There are many reasons.
Memorization comes naturally for children. They memorize easily, often effortlessly. And they will memorize something—either the philosophy of the world or the truth of the Word. Take advantage of this God-given ability for the benefit of your child’s spiritual awakening and growth. The window of opportunity is wide open for about 12 years. After that memorizing gets more difficult. That is, unless a child has been trained already in the habit of memorization.
Things learned early stick for life. What verses or poems can you recall easily? Likely they were learned in childhood. Though it is not impossible for adults to memorize, it gets harder as we age. In contrast, young children’s minds aren’t cluttered. Their brains are elastic and beg to be stretched. It is easy for most young children to memorize. Often they memorize entire books that have been read to them only a few times. If the habit of Bible memorization begins at a young age, and is encouraged, it will become as regular in their lives as brushing their teeth or making their beds. Once it is established as part of their routine, the habit will likely last a lifetime.
Memorizing Scripture provides children with an ever-present counselor and protector. Parents can’t always be with their children. But when the Word of God dwells in them richly, they are never alone. They have wise counsel with them at all times, counsel that is much more powerful than parents’ words. They have an ever-present shield of God’s Word to protect them from the inevitable attack of the enemy.
Children have real struggles. Their separation anxiety, fear of the dark, fear of storms, and encounters with playground bullies are every bit as real as an adult’s anxiety over work, pain in relationships, and fear of death. Children need God’s Word to guard their hearts and minds just like grown ups do.
The memorized Word is a means to loving God and obeying Him. When children see a biblical truth at work in a situation, and the Spirit impresses that truth on their hearts, a godly response is more likely to follow. What does your child do when someone speaks harshly to him? If he’s been memorizing verses like Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,” he may be moved by the Holy Spirit to speak gently. The more children memorize, the more passages the Spirit can bring to mind as He forms their consciences and awakens them to their need for God.
As people made in God’s image, children need to know what their Creator has said about who He is, who they are, and what He expects of them. One of the best ways to teach them these vital truths is through Scripture memory. By God’s design, that’s an activity well-suited to children.
A devotional for families, small groups, and individuals
76 Bible verses for toddlers and pre-readers