As Christians parents, we all share the desire for our children to seek God’s Word for themselves, hide it in their hearts, and bring it to mind when hard times inevitably come. In this article, Heather Wagner shares 32 powerful Bible verses for teens to know and memorize as they face the tough transition to adulthood, and reminds us of our role in laying an important foundation of truth that will serve them well in the years to come.
I was curled up on the couch with a book and a nice cup of tea when my phone buzzed, my daughter’s face lighting up the screen.
“Mom?” She whimpered, “I blew a tire. Can you stay on the phone with me while I change it? It’s dark, and I’m not in the safest location.”
Knowing she was capable and prepared, I said a quick prayer and waited calmly on the line while she took care of business.
Well, actually I wish I could say that’s how it happened, but it’s not.
WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES ARE OUTSIDE OF OUR CONTROL
I wasn’t there. I couldn’t help. And because the entire situation was outside of my control, I started to panic. I thought of all the horrible things that could happen while my daughter was parked on the shoulder of a busy highway at night trying to change a tire, and I paced helplessly back and forth in our living room. For a moment, I was pressed between fear and faith. Fear had the upper hand, but truth sprang from my heart when I needed it most.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NIV).
Wherever I go.
And wherever she goes.
And wherever you go.
As I untangled myself from my feelings, I realized something amazing had slipped my mind. Just weeks before this incident, knowing our daughter was driving twice a week between Baylor University and her internship in Dallas, my husband suggested she practice changing a tire in the driveway. Coincidence? I think not.
She was out of my reach that night, but she was never out of His.
In the grand scheme of things, a flat tire is a minor inconvenience. But isn’t it just like Him to use a small thing to teach me a big lesson?
LEAN ON THE WORD
As Christian parents, we try to inspire and encourage our teens to dig into the Bible on their own because it’s where they’re going to find and build a relationship with the God who made them, knows them, and loves them more than we do.
Equipping our teens to lean on the Word is an act of humility that acknowledges God’s ultimate authority in the lives of our kids. By doing so, we’re admitting to our children that we don’t have all the answers, and we’re pointing them to the One who does . It’s a surrender. It’s asking God for His wisdom and guidance, and then trusting that He is perfectly capable of correcting and filling the gaps that exist after we’ve done our best.
Truthfully, I don’t know one parent who thinks they’ve got this nailed down. I certainly don’t.
But I do know when Jesus faced the temptation of the devil in the desert, the only weapon He used was the Word. He didn’t tease, taunt, or argue the enemy into submission. There was no recorded cosmic battle. He responded to the devil’s lies with truth.
So when I’m tempted to believe I’m not trained enough, equipped enough, or smart enough to support my kids as they mature in their beliefs, I keep praying and keep trying because His strength is made perfect in my weakness.
BIBLICAL RESOURCES FOR TEENS
There are a multitude of resources available today to encourage Biblical engagement for our kids, and I’d encourage you to look into them and see which may be a good fit for your family.
One of the ways I’ve tried to gently encourage my kids to engage with the Word is by placing Scripture verses on a letterboard we have in the living room. Sometimes the verses lead to great conversations; sometimes they don’t. We can lead a child to Scripture, but we can’t make them seek. As my husband and I try to train our children in the way they should go, we recognize their faith journeys are their own. And though we’d love to watch those love stories unfold right in front of our eyes, sometimes God’s timing is different than our own.
So I’ve learned to check my pride and expectations at the door. Even if I plant a seed, God is the One who makes it grow. My kids interact with the verses I share differently because they’re all in different places with their walk with God, and that’s okay.
PREPARING FOR WHAT LIES AHEAD
Our daughter called the day after the blowout and thanked her daddy for making her learn how to change a tire in high school. But at the time, she sure wasn’t excited about it. Learning how to use a jack was scary. She has a small frame, so using the tire iron to remove the lugnuts took a lot of effort, and lifting the full-size spare from the trunk was a struggle.
But my husband was patient with her. He showed her how to do it, had her practice the task with his help, and then had her try it on her own. During the whole lesson, she may have been thinking about how she was just going to call roadside assistance if she ever had a flat, but when the moment came and she had to make a decision, she was prepared. She had the knowledge she needed to overcome the problem.
I don’t know what the future holds, but Jesus said we would have trouble in this world. So whenever life’s circumstances leave my kids feeling like they’re alone in the dark on the side of the road, I hope the Scripture they’ve hidden in their hearts comes to mind when they need it. Whether the Word comes as a comfort, a compass, a lifeline, or a mighty weapon, I pray it helps my kids navigate the hard things, celebrate the good things, and live abundant lives that honor God.
Here are 32 verses that have made an impact in our home over the last few years. I hope you’ll find them helpful as you find creative ways to introduce Scripture to your teens and encourage them to engage with the Word on their own.
BIBLE VERSES FOR TEENS TO KNOW AND MEMORIZE
1. “Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all” (1 Chronicles 29:11, NIV).
2. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14, NIV).
3. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV).
4. “‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:9, NIV).
5. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV).
6. “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD” (Psalm 89:15, NIV).
7. “In their hearts a man plans their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16:9, NIV).
8. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
9. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’” declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).
10. “‘I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them’” (Isaiah 42:16, NIV).
11. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV).
12. ‘“If you can?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief’” (Mark 9:23-24, NIV)!
13. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV).
14. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, NIV).
15. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27, NIV).
16. “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, NIV).
17. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).
18. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, NIV).
19. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NIV).
20. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5, NIV).
21. “Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:4-5, NIV).
22. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV).
23. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, NIV).
24. “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” (Psalm 28:7, NIV).
25. “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11, NIV).
26. “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV).
27. “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3, NIV).
28. “So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me’” (Hebrews 13:6, NIV)?
29. “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” (John 3:16, NIV).
30. “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness’” (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV).
31. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2, NIV).
32. “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44, NIV).
How might you begin to incorporate some of the Scriptures Heather shared into your home and your teens’ lives? What are some verses that come to mind that you would add to this list, and what are some ways you help your children hide God’s Word in their heart? Share your ideas in the comments below!
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