Thinking Out Loud

December 31, 2010

Whatever Happened to the Memory Verse?

My mom turned her head to the back seat, “…You’ve got your offering, right?”

“One dime, same as always.”

“And you know your memory verse?”

“Oh, oh!”

A quick leaf through the student manual and I found the verse, which I committed to memory in about 30 seconds.  Most of them, I still remember today…

…Fast forward to 2011…

…What happened to scripture memory?   My kids went through the Sunday School system and have emerged with a fairly accurate God-picture and understanding of basic theology — probably more than I at their age — but very little actual memorization accomplished.

Meanwhile, we have some friends whose kids are part of a national “quizzing” program that has involved memorization of entire chapters of Paul’s epistles; even the entirety of some shorter ones.    So perhaps it’s us;  we failed as parents in this respect.

Either way, I think the Christian book market is going to be very, very ready for Gary Smalley’s new book Guarding Your Child’s Heart:  Establish Your Child’s Faith Through Scripture Memory and Meditation.

I’m not on any kind of review list for NavPress — I don’t even think they do that sort of thing — but I thought this book deserves some highlighting anyway.  Here’s what they say about it…

Most people have 20,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. And for Americans, more than half of those thoughts are negative. So how do you teach your children to guard their minds and hearts in today’s society? The last thing you need is more parenting advice that proves futile.

Your beliefs strongly influence your thoughts, words, and actions, which in turn form your emotions. So the key to a high-quality life is to create powerful beliefs within your heart that control your behavior. You can think whatever thoughts you want, but what would happen if you mainly thought about the words Jesus told you to think about more than two thousand years ago?

Seasoned marriage and family relationship expert Dr. Gary Smalley clearly understands the frustrations of trying to defend your children from destructive cultural influences. In this interactive twelve-week companion workbook that accompanies the Guarding Your Child’s Heart DVD series, Dr. Smalley presents how-to steps, engaging questions, practical exercises, and fun activities to help the whole family memorize and meditate on key Scriptures and lead an enriching life of humility, love, and gratitude.

I can so easily picture grandparents buying this for parents.   For whatever reasons.   I think scripture memory has become a lost art.   So maybe, just maybe, it’s a lost art we need to recover.

There’s also a DVD for this to be used in a small group situation.

“A spiritual community that does not transmit its sacred writings to its children is one generation away from extinction.”



  1. I strongly agree scripture memory has became a lost art. Good information.

    Comment by Celebrate Recovery — December 31, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

  2. It would seem that in the majority of Churches Scripture memorisation is no longer practised – or if it is it is merely a “repeat after me” once or twice of a short verse which is not “pigeon-holed” for application.

    I have been involved for more than 30 years in a children’s and youth ministry which majors in Scripture memorisation – and which is presented in a form of systematic theology which assists not only in memorisation but in application. Teens and leaders commit to memorising whole chapters – and can still recite them years later.

    Isn’t this what the Bible teaches us to do?

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — January 1, 2011 @ 5:34 am

  3. Paul Wilkinson, Thank you very much for your review of GYCH. This product hits the book stores in mid January, 2011. I can’t wait to see how parents respond to what I’ve been learning about memorizing Christ’s words and many other Scripture verses. Jesus told us that when His Words abide within us, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. I’m finding that when God’s words take over our heart, the truth does indeed set us free. Pray with me that Christ’s commands start filling more and more of our parents and their kid’s hearts. Gary Smalley

    Comment by Gary Smalley — January 1, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  4. I just started the book GYCH. Finishing the first part “Do I have a plan?”, I was left hanging. I figured out I may not have a plan and there wasn’t a example of a plan for me to decide if I had one or not. After reading this section, I do not know if I’ll be working on a plan through the book or if I have to continue to wonder what a plan would be.
    I’ll just keep working on the book and helping my kids memorize scripture. That part should be good and challenging.

    Comment by J Bolen — March 22, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

  5. […] Related post: What Happened to the Memory Verse? […]

    Pingback by Generation Lost | Christianity 201 — January 6, 2014 @ 5:51 pm

  6. […] previously written about the decline in scripture memory, and how this can be seen as a barometer of the spiritual health of the church. This is part of the […]

    Pingback by The Watches of the Night | Christianity 201 — July 25, 2016 @ 5:31 pm

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