encourages the preacher to know that they weren’t goofing off or coloring pictures during his sermon, but instead were paying close attention to the lesson that he worked hard to prepare.
Another thing that my children are fond of is a “game” where I ask them a question and they have to answer me with a scripture. And Sometimes we discuss various Biblical topics or even various religious ideas in our home where the scripture memorization has proved beneficial. For example, once I was explaining to my children that not everyone who claims to be a Christian believes that baptism is essential for salvation. Naturally my children began to object to this idea, so I told them, “Well, don’t give me your opinion, tell me where the Bible says that!” They went thru a mental list of their scriptures, and started spouting off Mark 16:16 and other scriptures that they know pertaining to baptism. This is where they start to learn to apply what they’ve memorized. Sometimes I will ask them, “What should I do if I need wisdom?” and they will answer, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him (James 1:5). Sometimes I will ask them, “How many faiths are there?” and they will respond with Ephesians 4:4-6. I think this little exercise helps them to reason and to “speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11)
What would you say to other parents that are considering this challenge? I would tell them that in the process of trying to “train up” their children, they may just find that they are training their own minds as well! It’s as simple as one verse a week, and it requires nothing but a Bible, a pen, and some notecards. It’s well worth the effort!
Can you share some of the scriptures you have memorized? Or a list to help us get started?
The list of scriptures is as follows (in no particular order):
1 Corinthians 15:33,
1 John 5:3,
1 John 4:15,
1 Timothy 4:12,
2 Timothy 2:15,
2 Timothy 1:7,
2 Timothy 3:16-17,
1 Samuel 12:24,
Psalm 23 (6 verses),
Psalm 100 (5 verses),
1 Thess. 5:22