First through sixth graders at Hampton Lutheran all memorize Bible verses, prayers, or sections of Luther’s Small Catechism each week. While learning a new string of words each week may seem like a chore to your child (and you), we believe that exercising and expanding children’s memory is very important—especially memorizing important words of the Christian faith.
Here’s why we believe memory work is important for your child to do each week:
Memory work improves children’s ability to memorize.
In our ever-increasingly automated and technological world, we have less and less of a need to memorize things when you can just Google a word you don’t remember how to spell or who said a famous quote. Teaching kids how to memorize doesn’t just help them spiritually; it also strengthens their memory, which is useful to them in other school subjects and in life. For example, if kids learn how to memorize Bible verses, they can use that same thought process to also memorize spelling words or basic math equations.
Memory work lets kids practice reading fluency.
For good reason, the Bible is written at a notably higher reading level than elementary students are used to. By reading and memorizing Bible verses, your child is exposed to higher levels of grammar, language, and complex ideas. This helps to expand kids’ vocabularies and increase their reading and speaking fluencies. By memorizing Bible verses, your child will be better equipped to handle literature in all its forms later in life.
Memory work helps kids understand the Word.
It’s possible that kids have heard the verses they are memorizing many times from pastors, teachers, and parents throughout their lives. But without putting in the effort to memorize these verses themselves, children may not take the time to fully understand them. Without committing the words to memory, many kids might let them flow in one ear and out the other. To understand the Word, or to at least start a dialogue about what they don’t understand, it’s important that students study Bible verses and take them to heart through memorization.
Memory work guides kids through Scripture.
The Bible can be an intimidating book to read, especially if your child doesn’t have a religious background. Memory work in the classroom helps our teachers guide students through the Bible in a logical, comprehensive way.
In addition, students will work through Luther’s Small Catechism in the upper grades. Pairing catechism excerpts with relevant Bible verses each week helps your children both understand their Christian faith as a whole as well as the LCMS doctrine in which the school is firmly rooted.
Memory work gives kids comfort in times of need.
The Bible provides teaching, comfort, advice, and support throughout all 66 of its books. Taking God’s Word to heart changes our whole life perspective. Whether your child feels alone and scared or happy and thankful, there’s a Bible verse for that. Having those Bible verses can help kids feel like they’re not alone in their feelings.
Recalling such verses as Deuteronomy 31:6 in the midst of challenges gives the children a focus and a hope: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
With David, the Psalmist, we can joyfully proclaim that we have a reason to celebrate!
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100
Memory work is encouraged in the Bible.
Perhaps the best reason we ask students to memorize Bible verses is because the Bible itself encourages us to.
In Deuteronomy 11:18, God speaks directly about teaching children:
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul…you shall teach them to your children, talking of them when when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.”
Centuries later, when Paul writes to the Colossians, he tells them to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Even in the Psalms, David says this of a righteous man: “The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.”
God calls his children not only to read His Word, but to also take it to heart so they can teach it to others. At HLS, we hope that the Bible verses, prayers, and catechism sections your children learn in class will become a foundation for more fruitful learning and instruction in their years to come.