Bible Memory for Young Children

Andy Naselli —  March 2, 2011 — 22 Comments

Jenni and I are frequently amazed at how easily our two-year-old daughter, Kara Marie, memorizes things. It’s amazing. So we’re trying to harness some of her brainpower by memorizing the Bible.

Jenni has taught Kara dozens of verses, and we’re using some additional resources to help these verses stick long-term. Texts in song are remembered long, so memorizing Scripture with music is especially helpful (though some of the songs mentioned below may be more “bumpy” than some prefer).

By the way, children are not the only ones who benefit from Scripture put to song. Dads and moms do, too! We frequently find ourselves meditating on verses like “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” or “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God.’

1. Foundation and Fighter Verses (Children Desiring God)

  • Foundation Versesare strategically chosen Bible verses for children preschool through age five.”
    • The verses are available on little flashcards with a picture on one side and the verse and verse reference on the other.
    • Eleven of the 68 verses are put to music, and those MP3s are available for free.

  • Fighter Versesare “designed for school-age children through adults.”
    • All the verses are available as an app for the iPhone-iPad and Android.
    • The passages are available on flashcards.
    • The verses in sets D and E (including the entire Sermon on the Mount from Matt 5–7) are put to music on two CDs (samples 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Some of these songs are a bit cheesy (e.g., there’s a Frank Sinatra impersonator), but putting Scripture to music like this can be so helpful for memorizing.

2. Hide ‘Em in Your Heart (Steve Green)

The DVDs are corny (probably very stylish in the 1980s), but the songs are clear, catchy, and singable.

3. Questions with Answers and Songs for Saplings (Dana Dirksen)

A mother and her children sing Bible verses and Q&A taken from a digest of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Stephen Hildebrandt’s The Catechism for Young People). Some are more catchy than others (e.g., “How can you glorify God,” sample 3 here).

4. Seeds Family Worship

The music is louder and the words are harder to understand in these albums than those above. But some songs are memorable.

—–

5. Hide the Word (Mark Altrogge, Forever Grateful Music)

Mark Altrogge, senior pastor of a Sovereign Grace Church in Pennsylvania, has set 182 Scripture passages to 9.1 hours of music. The genre is similar to Sovereign Grace Music, which has published several of Altrogge’s songs.

6. Hidden in My Heart: A Lullaby Journey through Scripture (Jay and Trina Stocker, BreakAway Music)

These two CDs are nice for playing when you put your child down for sleep. Mellow. (The translations vary from KJV to NLT to NKVJ to NIV.)

From the back covers of each volume:

One out of every ten Hidden In My Heart CDs is donated to Crisis Pregnancy Centers around the country. BreakAway Music strongly supports the ministry efforts of these centers.

7. Ask Me WhoOo: The Children’s First Catechism; Word-for-word and Set-to-music (Diana Beach Batarseh)

Diana Batarseh, a member of Scotty Smith’s PCA church in Franklin, TN, uses a catechism that the PCA uses for children. It updates Joseph Engels’s The First Catechism, which Engels adapted in the late 1800s from the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Diana puts 150 questions and answers into 74 melodies that she sings with her children; Diana asks the questions, her children sing the answer, and each melody ends with someone quoting related Scripture. The Q&A is much more explicit in its covenant theology than the Questions with Answers songs (above), so some parents may want not want to use all of the tracks.

8. Rain for Roots

Big Stories for Little Ones: more info | sample entire album

Are there other Bible-memory resources you would recommend?

22 responses to Bible Memory for Young Children

  1. One that I would recommend and has received alot of praise is Jami Smith’s recent album entitled Verse. It is all Scripture put to music. It was inspired by her nephew and newborn, to fill their rooms with the word of God. It is a great album for kids and parents alike. You can check it out here.

    verse

  2. Thanks, Ryan. Is that you singing in Track 11: “Arise Shine”?

  3. We love Songs for Saplings, too! It’s what we’ve been playing in our car for several months, and it was helpful for our 1-year-old who didn’t previously like riding in the car, and our 3-year-old who likes music but isn’t that musical yet. She might not be able to sing it, but she can quote it! And it’s helped the adults in the car learn lots of Scripture…and now have tunes playing in our head, too. :)

    Thanks for the resource list.

  4. WOW! I had no idea so much free audio was out there for Scripture memory! Thank you! I’ll be downloading these fighter verses tonight! Thank you so much for letting us all know about these great resources!

  5. Michelle Weller March 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Our family loves The Memory Bible.

    It is narrated by Kirk Cameron, and it has a short devotion based on the Scripture verse. Then the verses are set to music with catchy, kid-friendly tunes.

  6. Thanks for the list. We recently bought some music from this site. Songs are definitely a great way to learn Scripture passages.

    We also sometimes play an audio drama version of the New Testament for the kids to listen to when they are going to sleep at night, and it’s neat to hear some of the questions that our five-year-old has the next day.

  7. The verses each week at http://www.fighterverses.com/ are also put to music. Look for the “Music” link to listen or download. Music is a great way to store God’s Word in your heart!

  8. Thanks, Beth. I didn’t realize that. Is there a way to download MP3s for all the fighter verses? Or are the downloads available only weekly?

    Update: It looks like there are music MP3s for only weeks 1—9 for set 1.

  9. Here is my favorite scripture cd’s. They are produced by the Harrow family. http://www.singtheword.com The best ones are when he sets an entire Psalm to music.

  10. Andy, if you want Children’s DVDs, you really, really need to try Colin Buchanan’s stuff. http://www.colinbuchanan.com.au/

  11. Colin Buchanan’s stuff is excellent.

    His version of Isaiah 53:6 and Romans 6:23 are outstanding.

    The album you want is Boom Chicka Boom.

    Thanks for the list!

  12. Amanda Farrelly March 3, 2011 at 2:44 am

    I second the Colin Buchanan recommendation. His songs are so good you will hear them in your head as you read the bible passage they come from.

    He has two albums full of memory verses—BAA BAA DOO BAA BAA and Boom Chicka Boom (iTunes)—but all his kids music is worth checking out.

  13. Nils Holmgren March 3, 2011 at 4:55 am

    @Mike – I was about to say … Colin is a genius. My kids are crazy about his stuff.

  14. My favorite scripture memorization resource is from http://www.forevergratefulmusic.com. The quality of the music produced for the particular passage is the best I have heard. Every song repeats the selected passage three times and includes the scripture reference as part of the song. There are 9 different Hide the Word albums.

  15. Hey, Andy, yeah, that’s me. Shameless plug I guess but love being able to get the word out about this album, to help people know, memorize, and love the Word.

    Thanks for the list you provided. We have one of the Steve Green albums and it is a hit.

  16. Andy, Eventually all the songs will available on iTunes, but probably not until the end of the year. In the meantime, you can download them all for free, but only one-at-a-time.

    We’ve made the songs available as collections in the past, but since we’ve tweaked the five-year set of verses, some new songs are in the works.

    Thanks!

  17. Hi Andy, thanks for writing about Songs for Saplings. We’re just about (less than two weeks from now) to release Dana’s 5th CD, Songs for Saplings: 123.

    It’s twenty songs, 1-13 related to numbers, and 14-20 relating to days of creation and Gods subsequent rest.

    It the best CD Dana has done yet, and I’m totally in love it with it, and I’m not biased at all.

    You can hear it for free in its entirety at http://songsforsaplings.bandcamp.com/album/songs-for-saplings-123

    -James

  18. FYI: I’ve recently updated this post in three ways.

  19. My family loves Seeds Family Worship! We have all 6 albums. My children are 11, 7, 4. They have them all memorized along with my husband and me. Even my one year old babbles along with the music. We use the music in Sunday school too and the kids love it. I highly recommend them! Thanks for the great information on more Scripture memory resources.

  20. This site seeks to catalog many of these, searchable by verse and version: http://www.scriptureinsong.com

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