4 Ways to Teach the Bible To Children With a Language Delay

There were times when my husband and I despaired of our toddlers ever saying anything we could understand. Our oldest in particular.

It's not that he wasn't chatty.  Oh he was chatty enough - he just chatted in his own language.

Even at 4 years old he would still chatter on in his own language, as if we could understanding every word.

Our youngest didn't seem to adopt his own language as our oldest did, but by the time they were preschool age, we could tell they both had a serious delay.

When our oldest was in 1st grade and our youngest in Kindergarten, they were both diagnosed with MERLD (Mixed Expressive-Receptive Language Disorder).

But even before they were able to speak or understand language, we began teaching our kids the Bible.



Over my lifetime I have memorized huge portions of the Bible, it is a discipline my parents taught me as a toddler.

This discipline continued on through school, and I went on to memorize large portions of Scripture:


  • Matthew 5-7
  • Romans 6-8
  • The book of James
  • Psalms 23, 91, 139 and 150


Beginning the habit of family devotions is easy while they are young, and it establishes in your children from their earliest age the importance of investing time in God's Word.

4 Ways to Teach the Bible To Children With a Language Delay


Teaching your child to memorize key Bible verses, and even entire chapters of the Bible, sounds daunting. After all, we find it difficult as adults to memorize.

It's not impossible.

In fact, it is a lot easier for children to memorize than adults. And MERLD children, as well as children with significant language delays, often have an astounding ability to memorize.

It's what has been labeled as the 3 Ms (Memory, Math, Music).

In fact, I believe that if we build the discipline of scripture memorization in our children from toddlerhood, they will not only find it easier to continue this discipline into adulthood, they will not have the mental block of thinking that it is "too hard", when in fact it is quite simple.

These 4 easy methods not only work for them, they work for us, too!

1. Start with short verses that they can easily commit to memory:

Ephesians 6:1, John 3:16, Psalm 119:11. I even taught my 3 year old the entire 23rd Psalm! They can do so much more than we think they can.



Here is my oldest at 3 years old learning God's Word by heart



And my youngest, at 1 year (You will please ignore the mess.....and me....as this wasn't really meant for the world to see, but I really wanted to illustrate how children who are not yet able to talk really can hide God's Word in their hearts)



2. Recite a line and have him repeat after you. 

This is how my parents began teaching me to memorize God's Word.

They say that I used to walk around repeating each line of the 23rd Psalm twice, because that is how I learned it.

I still use this method with my children at times, even though they are older.

3. Teach them Scripture set to children's music.

Steve Green has a series of CDs of Scripture set to music.

Another idea of scripture memory songs is the Seeds Family Worship CDs.


Children - especially non-verbal children - respond so well to music. It helps to convey a message using simple melody and rhythm that sticks in our head...and heart...and can be easily recalled even years later.

4. Choreograph hand motions.

Make up motions that go with the words of the verse to make it more memorable.  This, by far, has been the best way I've taught my kids how to memorize scripture.

Even now that my children are school-aged, I still use this method with them and it works. They easily learn verses when I put hand motions to them.

Throughout God's Word we are commanded and encouraged to memorize and meditate on God's Word.
It is a discipline that must begin early in life and one that will help to build a godly world view in the lives of our children that will protect them as they grow and venture out into the world.

Are you teaching your toddlers the Bible?  What methods do you use?

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