‘the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ Mark 2:10b
This memory verse is from the story about the four friends who take a man to see Jesus. They carry him up onto the roof, pull it apart and lower him down in front of Jesus. Jesus tells the man that his sins are forgiven. This causes the religious leaders to become annoyed – who can forgive sins but God alone? Jesus makes the above statement and then to prove that he is God he heals the man completely.
Have some pictures of well known leaders who have authority – Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin for example. Talk about who they are and how powerful they are. Explain that the memory verse is about someone with even more authority than the most powerful leaders.
Read the verse together. (It could be written out on a white board). Explain that the Son of Man is a name Jesus often used when he was talking about himself. He alone has the power to forgive sins. He is the one sent from God to die on the cross taking the punishment that others deserve.
Taking it to heart
Read the verse together from the white board. let the children take it in turns to erase one word at a time and each time a word is erased say the verse together.
Do you ever teach a memory verse in Sunday School? Or in an after school church group? There are lots of ways to help children learn a verse from the Bible. So on Memory Mondays we’ll look at some ideas. New year – new Monday plan!
This Monday it’s Matthew 3:17 ‘A voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’
Getting started – give some examples about the things people say about us – let the children give ideas too. I wrote some out in speech bubbles to give ideas.
Talk about what our parents might say about us.
Moving on – explain that God the Father had something to say about his Son – Jesus. Read the verse from the Bible to the children. Was it good or bad? It was good! God was pleased with his Son, Jesus.
Take it to heart– the verse can be cut up – get the children to put it back together in the right order. If children aren’t confident readers make sure that you go through the words first and give some clues. If the group is large then prepare a couple of cut up verses and get the children to work in groups.
We have decided it’s good to teach memory verses and have thought about getting children interested in learning the verse. We’ve thought about explaining some of the tricky words.
Now what? We need to help children apply the truth of the Bible Verse to themselves.
How can we do that?
When we are preparing we can ask a few questions to help us work out what the application could be. Is there an example to follow? Is there an example of something to avoid? Is there a promise to believe? Is there a truth to believe?
Essentially we are trying to find out what we think the child should do with the truth they have learnt.
Let’s look at the verses we’ve been using…
Verse – Psalm 119: 130 ‘The unfolding of your words gives light’ – If we read on a little we see that the writer goes on to say that God’s Word ‘imparts understanding to the simple’. So the application is that we should read God’s word so that we will know more about God and how to live. It is something for us to do.
Verse – Psalm 119:73 ‘Your hands have made me’. This is a truth for us to believe. It helps us to know that we are unique and special to God because he made us. Also because God made us we are answerable to him. You wouldn’t teach both of those applications at once – just chose one of them.
Verse – Luke 19:10 ‘For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost’- This is less straightforward. We want the child to think about where they are – are they lost or found. This is a tricky concept but we can help the child understand by explaining the verse first. Then we need to tell them how they can be found – by trusting in Jesus as their Saviour.
It’s best to explain the tricky words in a verse before helping children to apply the truth.
So we have thought about why we teach children to learn part of the Bible and how we go about making a beginning. We have a verse and we’ve got an exciting way of getting the children thinking about the concept we want them to remember. But what about those words that can be tricky to understand? What about making sure that what we are trying to teach is the same thing as the children are learning? Sometimes words need to be explained.
Let’s look at the verses that we used last time and think about some words that we may need to explain or clarify.
Verse – Psalm 119: 130 ‘The unfolding of your words gives light’ – We may need to ask the children whose words give light? Is it our words or someone else’s? Who is that someone else? It’s God’s words that give light.
Verse – Psalm 119:73 ‘Your hands have made me’. Again, who is the verse talking about? Ask the children who it is that this part of the Bible says made them.
Verse – Luke 19:10 ‘For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost’- Who is the Son of man? We need to explain that this is a title that Jesus gave to himself. If you have introduced the verse by hunting for lego mini figures you can explain that you were seeking for them. Who are the lost? What does that mean? People who don’t know Jesus.
Learning a verse from the Bible is a good thing to do. Learning it and understanding it is a better thing to do.
Grabbing someone’s attention is always a good place to begin teaching a Memory Verse. So some opening sentences are out while others are in.
Out goes ‘ now it’s time to learn a memory verse’ along with ‘who wants to learn a memory verse?’
In comes a way of beginning that relates to the verse and is interesting.
What do I mean? Well start with a short story that illustrates a concept in the verse. Or show an object or do a mime. Ask the children to mime an action that is mentioned. Ask a question. Get their attention by doing something that they want to see and hear.
Verse – Psalm 119: 130 ‘The unfolding of your words gives light’ – write out the verse and fold it up before the children arrive. As you begin unfold the paper. Ask the children ‘what do you think is written on here?’
Verse – Psalm 119:73 ‘Your hands have made me’. Begin by showing the children something you have made or in a group or small groups challenge them to build the largest tower from lego/duplo. This introduces them to the concept that things that exist have been made by someone.
Verse – Luke 19:10 ‘For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost’- have an active beginning. Hide lots of lego mini figures around the room and get the children to look for them. Put a timer on and see how fast they can find all the hidden lego. Or you could mime looking for something that is lost and ask the children to guess what it is you are doing.
Once you activity is done show the verse – have it written out in lower case letters (except for capital letters in the right places) and large enough so everyone can read it. It’s useful to read it from an open bible too. Read it out to the children and then read it altogether. And the beginning is done.
Active, interesting, attention grabbing beginnings that help to get the children thinking about something referred to in the verse. They will be learning while having fun. Learning while playing. Getting ready for the next part of the memory verse – what do the words mean?
This is something a little different – but just might become a bit of a feature of the blog. A few posts about things we do in Sunday School or children’s mid week clubs. Why we do them and different ideas about how we do them. The comment box is there for you to share ideas too. There is so much to learn from the way people do things!
So this post is all about Teaching Memory Verses.
Do you still teach children verses from the Bible? Do they still enjoy learning verses from the Bible?
Children can of course learn really well. But teaching a verse from the Bible needs to be more that learning by rote. Repetition will help them remember the words but won’t aid their understanding of what the words mean.
So why bother with Memory Verses?
The Bible is God’s book and worth remembering
If you learn a verse really well it’ll stay with you
That verse that has stayed with you can be useful in life – a promise to lean on, words that bring comfort, a reminder about who God is.
God’s words help us in the way that we live. Psalm 119 is full of reminders that God’s words are helpful. They guide us and comfort us.
So if and when we teach a memory verse to children and they learn it’s meaning and remember it, we are giving them something that will stay with them. We are building in to their future.
It’s worth doing!
Next time – catching the children’s interest (Memory Verse Know How 2)