Psalm 119:11 says to hide God's Word in your heart. It's a command, not a suggestion. God said it, and Jesus modeled it. When he was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, He recited scripture to ward off the attacks.
The Bible is our lifeline to the Father. It teaches us the truth, what to believe, and why to believe it. As a leader, you should always point families to God's Word.
Kids are never too young to hide God's Word in their hearts. Pick whatever translation you prefer. The New International Readers Version (NIrV) is used in this article because we feel it is best for a child's level of understanding. Here are some age-appropriate verses for kids of all ages to memorize as they grow their knowledge of the Bible.
Memory Verses for Toddlers
Toddlers take in an incredible amount into their brains, and little by little, begin to verbalize what they know during these formative years. At the ages of one and two, they start stringing words and sentences together. Your child will repeat things that you say, good or bad, so why not intentionally guide them to say scripture from an early age?
Even at these young ages, little ones can begin to learn the most essential truths from God's word. Here are three true phrases that you can teach toddlers. These may not be word for word in your Bible version, but they are God's truth, nonetheless.
Genesis 1:1 - "God made everything!"
When studying the Bible, this is the very first truth presented. From Genesis 1:1, God created the heavens and the earth. These simple words can lead to conversations about what God made…trees, flowers, animals, and people. God made everything and everyone. Knowing that He is the Creator is a great foundation.
John 3:16 - "God gave us Jesus."
This comes from many places but is perhaps most well known in John 3:16. God loves people so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross.
1 John 4:19 - "Jesus loves me."
1 John 4:19 says that we are to love Him because He loved us first. As the saying goes, love is what makes the world go round. As a Christian, you know that love equals Jesus. Planting these three scripture-based truths in your toddler's minds and helping them speak the words can give them a great beginning to understanding the Bible.
Memory Verses for Preschoolers
Preschoolers are like sponges. They are listening and learning everything around them. They soak up what's being said and done and repeat it. Repetition is how they learn. Here are five Bible verses that every preschooler can and should learn as they develop more knowledge about God and how He relates to their lives.
Genesis 1:1 – "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
With these little ones, start at the beginning. It's essential to establish that God's word says He is the Creator of all.
Psalm 119:11 – "I have hidden your word in my heart so that I won't sin against you."
This verse shares the importance of knowing the Bible. Teach them that holding the truth close helps you make good choices.
Deuteronomy 6:5 – "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength."
Loving God is the most important job of a Christian. Of course, it entails more than that, but this verse is a great start.
Psalm 56:3 – "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."
Preschoolers are afraid of things – storms, bugs, and the dark, just to name a few. They can be comforted by learning these words. Trusting God is the answer to fear.
Joshua 1:9 – "Here is what I am commanding you to do. Be strong and brave. Do not be afraid. Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go."
Four-year-olds are learning to be brave as they do life. Whether it be going to preschool or getting a shot at the doctor's office, they can know they can be strong because God is with them.
Memory Verses for Kindergarten – 2nd Grade
As children hit the school years, they are growing physically and mentally. Spiritual growth should also be a priority. They'll be asking more questions and need to know that the Bible is where to find answers. Here are five verses for early elementary-aged students to memorize.
Romans 3:23 – "Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God's glory."
At this age, kids are learning to own up to their mistakes. They have to understand that they aren't perfect and that the bad choices they make are called sin.
John 3:16 – "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life."
Children can know that even though they sin, God still loves them so much that he sent Jesus to the earth for them.
Romans 10:9-10 – "Say with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord."
Believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. Then you will be saved. With your heart, you believe and are made right with God. With your mouth, you say what you believe. And so you are saved." What do you need to do to get rid of your sin and be forgiven? A relationship with Jesus! These verses give an excellent start to that.
Galatians 5:22-23 – "But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy, and peace. It is being patient, kind, and good. It is being faithful and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind."
Kids need to know how to act when they have a relationship with Jesus. Memorizing the fruits of the Spirit can help them understand what qualities to strive towards.
Philippians 4:13 – "I can do all this by the power of Christ. He gives me strength."
Even at their age, elementary kids go through hard stuff. This verse can help them know Jesus is there with them to help them through difficult times.
Memory Verses for 3rd – 5th Grade and Preteens
As kids age towards middle school, they are becoming their own person. They still question as they become more independent. Here are five Bible passages that can help them as they develop character and good spiritual habits.
Psalm 23:1-4 - "The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need. He lets me lie down in fields of green grass. He leads me beside quiet waters. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths for the honor of his name. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid. You are with me. Your shepherd's rod and staff comfort me."
Children need to know to turn to God for comfort and strength.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways, obey him. Then he will make your paths smooth and straight."
As they gain independence and make more choices on their own, bring kids back to this verse to show them that allowing God to determine their choices is the best way.
Philippians 4:6-7 – "Don't worry about anything. No matter what happens, tell God about everything. Ask and pray, and give thanks to him. Then God's peace will watch over your hearts and your minds. He will do this because you belong to Christ Jesus. God's peace can never be completely understood."
The older they get, the more they will struggle. It's a fact of life. Kids can be assured that when they give it over to God, they can have peace.
Matthew 6:9-13 – "This is how you should pray. 'Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. May your kingdom come. May what you want to happen be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, just as we also have forgiven those who sin against us. Keep us from sinning when we are tempted. Save us from the evil one.'"
Having a prayer life can be developed from an early age. The Lord's Prayer is a great passage that can help kids understand some key components that should be contained in their prayers.
Ephesians 6:14-18 – "So remain strong in the faith. Put the belt of truth around your waist. Put the armor of godliness on your chest. Wear on your feet what will prepare you to tell the good news of peace. Also, pick up the shield of faith. With it, you can put out all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Put on the helmet of salvation. And take the sword of the Holy Spirit. The sword is God's word. At all times, pray by the power of the Spirit. Pray all kinds of prayers. Be watchful so that you can pray. Always keep on praying for all the Lord's people."
God commands all Christians to put on the full armor of God. These verses show kids what that looks like. As they deepen their relationship with Christ, they can be reminded how to fight and stand strong.
No matter the age, memorizing scripture is invaluable. It teaches the truth of a God who made everything, who loves all, and who wants to see everyone have a relationship with his Son, Jesus. The Bible gives everything needed to live a life for Christ, from staying away from sin to loving others. As Luke 6:45 states, "A person's mouth says everything that is in their heart." Teach your children to store up God's word in their hearts, so these truths will easily flow from their lips.