Scripture Memory: For All Ages

Scripture Memory for All AgesIn a previous post we looked at how memorizing Scripture is a powerful tool in our walk with God. Look back at the verses used in that post and you will find that the verses have no age for beginning to memorize nor an ending age attached to them. From the youngest among us to the oldest, we all can benefit from having Scripture memorized.

from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Tim. 3:15)

Age Appropriate Considerations in Scripture Memory:

1) Think about the length of the verse.

The younger the age, the shorter the length of the verse should be. Preschoolers might only memorize a phrase from a verse as long as it is meaningful.

2) Think about the relevancy of the verse’s content.

Due to life experiences and age level developmental needs at the various ages, certain verses are better for the different ages.

You will find a number of posts on the Train Bible Teachers Blog with verses that fit the different age level brackets. Click on the ages below that fit you or the age you serve.

Preschoolers
Grade School Children
Teenagers
Young Adults
Middle Aged Adults
Senior Adults

All Ages Will Memorize Scripture Similarly:

  • Repetition is required to memorize and retain what has been learned regardless of your age.
  • Using a variety of means can be beneficial in memorizing Bible verses at all ages.

You will find more tips for Bible teachers in this worksheet: Effective Scripture Memorization Requires Getting Beyond

Can We Ever Overemphasize Application?

Application of truth is important.  Just ask God:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” (Matt. 7:24, 25)

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25)

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17)

The title of a teacher training worksheet says it well:  Application: It’s God’s Idea, Not Merely a Good Idea

However, if we emphasize application (obedience) over a love relationship with God  … we could have mere religious activity.

Jesus died on the cross to bring us into a relationship with the Father. (Jn. 14:6; Rom. 5:10-11; 2 Cor. 5:18; Heb. 4:16)

  • It’s about showing love to God by doing what He says not trying to earn His favor.  (Matt. 22:37-38; Jn. 15:10; 1 Jn. 5:3)
  • It’s about getting to know God better which comes as we step out in faith and do what He says.  (Col. 1:9-10; 2 Pet. 3:1)

When we are in a love relationship with God, we have added motivation to do what pleases and honors Him.  Obedience is not burdensome.

A Word to the Church: When life in Christ becomes little more than religious activity, we have little to offer people who need Jesus.  We could find ourselves with a dull, lifeless group of people busy doing what appears to be all the right things with little to show for it.  Where is the appeal in that?

If we emphasize application over internal change … we could have mere external conformity.

God isn’t looking for mere external conformity.  He looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).  Notice how the heart factors into loving Him, trusting in Him, and also obeying Him.

“love the Lord with all your heart …”  (Matt. 22:37)
“trust in the Lord with all your heart …”  (Prov. 3:5)
“keep your precepts with all my heart …” (Ps. 119:69)

When our whole heart is given over to God, we will do what we are supposed to do.  Obedience is not in question.

A Word to the Church: If we are satisfied with mere external conformity, we could be building a church full of hypocrites.  We could find ourselves with a group who are quick to give up when the going gets tough because their heart is not in it.  How is that honoring to God?

Whether you preach, teach, or disciple others one-on-one, remember that application is important to God but we must put more emphasis on a relationship with Him and on what is happening in the heart out of which obedience flows.

God Communicates Audiovisually

Have you ever noticed in the Bible how often God communicated truth with audiovisuals?

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Examples of God Using Audiovisuals:

  • Adam/Eve (tree to represent human choice/free will of man)
  • Moses (burning bush, staff, stone, plagues, etc.)
  • Israelites  (ark of the covenant, temple and the altar, etc.)
  • Prophets (bones, a harlot, rod, bottle, figs, etc.)
  • Jesus (objects, writing on the ground, dirt, etc.)
  • End Time (seals, trumpets, bowls, horses, etc.)
  • Heaven/New Heaven (throne, jewels, streets of gold, etc.)

There are visual representations of His ways, what He can do, has done, or will do.  The above are a small number of examples.

Why does God use audiovisuals?

  1. Obviously God knows we learn best the more our senses are involved because He created us that way.
  2. He is a purposeful and creative God who employs a variety of means to communicate.
  3. He meets us where we are, taking something we are familiar with to help us better understand something unfamiliar.
  4. He wants to reinforce the truth so we remember it better so the more senses that are employed, the more we will retain what we learn.

On the other hand, there are times He warned against using visual aids:

God said, “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below” (Ex. 20:4).

It is one thing to let visuals represent His ways or the truth He is communicating, and another for it to represent God Himself.  Graven images that represent Him should never used because . . .

God knows that we human beings would be too quick to substitute the pretend image for the real Person.  To think that we would let lifeless wood, stones, gold, silver, or bronze take His place might seem absurd.  Remember the golden calf during the Exodus?  Remember why the Israelites were sent into exile?

Further, nothing could ever adequately depict His greatness and glory.  Our visual representations of God would always fall short.  Only God could come up with a visual aid adequate to represent Himself — God Incarnate.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (Heb. 1:3)

What does all this infer for communicators of God’s Word?

  • Audiovisuals should be used but purposefully to reinforce truth, not merely to entertain or hold attention.
  • Audiovisuals should be carefully chosen to enhance the lesson, not to take the spotlight.
  • Audiovisuals should never supplant the teacher.  We have a personal God who communicates truth relationally.

Tips for Choosing & Using Audiovisuals Worksheet Download

Teacher Training: You Need to be Challenged

Having worked in church positions responsible for training teachers, I know how easy it is to get into a rut.  Contributing factors include:

convention – what we’ve always done
comfort – what fits my learning style or personality
convenience – what fits my busy schedule

To keep from getting into, or staying in, a teacher training rut, I needed to constantly put myself in places where I would be challenged — getting into God’s Word and letting His Spirit prod me, reading books, attending training sessions myself, networking with others, finding a prayer partner, taking time to listen to the teachers, etc.

As I allowed myself to be stretched, I was in a better position to equip others.  I learned that:

  1. One size does not fit all.  Doing training the same way it’s always been done is bound to miss meeting the true needs of the teachers as it does little to tailor training to them.
  2. It is not all about me.  Each person on the teaching staff also had their own preferred ways of learning due to learning styles and personalities.
  3. Some things are worth the extra time and effort.  Having well-equipped teachers makes such a difference for eternity as they more effectively invest into the lives of their students.

Out of these challenges comes the need for variety in how teacher training is done.

Learn more at TrainBibleTeachers.com: Means of Teacher Training

Teacher Training: You Need Resources

As communicated in a previous post about having a teacher training plan, I have worked full-time as a Director of Christian Education and have also volunteered through the years in various leadership roles in Sunday School, VBS, and more.

One of the biggest drawbacks I found was knowing where to find training resources.  The Internet was not readily accessible through the earlier years of my church work.  We did have a local Christian bookstore so that helped somewhat.

Now, however, if you are reading this post, you, like me, have instant access to a wealth of information through the web.  Still, however, Christian teacher training is not always easy to find, especially on specific topics or formats.  And, a lot of time can be consumed searching.

With this in mind, the MinTools.com site has always included a fair amount of helps for those involved in a teaching ministry.  Every month a new Be-Attitude for teachers, discipline tip, and teaching method replace the previous one in addition to content that remains more static and a teaching resources page.

In time I sensed an even greater need so TrainBibleTeachers.com was developed as a teacher training division of Ministry Tools Resource Center.  What began as primarily a membership based site has now opened lists of training resources to the world.  Having worked in a church, and knowing what it can be like to find resources, my heart’s desire is to see more churches develop a teacher training plan tailored to teacher needs which takes resources.

Check out TrainBibleTeachers.com: Teacher Training Resources

Teacher Training: You Need a Plan

I’ve worked full-time in a church as a Director of Christian Education.  I know the many details to which someone in this position must attend.  I served as a volunteer leader of Sunday School and have directed Vacation Bible School.  I know what it is like to juggle work and family responsibilities with all there is to do in directing a Sunday School program or VBS.

Teacher Training PlanOut of that background, of having served in the educational ministry of a church in both paid and volunteer positions, I have drawn this conclusion about teacher training:  You need a plan!

Both full-time staff and volunteer leaders are busy.  Other week to week responsibilities can quickly consume your time, etching out a long-range effort of equipping teachers.  Developing a plan will put teacher training on your schedule of important tasks not to be overlooked.

The people you recruit are at varying places in Bible knowledge, teaching experience, and skills that need to be honed.  Because you are so busy, it is all too easy to settle for a one-size-fits all approach to teacher training.  Developing a plan will increase the likelihood of providing training tailored to individual teachers.

The people you recruit are also busy.  To include training into their hectic schedules, they need sufficiently advanced notice of these expectations and they need to feel it is worth their time.  Developing a training plan will communicate the worth you place on equipping and will enable you to avoid last minute notifications.  You will be able to share training opportunities when recruiting so people know what to expect.

Learn more at TrainBibleTeacher.com:  Teacher Training Plan

Future posts will look at the next two points about teacher training.  Subscribe to this blog to receive e-mail notification of new posts.