Recently I was reading Rome Sweet Home, by Scott and Kimberly Hahn, and they mentioned the importance of Scripture memorization for Catholics. Even though we hear the entire Scriptures over the course of three years on Sundays, or two years if you attend daily Mass every day, not to mention all the Scripture in the liturgy itself, it is good to have Scripture memorized. No argument there. After all, growing up Baptist means I grew up memorizing Scripture.
What I want to do differently, though, is to ensure the kids know the context of the verses, and that is more difficult. I memorized plenty of Scripture, but rarely was I given the context. For example, of course I knew John 3:16. It wasn’t until I was an adult, however, that I knew that verse came from a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus about salvation and the necessity of baptism.
Likewise, I knew Romans 3:23 (for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God), but I did not know the context, which is about how it doesn’t matter if one is Jewish or Gentile for both are sinners.
I want my children to know the context, though. I’m not entirely sure of the best approach for that, but I’m open to suggestion. I do discuss the full context of Scripture passages with them, and also talk about parallel passages when we look at the readings for Mass (it’s easy doing it that way, since the first reading and Gospel are tied together). I like to point out the Scripture behind Mass responses, too. But actual memorization of verses hasn’t happened at this point, or at least they don’t know where the reference is from when they have memorized something (again, the Mass responses – they know it’s Scriptural, may even know who said it, but don’t know the verse; then again, I can’t usually say the verse for those either, just the general area.
So, any suggestions on good Scripture memorization for kids that includes the full context?