Learning God's Word Early

“Their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the Lord  ...  in the words of God.” 1 Chronicles 25:7,5
“Keep in memory what I preached.” 1 Corinthians 15:2
“My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee  ... . Write them upon the table of thine heart.” Proverbs 7:3
“Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11
We can surround our children with the Word of God from birth. Their first lullabies can be hymns, and their first stories can be from the Word of God. They are never too young to be told that the Lord Jesus loves them and made them for Himself. Paul told Timothy that “from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). No doubt he learned them at his mother Eunice’s and his grandmother Lois’ knee (2 Timothy 1:5), since his father was probably not a believer (Acts 16:1).
As our children get older, it is important to help them memorize the Word of God. We help our children memorize the multiplication tables. Perhaps we help them learn dates for history class. But nothing is more important than helping them memorize scripture. It is good to learn about the Bible. But the Word itself has power that can speak to our children—and us—when they need it, and in ways we haven’t considered before. Memorization is a skill, just like learning to use scissors or to ride a bike. The first verses are the hardest because the child is learning how to memorize as well as learning the verse itself. Once they learn this skill, it becomes easier. A verse can be put into short-term memory on Lord’s Day morning and easily forgotten. To go into long-term memory, a verse (like anything else to be memorized) needs to be reviewed regularly until it is permanently fixed in the brain. Of course we hope and pray that the final destination will be the heart, but it is easier for the Holy Spirit to bring verses to remembrance (John 14:26) that are already there! The Word can be a warning against sinning, a joyful reminder of the presence of the Lord, or a framework available to give a broader picture when considering other Scriptures. Our children can ponder it before they learn how to read, or when they lie awake at night. As they get older, the Word will be there to reflect on at times when they cannot read for other reasons, such as because they are driving, they are standing in line waiting, or even if their eyesight fails. We can and should memorize with them, but they will learn more easily and retain better than we can, because their brains are younger.