This game is adapted from the Spicks and Specks game show where it is called “Substitute”.
The aim is to teach the memory verse by singing it as many times and in as many ways as possible to help reinforce memorisation.
Split into at least 4 teams. Give the memory verse for the term to each team or have it up on the projector or a whiteboard. Each team will also need to be given three tunes to well-known songs as well – you can use national anthems, pop songs, church songs etc. This game is played in 3 rounds. Before the start of each round, each team has a minute to practice among themselves singing the words of the memory verse to the tune of one of the well-known songs that they were given.
Each team then takes turns in singing the memory verse to the tune of the well-known song while the other teams listen in and try to guess the tune of the song that is being sung. Teams only get one opportunity to make a guess and they “buzz in” when they think they know the tune. 1 point is awarded to the team that makes a correct guess, and 1 point given to the team that was singing the song that was correctly guessed. No points are awarded if no one guesses the tune of the song.
This is not so much a defence of the Memory Verse because it’s particularly under attack by people who want to be rid of it, but rather a defence for my own peace of mind as I flip-flop between thinking MVs are the best thing since sliced bread and on the other hand loathing the very archaic and patronising notion of rote learning verses of the Bible…
This really is a reflection that was prompted by the excellent papers by Michael Jensen and Graham Stanton at the 2012 Youthworks Youth Ministry conference (Thetacon) which delved into the subject of the incarnation and how the humanity of Jesus connects with our trials and temptations.
One of the points that came through strongly in both papers and really grabbed my attention is that in the face of temptation and trials, Jesus used only the same resources for faithfulness that I too have access to. This startled me because I think I’m often inclined to believe that Jesus could only resist temptation because of the divinity that he has and that I don’t… I think I’m inclined to emphasise his divinity at the sake of diminishing his humanity, and in doing so I lose the impact of realising that Jesus was made in every way like me and was tempted in every way I am and yet in his humanity did not sin (cf. Hebrews 2:10-11; 4:15). Jesus overcomes not by being superhuman, but by being truly human.
So what resources does Jesus use to resist temptation and persevere through trial? He has the resources of godly friends, Scripture, prayer, the indwelling of the Spirit, the momentum of maturing character and the visible divine help of angels. Chiefly of these though is the way Jesus relies heavily on his knowledge of God’s Word.
When Satan tempts and tests Jesus in the desert, inviting doubt and misquoting God’s Word, Jesus does not overcome Satan and bind him by means of his strength or power or his heroism or his unbowed moral courage. He defeats him by clinging to the Word of God – to the command and covenant, the precept and promise.
This is why I’m challenged to defend the Memory Verse. Memorising and recalling God’s Word accurately in our time of temptation and trial is the chief means by which we resist and persevere. At the youth ministry I’m involved with we do use the Memory Verse activities on this site, but two of them in particular we use regularly each term (‘Application Pictures‘ and ‘Memory Verse Skits‘) because we want to remind ourselves that we are not remembering God’s Word as an end in itself but in order to recall it in our time of need. We want to think ahead to the situations that we will find it useful to remember these verses and so cling to God and his faithful character.
I’m renewing my commitment to the Memory Verse times we use at our youth ministry as the chief way of equipping our young people to resist and persevere through temptations and trials as the Lord Jesus did.
« Engrish Memory Verse [works with any number of people]
Type the memory verse into an online translator and translate the verse from English into another language (Chinese works best). Then take the foreign language translation and translate it back again into English. You will notice that it doesn’t come back out the way it went in! You might want to repeat the process a few times if you really want to mess it up, however, it does need to be vaguely recognisable…
Show this mistranslation to the group and then give them a limited amount of time to work out what the memory verse actually is.
John 3:16 [English TNIV] “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Translate into Chinese (Han): “對於上帝如此被愛世界他產生他僅有的兒子，誰相信他的那不會消滅，然而有來世。”
Translated back into English: “So is liked the world he producing his only son regarding God, who believes that his will not eliminate, however has next life.”
If you repeat the process one more time you get: “Therefore is liked producing only then his about God’s his son, believes world he will not eliminate, has the life.”
Write the memory verse out on a piece of paper using only the numbers used to write the words in an SMS message, ie. the numbers that correspond to the letters on the keypad. (Eg. “843 5673” = “the lord”). Obviously there will be a number of words that will correspond to a pattern of numbers but that’s all part of the fun for the kids to work out the memory verse. They can use their mobile phones for this game to help them work it out. Split the group into small teams of 3-4 and if there is a person on each team who has credit and is willing to spend it, then you could say whoever is first to text the memory verse to the leader’s mobile wins. Otherwise the winner can be whoever is first to decode it and write it out correctly.
This is a good game for introducing a new memory verse. Just like the card game ‘Mad Gab’ from Mattel©. It’s a game of words and phrases, it’s not what you say, it’s what you hear. Say the words “Day Leo Fur Rings” a few times and you’ll find you’re saying. “daily offerings!”, just sound it out. Write up the memory verse in Mad Gab style (eg. “Iron hot ash aimed off day goes bell” = I am not ashamed of the gospel). If it’s a large memory verse split it into sections (ie. If there are 3 sections to the memory verse then make 3 rounds to the game, and when a team has solved the first section, give them the second, and so on til they solve the whole verse). Players work in teams and compete against each other to solve the memory verse first, and when they have solved it, run up to the white board and write it out in full.
(AKA. Wheel of fortune, missing letters, hang man) This is a good game for introducing a new short memory verse. Using a white board, put underscore dashes on the board for every letter in each word of the memory verse eg. Jesus wept = _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. Divide everybody into 2 groups. Each group elects someone to be the buzzer and another to be the contestant. The ‘buzzer sits on a chair out the front while the contestant stands behind them with their hands on the head of the buzzer, when they want to answer a question they lightly press the buzzer to make the sound for that team. The game is played in rounds so that the each person in the team has an opportunity to be the buzzer or contestant. When a contestant gets a question right they are allowed to select 1 letter of the alphabet (apart from vowels) to be uncovered on the board. Have special rounds where contestants are allowed to choose vowels or solve the memory verse. You will need to prepare at least 26 questions for the game and they can include bible questions, youth group questions, celebrity questions, etc.
Write the memory verse on cardboard and then cut it up to form a jigsaw puzzle. Split everyone into groups and give one jigsaw puzzle to each group. The team that pieces the memory verse together first is the winner.