Sawdust covered almost everything in His dad’s carpenter shop. Did He scribble in the shavings the Hebrew words from His rabbi’s lesson… “In the beginning, God created”? When walking outside, did He use an olive branch to etch on the path… “And God said, Let there be light”? Memorizing scripture was a big part of young boy Jesus’ early education.
Do you ever wonder how He may have spent His summer days?
Could He have found fun ways to memorize scripture in his spare moments?
In traditional Jewish education, students by the age 6 would attend synagogue schools. By around 10 years of age, they would have learned and memorized the first 5 books of the Bible, called the Torah (yes, even Leviticus!). Jewish rabbis would instruct students with an assortment of memorization methods. They understood what educators today understand: a variety of instruction enhances learning. Engaging verbal, auditory, and physical methods will embed knowledge deeper than simply hearing it alone. Therefore, recitation, drama, music, visualizing, reflection, review, and reading were common Jewish practices of memorization, as well as… writing the scriptures.
There are several passages which mention the physical and symbolic practice of “writing” God’s Word: “You shall write them on the doorpost of your house” (Deut. 11:20) and “Write them on the tablet of your heart” (Prov. 7:3). Wouldn’t we want to passionately say to our kids “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16)? If writing God’s Word is a significant process for memorization, how can we as parents and caregivers encourage this routine for our children?
Introduce your child to a Scripture Writing Plan! The daily habit of reading scripture can feed our spirit, but the practice of writing can allow the Word of God to penetrate and imprint our heart. Getting started can be easy! Make it colorful. Make it fun. Let it develop naturally!
Begin by supplying your child with a blank journal, spiral notebook, or homemade booklet (made by folding and stapling some paper together in “book form”). Offer a variety of fun markers, colored pencils, ink pens and crayons. Print off “Growing Bright for Jesus" (other scripture writing plans can be found on the web for adults and children). Encourage your child to find the scripture and copy it word for word using the materials gathered in your home.
Now consider the following benefits of scripture writing:
Leads your child to the Bible
Scriptures can be easily found on a variety of devices but consider buying a Children’s Bible. Choose one that is age appropriate for your child and remember a “Bible Story Book” is different than a Children’s Bible. Coach your child about the “Table of Contents” and the page numbers which guide to specific books. Bible index tabs can also be purchased to help your child locate Bible books. Lead your child to explore the Bible! Discover maps, illustrations, or special study tools within your child’s Bible.
Offers meditation on God’s Word
Slowing down to copy scripture gives time for the Word to absorb. Focusing on the actual words of scripture will give God moments to open young eyes to new truth.
Provides creative and reflective opportunities
It might happen that while writing scripture, your child will be inspired to draw designs or pictures. These artistic responses may develop naturally and further imprint scripture meaning and memorization for your child.
Reinforces reading, spelling, and vocabulary skills
There’s power in God’s Word! It’s the perfect instrument to build skills for word usage. Unknown words will give teachable moments to increase your child’s understanding of scripture.
Strengthens fine motor skills
If your child’s scripture writing routine is enjoyable and engaging… fine motor development will occur in the fun along the way. It will be a natural byproduct of the time spent inscribing God’s Word.
Someday we will sit with Jesus and have the opportunity to ask Him all about His lessons at the synagogue. Did He enjoy writing scriptures, too? He has blessed us with the Bible, and our gift in return will be the time we have spent in His Word. Scripture writing will ultimately aid the memorization and imprinting of God’s truth and wisdom. Any time devoted will be an investment of pure eternal value. It is my prayer for this to be the beginning of a routine to change your child’s life.
May each child come to declare how God’s Word is “a lamp to my feet and a LIGHT to my path” (Psalm 119:105).