Scripture Memory Tips

What a beautiful morning in Houston! Curt’s parents arrived from Missouri last night and they’re on a walk with our very happy dog and very happy child. The house is nice and quiet, giving me the perfect chance to check in to Siestaville.

A few days ago I read a comment from one of our siestas asking for some advice. I thought it was too good a topic to get buried in the comments, so I saved it for a post. Check out this question from Kathy Pink Bicycle Arkansas:

Can I ask a favor/help of all my siesta’s? I teach 5th grade Sunday school and for the first time I am having a very difficult time with them learning their verse and bringing their Bibles. I’ve tried bribery, candy, small prizes…..any suggestions? What works for you? Please help. Thanks!

I am just starting to work on a couple of (very simple) verses with Jackson. My friend and co-worker, Jen, started out doing Scripture memory with her son during bathtime. I’ve found that to be a great time too because my little monkey is contained! So I’m also very interested to hear your tips. If you have advice for Scripture memory with big kids or small kids, we’d love to hear it!


199 Responses to “Scripture Memory Tips”

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  1. 151
    Anonymous says:

    We are blessed to have a wonderful program called Bible Quizzing in Michigan. This year they are memorizing most of the book of Luke. Yes, I said the book of Luke. I always play the chapters they need to memorize when we are in the car. I didn’t realize how much my 4 year old was learning too, until she shouted out a verse during a quiz. A quiz is a competition with 3 teams of 3 kids. Questions come directly from scripture. Anyway, I would suggest the Bible on CD or Hide ’em in your Heart. If you are interested in Bible Quizzing you can check out the World Bible Quizzing web site at

    Cindy in MI

  2. 152
    beyond this moment says:

    Someone asked about Bible Markers… I use the crayola twistables (thin version). They don’t tear the page like some colored pencils do and they don’t bleed through.

    As for scripture memory for 5th graders? When I was in fifth grade we played games. My favorite was when the leader would yell out a word and we would have to recite a verse using that word (with reference).

  3. 153
    Audrey says:

    my children always loved it when i made up a song to the verses.

  4. 154
    Dawn Norman says:

    Hi, Amanda! My daughter Allie is about the same age as Jackson. She’s 31 mos. right now. We started Awana early since I’m a leader and she’s great at memorizing and I wanted to feed that even more. When I was talking to a very wise older friend who is like a second mother to me about potty training frustrations, she mentioned how she used the time sitting on the potty waiting for something to happen to teach Bible verses to her son. It sparked something in me and while we still haven’t mastered potty training 6 mos later, she does know quite a few memory verses and can still recite them all if you give her the first word. We were using the Foundation pack verses from (John Piper’s ministry) before Awana started. Very inexpensive and a great tool with a picture to go with each verse too.
    I’ve really been pressed upon in the last few days with remembering that it’s NOT just a task to be completed and checked off. It should be a way to pass down my passion and excitement about God to her, and if that’s real in me, she’ll see it and learn it too. God help me, please! I pray for her heart to fall in love with Him! So I was so tickled pink just two days ago when she started shouting at lunch, “God! God! I yuv (love) God! I yuv Him!” Praise the Lord! She heard me retell that to her Daddy when he came home and Grandma and….you get the idea!
    Find something that works for your child/class and let them see your passion and excitement for God !

  5. 155
    jo says:

    I recommend bible verses set to music. My girls loved the Steve Green Hide ‘Em In Your Heart CD’s (they were only on cassette when mine were young!) My now 18 and 20 year old girls still cringe, then crack up and join in when I break into singing…’Do everything without complaining’

  6. 156
    Sharron says:

    My daughter-in-law uses driving time to and from school or short trips to grocery or Wal Mart for scripture memory work. It works great and is so refreshing to hear our 6 and 4 yr old grands receiting scripture! I can truly say that the verses I learned “many” years ago in Bible School and at home as a child are the very ones I still remember today. As I get older, it is harder to memorize anything, so starting them young is a “treasure” we MUST hold dear and practice daily!

    Hartselle, Al.

  7. 157
    Becky says:

    Our children’s church curriculm adds some sort of action or pose with the words in the verse. “Be Strong in the Lord”.. has the kids flexing their muscles and then pointing to heaven.

  8. 158
    Alison says:

    Growing up my sister and I listened to a LOT of Bible Scripture cassette tapes (Psalty, GT and the Halo Express, and one with Sandi Patty and all lots of the love verses in the Bible, etc). Also when my sister and I were in the AWANA program and were memorizing scripture, my mom would help us out by writing out the scripture and placing drawings in it for the words that could be in Picture-form. It worked well!

  9. 159
    Joni says:

    To help 5th graders learn memory verses and bring their Bibles to class, ask THEM what incentives and rewards should be given to those who do. Make a list with them, and they’ll be more inclined to meet the goals ya’ll set together because they had a part in it. Also, when I taught 5th graders in S.S. for a year several years ago, they loved crossword puzzles, word searches, and fill-in-the-blanks. These can help them learn their verses, too.

  10. 160
    Melissa says:

    How about offering a “date” with YOU as the reward for the ones who do XYZ within a period of time?

  11. 161
    Mommy Dot Com says:

    With my children we play a game where I’ll say most of the verse but leave one word out so my children can fill in the blank. Example: “I can do all things through Christ who ________ me”. They would say “strengthens”.I do it so often and with so many verses throughout their lives that they’ve learned a lot. I have also done this with my Sunday school classes. All the children seem very eager to fill in the blank. It’s like a race to get it out of their mouths fast enough. Some kids say the right thing and others miss but then I’ll do it again unexpecedly throughout class. By the end of class they would all have it memorized.

  12. 162
    Michelle Bentham says:

    For those asking for a pen that does not mark through the page in your Bibles, the new Sharpie pens, not markers but pens work great. I have them in Black, Blue, Red and Green. For marking Scripture they are great. The highlighters I use that do not bleed are also the Sharpie brand. They are called Accent highlighters. They have a fine tip set for writing underlining or a broad tapered tip set for underlining and highlighting.

    They work well. A set of five highlighters in yellow, green orange, pink and blue is about $6-7 at the office supply, and the pens are between $5-6 at the office supply.

    They last about 3-4 months with continuous use.


  13. 163
    Kari says:

    I sing the scripture verse to a very silly made up tune. I dance to the tune too. (Yep, we do all sorts of crazy things as moms don’t we?) The kids really get into the beat and dance. Later when I ask them the verse and they need a hint all I need to do is hum the tune and they usually can get it right away.

    Washington State

  14. 164
    karilynn says:

    Our kids are in Awana and so we are needing to learn verses every week. This year we are trying something different and it is working awesome! They go to bed at 8:00 and then we allow them to work on their memory verses (while in bed) for about 10 minutes before they turn out the lights. They love it because it extends lights out and I love it because it is the last thing on their minds at night!! When we tuck them in we quiz them on their verses too.

  15. 165
    Bold in Him says:

    Hi Amanda,

    I am a 5th/6th grade Director on staff at our church, and have been for 5 years, worked with this age group for 7 years. You are half way through your 5th grade year and this age group will change after Christmas and start to act more like young Jr Highers…. bribery at this stage, at least what I have found, no longer works, this is the age kids start to think why am I doing this what purpose does it serve me… I have found that when you make the Bible and Scripture personal, and relational… meaning how on earth does it apply to them on their level, and the leaders in your group must be personal and relational as well with the kids, then they begin to do it on their own.
    This age is truly trying to decide if they think church is worth it or not, or if scripture means anything to them personally or not. But, everything has to relate to them and what they are going through. In the age of Video game madness and how much they have already been esposed to, kids this age can see right throgh you and dont want to have any part of you treating them as if they were still in 4th grade….

    I have loads of resources for this age group and worked directly under the man and wife pastoral team that wrote the book on “Pre-Teen” Ministry… and I love to share.

    you are welcome to email me directly [email protected] if you have any more questions…


  16. 166
    lac4mom says:

    It seems your issue with the fifth graders is a parenting issue as much as anything else. Perhaps a postcard or an e-mail to the parents earlier in the week reminding them to have their children bring their Bibles will be helpful. Sadly, even with fifth graders, many parents take so much responsibility away from their children, they are older now when they begin to develop it. (That topic is a post on its own!)Reminding the parents makes them as responsible as the child, which will hopefully get the child in the habit. The game ideas are great, and by incorporating the verses from previous weeks, it will develop more memory of the scriptures.

  17. 167
    Anonymous says:

    I found teaching Sunday School, that kids need a reminder during the week. We get caught up in school, sports, and activities that sometimes they don’t even think of it until Sunday Morning. So, a card or note during the week helped. Also, if you are none musical like me, and sometimes 5th graders are embarrassed to sing, try making it a rap, or doing the verse to one of those ‘hand clap slap’ beats that especially girls like to do.

  18. 168
    tealovingmom says:

    What an AWESOME post! I love, love, love reading all the helpful tips!

    I agree that Scripture to music is a great tool. I liked your bathtub idea, too! I also like to go over Scripture verses in the car for the same exact reason (the monkeys are contained!) Also, bedtime (during snuggling, stories, etc.) is a good time to go over verses. For whatever reason, that time of day-when everything slows down and they are more quiet and focused-is a good time to have them memorize something! Things stick more (with my kids, anyway!)

    Happy Halloween, everyone!
    Have a blessed day!
    In Him,

  19. 169
    katiegfromtennessee says:

    OOoo, I have to use these tips for my nephews and niece, and maybe, if the Lord so blesses and gifts me-my children:)

    Lovin’ my Sisteren-Siestaville:)


  20. 170
    nedlami says:

    I didn’t have time to read through all the other comments, so I don’t know if someone suggested this. This summer we used hand gestures to help our pre-k children and I was impressed how the kids were able to remember the next day…and when they did get stuck, we would gesture and then they would remember. One that I thought was impressive was Ps. 90:2 “…from everlasting to everlasting You are God.” We had them bring their one hand up like a rainbow from their belly and land palm side up to the right and then the other up to the left for everlasting and then point up for the You are God part. I was shocked the next day when we would just simply start the motion and could see the light come on and they would shout “everlasting.” Sometimes it’s tricky to come up with the gesture, but God is faithful and typically comes up with something.

  21. 171
    Christy@pipandsqueak says:

    I did a post about this a few weeks ago. My daughter is the same age as your son. I had a lot of input on products that people bought, CD’s and books. now my assignment is to be diligent to use them.
    Adventures of Pip and Squeak: Scripture memory additions
    Adventures of Pip and Squeak: Scripture memory update

  22. 172
    Anonymous says:

    Amanda…. I just wanted to toss out an easy Bible Study for the holiday season… It starts on Nov 1…. it’s called “Preparing My Heart for Advent” by Ann MArie Stewart… It is a study every day throught the month of November and then a parallel devotion through the month of December. I finished my first day in about 20 minutes and you can do by yourself or with a group…no video…. Thanks hope someone enjoys it!! Stephanie S

  23. 173
    Anonymous says:

    i didn’t read all of the comments, so please forgive me if someone already said this, but there’s a book called ABC Bible Verses – Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts by: Susan Hunt. i have done them with my little girl. she turned 3 at the beginning of september and has already memorized 6 verses. she KNOWS them too! they have stories that go along with the verses, so it helps to apply the verse. also, i’ve been reading Don’t Make Me COunt To Three by: ginger plowman, and it basically emphasizes training their hearts. it’s “a mom’s look at heart-oriented discipline”, and it has been wonderful for me and my daughter. trust me, i say these verses over and over to her, and she knows them. one more thing, when i was younger, i thought it was so fun to find the verses that i would hear in songs, so the 5th grade ss teacher could have kids listen to a certain praise song, and then have the kids find the verse(s) in the bible…kind of like a game, and then since it’s music, it will be easier to memorize…just a thought.

    i can’t agree more with nikki though, we have to instill a love, reverance and awe for God’s word, which means we must talk about it ALL the time.

    I know God will bless us and our kids for it!!

    houston, tx

  24. 174
    Piano Jenni says:

    We sing them – and I use familiar tunes so we don’t have to memorize that, too. I found the alphabet verses from Abeka at the homeschool store for a $1! We have been on this project with my 6 and 4 year old girls and sing them as we eat breakfast. I think my 1 yr old is catching on, too. Jenni in Houston

  25. 175
    Anonymous says:

    Moore girls!
    I was reading back over past blogs and was wondering if Mary Byrne Smith was ever found. I don’t remember an update of her being found.


  26. 176
    Kathleen in TX says:

    My kids and I love the “God Rocks Bible Toons” CDs. They are scripture verses from the NIV version (they are also a cartoon series on Saturday mornings. I am memorizing them right along with my kids!

  27. 177
    Anonymous says:

    Amanda – try asking them to sing the verses to you in their favorite tune to show off their God given music talents for Jesus…….and may the best song get a huge chocolate!

    Beth Morton = KINGS CHILD, North Carolina

  28. 178
    valerie in TX says:

    I’m sorry if this is a repeat…I didn’t have time to read through all 168 answers! My idea might not be the best for use with a Sunday School class, but for our family’s personal scripture memorization, we have what we call a “dinner verse”. I write a verse on an index card, and it stays on our dining room table all the time. Every night when we sit down for dinner (you could do it at breakfast too, but we don’t all eat breakfast together) we say the “family dinner verse” together before we eat. When we are starting a new verse, we take time to talk about the verse and explain what it means. This has worked really well for my kids (5 and 8), plus it gets mom and dad in on it too.

  29. 179
    Erica says:

    I enjoy putting the scripture to tunes my girls already know. Check out some of them on my blog if you get a chance. I love to hear them singing the verses and I learn them right along with them.

  30. 180
    Brenda says:

    Our youth minister is having the same issue with trying to get the kids to bring their bible to church. He made a great point by saying that they wouldn’t go to school without their textbooks, so why come to church without your bible?! Also, monthly, or quarterly meetings with the parents helps. Let them know your goals and that scripture memorization is VERY important, especially with these preteens. (they have huge issues they will be facing.)

  31. 181
    jennyhope says:

    hey y’all I was wondering if you could do a post to see if any siestas are going to New Orleans for the Breaking Free taping.

  32. 182
    jennyhope says:

    For myself I get out paper and write a verse over and over and over. Then when I can say it out loud without looking I add the next verse and write both of them over and over. Kind of like writing sentences in school. With my child we keep verses at the table and we read them before we eat and etc. I also am a huge fan of index cards (for me).
    For example with Morgan we have gates all around the house because if she roams free much the child will destroy the house. So when she starts wanting in the kitchen she will swing on the gate and I will tell her these verses every time to use something tangible to teach her a scripture (since it refers to gates):
    Psalm 24:7-10
    7 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.

    8 Who is this King of glory?
    The LORD strong and mighty,
    the LORD mighty in battle.

    9 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
    lift them up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.

    10 Who is he, this King of glory?
    The LORD Almighty—
    he is the King of glory.

  33. 183
    PamN says:

    Yolanda, I have used a mechanic type pencil that has 8 colored leads in it. You advance the color you need. I think it is made by Pentel. It does not bleed through since it is not wet. Hope you can find it. Try Kay Arthur’s web site or amazon.

  34. 184
    Ginger says:

    Man I typed this long, detailed comment then I messed it up somehow, so here I go again.

    To sum up, memorization is only part of the process. Often, if we are not careful to get these verses deep within our spirits, we’ll forget them along the way. I know I have.

    The song thing sounds great for little ones. I know it works for learning the books of the bible, and this stuff even helps me… ha!

    But, you can’t exactly teach someone how to get His word in their heart, especially a little one, let alone a teen or tween.

    I am still learning and hope to do better in that category!!

    Thanks for the forum ladies,

  35. 185
    Rebecca says:

    Amanda,Mellisa, and Beth, have an urgent prayer request for you about my little brother, i ask that you all pray and all are fellow siestas pray! Here it is….

    PRAY PRAY PRAY!!!!!!!!
    As some of you know my brother and his girlfriend are pregnant! but sadly it has taken an awful turn! my sister wrote this…..

    “Many of you know my little brother Will (18) and his girlfriend Grace (17) are pregnant. Unfortunately, she comes from a non-christian background, and has tremendous pressure from her family to get an abortion. My brother is in so much pain over this. He desperately wants to save the baby’s life, and raise him or her, but Grace refuses to take his opinions into consideration. She has waivered back an forth on her thought the past few weeks, but Friday her mother took her to planned parenthood and Grace has decided to get the abortion. She has an appointment set for this coming Friday. I met with her Thursday for 3 hours and tried my best to convince her otherwise. As of then, she said she wanted to keep the baby. But, her mother has too strong of a voice, and had an abortion herself. She is trying her best to protect Grace, but cannot see the severe consequences about to take place. Not only this, but my brother and I are the only pro-life voices Grace hears. As of yesterday, her step dad confronted my brother and threatened to sue me on the grounds of harassment if I contacted Grace again and put “more of those thoughts” in her head. He also threatened my brother as well. Because my brother is 18, and Grace is a minor, he is susceptible to legal ramifications should the parents decide to press charges. Needless to say, Grace needs all our prayers. I know deep inside her she longs to keep the baby. She shared her heart with me, yet has no courage to stand up against her family. Her parents refuse to let her have an ultrasound before the abortion. I asked if she would go with me this week, and she says she doesn’t want to “see it”. Grace knows there is a life inside her, but with no relationship with the Lord, and a family so adamant about this abortion, that little life is hanging by a thread. Grace needs courage, conviction, and most importantly to be surrounded by the Holy Spirit. We need a miracle. Please pray for Grace, the baby and my brother this week. I will let everyone know what happens Friday. PRAY HARD! Thanks for your support!”

  36. 186
    Anonymous says:

    For older kids and adults; have them write down the first letter of the word ex. fGsltwtHgHobS (for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son). Use correct puncutation and let them “cheat” with the letters until they can say it without. A great way to memorize lengthy scriptures! In a Sunday school class you could even have the letters on a board, erase as you repeat.

  37. 187
    lespitts says:

    I like the cd’s you can get from any bible/book store that is full of scriptures set to music with kids singing them. My three year old only wants to listen to that when we are in the car, and learned some of them in only a week! Since it is set to music, I am memorizing them too! I suggest these for any age person!!!

  38. 188
    Anonymous says:

    I teach 3 & 4 yr olds on Wednesday nights in AWANAs.
    I get the kids to say the verses over an over again doing different things such as shouting it, whispering, standing on one foot, touching their toes, etc. I also learned out of exasperation one night while working with a little one to use hand motions while saying the verse. This little one really lit up after we began doing hand motions with the words to the verses. I also do this with my son who is 6 and he seems to like the hand motions as well. We also put verses to some kind of tune and it seems to help them remember the verses, too!

  39. 189
    Vicky says:

    Hello Sweet Amanda!
    Your friends, Catha & Crista, learned a lot of scripture with Psalty praise songs with music. We always said we could teach Crista anything if we put it to music…she could learn the words immediately. I'm hoping we can teach Parker the same way.

  40. 190
    Tammie says:

    i didn’t have time to read thru the comments and these may have already been mentioned…anyway, just in case.

    Put motions to the key words in the verse, sign language or other. And singing the words works for some. As for bringing the bible to class…try this.

    Get some party poppers (works with older kids better, younger kids got startled) and let them, if they brought their bible, put one inside where your verse for the day is located. Close the bible! When you talk about how powerful the Word is, then let them pull the string. (We had to add length to the strings so that they would hang out of the bottom of the bible.)

    My prayer for our kids was for them to grasp in the spirit the excitement they were experiencing in the physical.

    Yeah, go God!

  41. 191
    sisinchrist says:

    Amanda, get the parents involved if possible. My 10 yr old granddaughter recited 5 last night at Awanas. She loves quoting scripture to me. She also likes to ask what MY scripture memory verse is. We quote scripture driving down the road, at the dinner table and my favorite, we sing them. We make up tunes to Bible verses.

    Have an abundant day in Christ!

  42. 192
    Joanne says:

    My husband taught our 4/5th grade Bible study class for years. He threatened push ups for his kids, and as crazy as it sounds, they loved it!

    Not many forgot their Bibles either!!

  43. 193
    Andrea says:

    Hi –
    This doesn’t technically fit with this post, but I thought you ladies might like to check out this blog:

    It seems like such a beautiful thing to do and ties in with the importance of writing out Scripture prayers on index cards.

    (The rest of this blog is amazing, too!)

  44. 194
    Bev K says:

    My daughter is so great at this. She teaches her boys verses using actions. Sometimes her imagination is stretched ie: “…in all Thy ways ACK-knowledge Him (Palms up fingers splayed for ACK)
    The boys have learned so many verses this way – they are now 4 and 6. Putting the verses to a tune also works well. Kyle (4 years old) phoned me up and sang his verse to me yesterday to the tune of Frere Jaques.

  45. 195
    Lisa Hardman says:

    When my twin boys, Ben and Jacob were 2 (they are now 9 and we have a 2 year old daughter, Brady Grace) We began a once a year family verse for every year of their lives (with hand motions and easy to remember language). We want them learning much scripture, but have picked one per year to cement into their thinking for use in any emergency! Teaching them with words they can use, apply, and run to! We begin praying and talking about what God will show us for the next year, and it’s such a wonderful family tradition! Our verses so far include: 1. Hebrews 13:8-Jesus is the same today, yesterday, and yes forever 2. Phil 4:13-I can do all things through Jesus who strengthens me 3. Deut 6:5 -Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might 4. John 15:5 -apart from Jesus you can do nothing 5. Hebrews 11:6 – without faith you can’t please God 6. Romans 10:17- faith comes from hearing the word of God 7. John 14:6 Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me 8. 1 Cor 10:31-32 – Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the Glory of God; Do not cause any of these little ones to stumble 9. Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths! We can’t wait to see what HE shows us for year 10! In Christ, Lisa Hardman Prattville, Al

  46. 196
    Anonymous says:

    I don’t know if this has been posted yet, but I found a great method at summer camp with my elementary-school aged daughters last year. The leader made a poster with sticky notes attached. Each sticky note had a single word from a scripture passage. The kids all read the verse together a few times, then the leader turned around and removed a couple of sticky notes. Then the kids had to read the verse again including the words that were removed. She continued that, removing one or two each time, and finally there was a blank poster, but the kids could still recite the entire verse. I won’t say that every child memorized the whole thing, but each was at least very familiar with that passage! I was impressed at how well it worked.

    Carol in Georgia

  47. 197
    Jen says:

    For the memoriztion, try writing each word of the verse on a sepearate card. You can all work together to get it in the right order. THEN one at a time, take words out. Each time you remove 1 word, say then ENTIRE thing out loud. Then take out another one! The kids like the challenge of trying to remember the missing word, and from my experience, they “fight” over which word would be the hardest to remove! After they get the hang of it you can take out 2 or 3 words at a time. By the time you’re done, you’ve probably said the verse at least 8-10 times.
    For bringing Bibles to church–I know we always did “Sword Drills” when I grew up, and I’ve done them successfully with kids recently. Everyone has to start with their Bible closed. Then you call out a scripture reference, and the first one who finds it wins, or gets a point, however you want to do it. You could do best out of 5 or 10 or however you have time for. Maybe it could be a monthly competition or something. They love the competition, and if only the kids who bring their Bibles can play, maybe it would get more of them to bring them. Just some thoughts. 🙂

  48. 198
    absmith74 says:

    My 5 year old and I have always made up a little song for his verses. Even if we don’t use notes, we will just develop a rhythm with the words. He loves it and retains some verses that he learned two years ago!

  49. 199
    thomas sabo sale says:

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