We began Bible time with reading one chapter aloud followed by prayer. This takes about seven minutes. No kidding. We can all carve out seven minutes.
While we started with a good children’s Bible when the children were young, we transitioned to a real Bible as soon as possible. My favorite versions are the Geneva Bible for study notes and the English Standard Version for easy reading and accuracy. We took turns reading so each person became comfortable reading Scripture.
Once we were in the habit of reading aloud a chapter of the Bible each day, we added a Psalm. These poetic writings led us to worship. Proverbs was the next good addition. There are thirty-one chapters in Proverbs, one for each day of the month, and packed with wisdom for successful living and loving.
Eventually we were reading one chapter from the Old Testament, one from Psalms, the Proverb of the day, and a chapter from the New Testament. Another option is to read from a One-Year Bible, formatted to easily take you through the Bible in 12 months. If you fall behind, give yourself permission to take longer than a year. The goal is not speed but regular time together reading God’s love letter to your family.
The simple read aloud time frequently generated questions that led to lively discussions and stimulated additional research. The children posed some of their questions to the pastor.
First, we memorized the books of the Bible so we would become familiar with the what and where of the Bible. We recited the first five books three times in a row each day. When those flowed easily, we added the next five to the singsong we made up. Before long, all sixty-six books were committed to memory. To celebrate, each one who recited the books of the Bible was given a Bible of their own.
Favorite verses, passages, and chapters we memorized together, one verse at a time. Our favorite version for memorization is the New King James Version. The poetic wording is beautiful and easy to commit to memory.
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” Psalm 119:11 nkjv
During Bible time, we repeat a verse three times. When that verse is memorized, we add the next and say that one three times. There is no time pressure. Memorizing John 3:16 may take a week. It may take two.
When we had several passages memorized such as the Ten Commandments, John 1:1–14, and the Lord’s Prayer, we rehearsed each memorized portion once a week. This came after we spent several months memorizing the Ten Commandments one verse at a time, patted ourselves on the back for accomplishing this, and promptly forgot it.
Favorite Scriptures to memorize include:
- John 3:16
- John 1:1–14
- Exodus 20:1–17
- 1 Corinthians 13
- 2 Timothy 1:7
- Matthew 6:9–13
- Psalm 23
- Psalm 100
We added the Christmas story (Luke 2:1–20 and Matt. 2:1–15), the Easter story, and individual verses. When my children outgrew my continual oversight and were choosing their own reading material, films, and entertainment, I equipped them with a litmus test by which to select their materials: we memorized Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Here’s an example of our Scripture memory review schedule:
Monday Deuteronomy 6:4–9; The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9–13)
Tuesday 10 Commandments (Ex. 20:3–17); John 1:1–14
Wednesday Books of the Bible; Psalm 100
Thursday Christmas Story (Luke 2:1–20, Matt. 2:1–15)
Friday 1 Corinthians 13; Psalm 23