17 January 2010

Memorizing in context-learning scripture with your family

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."-Psalm 119:11

Grace and I just finished reading John's Gospel together. As we would finish reading sections, I would ask her what she thought of the section. Often her insights were much deeper and more accurate than I would have thought for a 9 year old. At other times, she expressed confusion. I was most impressed that a school-age child can absorb scriptures in forms other than a cartoonish book. At the same time, I have thought about making Bible memorization meaningful. Despite the fact that she possesses a remarkable memory, she is not particularly motivated to memorize God's word. I think the reasons behind this are two-fold: 1) she does not see the benefit of memorizing individual bits of scripture for memorization's sake and 2) most of the time, she does not actively see me working on memorization because I work on it before she is awake. (Habits are caught, not taught).

So as we move forward in our evening quiet times, I have a plan in mind. Each week, we will work together on memorizing one verse of scripture, reviewing it each night.

Day 1-We will read the verse together. I will ask Grace what she thinks the verse means. Then we will read the verse again several times.

Day 2-I will ask her what she remembers of the verse, and will correct whatever needs to be corrected. Then we will read the verse in context, reading the surrounding chapter. This will help to establish the meaning behind the verse.

Day 3-Today we can start with her quizzing me and she can correct me. We will briefly review the story we discussed the previous day and talk about the meaning of the story in its historic context.

Day 4-Review the scripture again. Talk about the scripture in our current context and how it could apply today.

Day 5-Review the scripture again. Ask her now, after 5 days, what she thinks the verse means.

Days 6 & 7-Review, Review, Review.

I pray that this approach will help both of us to learn scripture more deeply, apply it to our lives, and avoid proof-texting.

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