In our early years of marriage, my Bible study looked a lot like the meals I used to prepare – savory and appetizing. I had time to reference cookbooks, experiment with new flavors, and to taste and see that the food was delicious. Similarly, when it was time to crack open my Bible, I busted out my highlighters, read commentaries, and feasted on the contents within.

Whether we’re talking about physical or biblical sustenance, after the birth of our first child, I quickly realized I couldn’t dish up meals like I’d done in seasons past. No matter how much time I devoted to strategizing my ideal feast, my hands were full, and my belly remained empty. But just like I needed my daily bread, I knew I needed to be nourished by God’s Word. So, I began pocketing Bible verses to “snack on” throughout the day, kind of like a protein bar offers nourishment on the go. Little did I know, this would become the foundation for our family’s Scripture memory practice.

I consumed those Scripture snacks while pushing a stroller, playing hide-and-seek, building block towers, and rocking my daughter to sleep. In time, I learned that she was able to memorize things much faster than I could, and she grew into my ideal Scripture memory partner. Eight years later with two additional kiddos in tow, we gather around our kitchen table and remember that man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). As we break bread together, we reflect on God’s provision for us through his Son, Jesus, and we spend time eating his words (Jeremiah 15:16).

Practically speaking, memorizing Scripture during mealtimes might not work for you like it does for us, but the principle remains the same: we need God’s words like we need food. One foundational passage we’ve centered our Scripture memory practice around is Deuteronomy 6:4-8. It says,

“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.”

As parents, we must remember that nourishing our families with God’s Word begins with us. This passage communicates the importance of loving God with all our hearts while keeping his words in our hearts. We cannot encourage our kiddos to love someone or something that we don’t personally know and love. Do we regularly spend time with God in his Word? Do we love it? Do we seek to live by its truths? As the passage indicates, our love for God and his Word will naturally lend itself to word-filled conversations whenever possible.

But practically, as busy parents, isn’t it impossible to read and study the Bible when we don’t seem to have any time to ourselves? It’s true that our attempts to soak in the Scriptures are often interrupted by the needs of our little people. When that happens, I admit, I often react in a way that’s not congruent with the truths of the book I so desperately want to study and live out! But what if we viewed these interruptions as an invitation to welcome our kiddos to wonder at the Word with us? What if we welcome them into our study, even though it might be messy and feel unproductive? What if we consider what it might look like to center our lives around the Word of God, not just to prioritize a “quiet time” or memorizing a verse here and there? What if we invite them to taste and see that the Lord is good?

To cultivate this kind of opportunity, I suggest we regularly nourish ourselves by:

  • READING God’s Word or spending daily time in our Bibles. If nothing else, our children will benefit from seeing parents who humbly acknowledge their need for God’s Word.
  • SEEING God’s Word, or getting the Word in front of us, so that we see it and remember to reflect on its truths. This could be as simple as placing a Scripture memory notecard on the car dashboard, by the kitchen sink, or on the bathroom mirror.
  • SAYING God’s Word, or speaking Scripture over ourselves, saying it to our spouses, and sharing it with our kids. Repetition communicates importance and significance. May the most important words of all be on our lips!
  • SINGING God’s Word and allowing our very lives to sing of God’s praises as we learn to live in light of his truths.

Whether we’re snacking on a verse or feasting on a passage, it comes down to this – we need the nourishment of God’s Word. As we spend time reading, seeing, saying, and singing his words, we remember that we’re spending time with the written Word, Jesus Christ (John 1:1-2). Jesus perfectly fulfilled everything we read in the law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24:44). The very words of Scripture took on flesh and hung on a cross so that we might have life. We don’t love the Bible simply to love the Bible. We love the Bible because it leads us to Jesus. As those who love Jesus, we seek to spend time with him, to know him, and to feast on his very words.