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The Best Strategies for Helping Children Memorize God’s Word

One of the great pleasures of parenthood is the privilege of introducing your kids to God’s Word. Even before they’re able to read, your kids can get to know Scripture in a powerful and lasting way. If they’re old enough to recite a nursery rhyme or sing along to a favorite song, your kids are old enough to memorize Bible verses.

As a parent, you have a golden opportunity to shape your kids’ earliest memories of the Bible. If you make it seem fun, interesting, important, and vital, you may establish in them a mindset that will last a lifetime.

Your first step is to create an atmosphere conducive to your kids’ learning styles.

Make up tunes to accompany the words of a verse. Take turns saying every other word in a passage—or play fill-in-the-blank. Recite a verse as a family before every meal and at bedtime. Draw pictures or symbols that help communicate the message of the verse. Use hand gestures as part of the memorization process. Award a gold star for every passage your kids learn.

Your second step is to give your kids the why behind the what.

Using language that’s easy for them to understand, explain why each verse is important to remember.

Your third, and perhaps most important, step is to choose the right verses to memorize.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

1. Jesus wept (John 11:35).

There’s nothing wrong with cherry-picking the shortest verse in the Bible as the first one for your kids to memorize. Not only will it give them a sense of accomplishment right out of the gate, but it will also help them recognize Jesus as someone who cried when He was sad.

Kid Running by tree2. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14).

Jesus didn’t just talk to grownups. He talked and played with and cared about little kids too—little kids who were just like your children.

3. Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity (1 Tim. 4:12).

Even kids can be an example. When others see a child doing good things, it will make them want to do good things. So, kids shouldn’t let anyone tell them that they’re not important just because they’re young.

4. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1).

Everything beautiful, good, and awesome that we see in the universe, in nature, and in people was created by God.

5. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Ps. 119:11).

When we have God’s Word in our memory and in our heart, it makes it harder for the devil to get us to do bad things.

6.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

God sent Jesus, His only Son, to die on the cross and rise from the dead so that we can live forever in heaven with Him.

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Thomas Nelson’s new NKJV and KJV Youth Edition Bibles are lightweight and easy-to-carry for the student on the go to church, school, and summer camp. The quality of the materials used to make these editions are a step up from the normal standard and, at an excellent price, these new youth edition Bibles make great gifts for birthdays, graduations, youth camps, or other special events.

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Four Bible Passages Every Parent Should Know

It may be a stretch to call the Bible the world’s first parenting book, but it’s no stretch to say that every parent can up his or her game by studying and applying the wisdom of Scripture. If you’re not sure where to begin your search for parenting wisdom, here are a few places to consider.

kid on a bike proverbs parenting1. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6).

 

How do you prepare kids for a life journey when you have no idea where that journey will take them? You train them to orient themselves according to God’s GPS. They may not always follow His directions to a “T,” but they’ll know when they’re off course. And they’ll know which direction to head to find the path they need.

2. Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).

 

“Do as I say” is a poor substitute for “Do as I do,” although it is a lot more convenient. It’s no small thing to tell your children to imitate you. To make it work, you must understand your strengths—and especially your weaknesses. You won’t set a perfect example, no matter how hard you try to imitate Christ. But it’s in your imperfections that you can really make a difference in your kids’ lives. If they see you working hard to get better—to become more Christlike in every area of your life—they’ll have a blueprint to follow in their own lives.

3. But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed (Titus 2:1-5).

 

The essential qualities of church leaders that Paul identifies in his letter to Titus can double as essential qualities for parents. Not all of them come naturally, but all of them are attainable through prayer and sustained effort. To master these qualities, we need to be self-aware. We need to recognize situations in which we tend to be irreverent or impatient. We also need an accountability partner (in the form of our spouse) to help us recognize when we fall short of the mark.

4. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).

 

Parental authority must be exercised wisely and judiciously. Paul warns against a heavy-handed approach to childrearing. Intimidation is not an effective parenting tool. Obedience without respect is an empty achievement—and a temporary one. Kids who are bullied into obeying will resent it eventually. As they get older, many will be provoked into anger and acting out.

In contrast, parental authority that incorporates humility, humor, empathy, transparency, and two-way communication is more likely to inspire respectful obedience in kids.

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Thomas Nelson’s new NKJV and KJV Youth Edition Bibles are lightweight and easy-to-carry for the student on the go to church, school, and summer camp. The quality of the materials used to make these editions are a step up from the normal standard and, at an excellent price, these new youth edition Bibles make great gifts for birthdays, graduations, youth camps, or other special events.

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Four Reasons to Give Your Teen a Bible

Getting their first bicycle, their first phone, and their first car has become a rite of passage for young people. Here are four compelling reasons why getting their first Bible should be included in that list.

man holding a light1. Young People Need a Light. 

The world can become a dark place for teenagers. The darkness usually descends first in shades of gray. Lines between right and wrong get blurred. Momentary lapses in judgment turn out to have long-term implications. Choices made in the heat of the moment come back to burn us.

What your kids need is what the psalmist had. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105). Turning the spotlight of God’s Word on the teenage landscape can illuminate paths that otherwise may not have been apparent to them. A little light can give them the confidence, courage, and vision to take bold steps. And when a light is shining in their lives, they can become a beacon to others.

2. Young People Need a Weapon.

When Satan tested Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus countered his attacks with the most powerful weapon in His arsenal: the Word of God. Three times Satan tried to tempt Jesus; three times Jesus quoted Scripture in response. Satan was powerless against it and eventually fled.

According to 1 Peter 5:8, the devil still “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Teenagers shouldn’t have to face such an enemy unarmed—not when they could be equipped with a weapon as powerful as God’s Word. The more familiar they are with what’s inside it, the better prepared they’ll be to resist temptation and work through doubts.

3. Young People Need a Refuge.

Every day, teens navigate a world of responsibilities, expectations, and distractions. They are bombarded with texts and posts from friends, acquaintances, advertisers, and strangers, all clamoring for their time, their attention, their “likes” and their dollars. With social media, their focus is pulled in countless different directions, 24-7.

These besieged teenagers need an escape from the chaos of daily life. A place where their soul can be fed. A quiet place where they can hear God’s voice. They can find such a place in Scripture, which assures us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1).

4. Young People Need a Pure Distillation of God’s Word.

Some kids may question the need for a physical Bible. After all, they can find any passage from any translation of Scripture with just a few keystrokes—much faster than turning the pages of a book. The problem is—because of a universe of online trolls and commentators with their own agendas—they can also find:

  • misquotes
  • misinformation
  • misinterpretations
  • misapplications
  • snide commentary
  • profane vitriol
  • inscrutable ramblings

Unless you’re standing over your kids’ shoulders every time they search Scripture, you have no way of knowing what they’re seeing. And while there may be a time and place for your kids to engage in such a forum, it’s not while they’re trying to find their spiritual legs.

In the Garden of Eden, the serpent began to wreak his havoc with four carefully chosen words: “Has God indeed said?” Seeds of doubt and skepticism, sown during a particularly vulnerable time, can have a devastating impact. When you give your teens a physical Bible, you can choose the translation and the commentary they read.

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Thomas Nelson’s new NKJV and KJV Youth Edition Bibles are lightweight and easy-to-carry for the student on the go to church, school, and summer camp. The quality of the materials used to make these editions are a step up from the normal standard and, at an excellent price, these new youth edition Bibles make great gifts for birthdays, graduations, youth camps, or other special events.

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How Do We Teach People About Easter?

The story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection will pique the curiosity of spiritual seekers this Easter season. The question for Jesus’ followers is how to make the most of the opportunity. How can we help people who know little more than the basics of the Easter story understand its full implications? Here are three ideas to get you started.

We Start in the Book of Exodus.

In order to convince Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to release the Hebrew people from slavery, God sent 10 plagues on Egypt. The tenth and final plague was the death of every firstborn child. The only way for people to escape the plague was to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and paint its blood on the doorposts of their homes. When the angel of death saw the blood of the lamb, it passed over that household. The event came to be known and celebrated as Passover.

Some 1,500 years later, God’s plan of salvation for the human race was unveiled—and it echoed the Passover in Exodus. The key to salvation was the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb—in this case, a perfect representative of the human race. The only way to escape the punishment of death for our sins was to figuratively cover ourselves with the blood of the sacrificial lamb.

We Emphasize That There Was No Other Way.

To people who are unfamiliar with the Bible story, the crucifixion may seem like the very definition of cruel and unusual punishment. They wonder, how could a loving God allow His Son to suffer like that?

The best place to start addressing those concerns is John 14:6. That’s where Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” There is no boast or pride in Jesus’ words. He is helping the world understand that only He can bridge the separation between God and humankind.

Sin created the separation. According to God’s plan, only a perfect sacrifice can pay the penalty for sin. But no human has ever been perfect, so God sent His only Son to take on human form and live a sinless life in order to become that sacrifice. Only Jesus’ sacrifice could satisfy God’s perfect justice and holiness. So the way to the Father spoken of in John 14:6 passed through the cross and the tomb.

Only Jesus was able to conquer sin by living an unblemished life. Only Jesus was able to conquer death by emerging from the tomb.

We Align Our Celebration with Scripture.

With so many profound spiritual truths to celebrate, we run the risk of confusing spiritual seekers by including something as frivolous as an imaginary bunny in our Easter traditions. The good news is that profound spiritual truths don’t always have to be celebrated in profound ways. You can have Easter fun with your kids while you focus on spiritual truths.

For example,

  1. Easter eggs, in the Christian tradition, represent Jesus emerging from the tomb—just as a bird emerges from an egg. You can make that connection more obvious by decorating eggs to reflect the biblical narrative. One person might paint a stick-figure scene of Jesus’ followers at His empty tomb. Others might paint the words “He is risen!” “Alive!” and “Rejoice!” on their eggs.
  2. You could plan an unconventional Easter egg hunt. Instead of filling plastic eggs with candy and prizes, fill all but one with cotton balls. Leave the last egg empty to represent Jesus’ empty tomb. The person who finds the empty egg gets a prize. After each hunt, you can switch the eggs and do another one. Afterward, talk about the women who found Jesus’ tomb empty (Mark 16:1–11).
  3. You could start a tradition of waking up at dawn for an Easter Sunday breakfast. You could use Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” as a wake-up device. Despite the earliness of the hour, foster an atmosphere of joy as you celebrate Jesus’ resurrection together.
  4. Have a contest to see which of your family members can come up with the most creative way to announce, “He is risen!” For example, one of you might fly an indoor drone, trailing a toilet-paper banner with the words written on it. Another might hang a banner from the staircase. Another might write the words in chalk on your driveway.

Help your family understand that profound doesn’t necessarily mean solemn.

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