The Bible is wonderful, exciting and alive! We read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 why it is vital to every person. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work,” (NKJV).
My husband and I started reading the Bible to our children while I was still pregnant. As babies, Bible time became a part of their daily routines. I wanted to make sure that my husband and I were intentional about making the Bible a natural part of every day. It was my hope that if my children understood the Bible and had fun with Bible reading that they would grow to love God’s word and want to use it in their lives.
Here are a few tips that I hope you can use to help your children love God’s Word:
1. Read it
We gather together as a family at the end every day for Bible reading and a devotional. We try really hard not to skip a day. If we ever forget, our children will remind us. Here is how we have progressed through our Bible reading time as our children have grown.
In the womb– When I was pregnant I would read the Bible to my baby. Research now shows that babies can hear while in the womb and recognize words after they are born. “Babies in the womb can hear their parents read. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reinforces what many people had believed—babies hear what their moms say and their brains recognize these words after birth.” (http://www.today.com/parents/unborn-babies-are-hearing-you-loud-clear-8C11005474)Babies– I would read the Bible as I rocked them to sleep. This was a great way for me to study my Bible and also for the baby to hear Bible words and become even more familiar with them.
Toddlers– At this age, I would read the stories in exciting voices. I would also talk about the characters. It is important to make sure your children understand that everything you are reading is true and actually happened.
Children and Teens– Even though they are older we still read to them and sometimes they take turns reading to us. Now is a good time for them to also add personal reading to their day. Have your children set aside a time each day and start reading from the Bible. They can make it a daily routine.
2. Give them their own Bible.
Teach them to appreciate it, carry it with them, and read it for themselves.
Toddlers– When my children were toddlers, we let them start carrying the little gift Bibles that they received when they were born. These Bibles are small, easy to carry, and you can begin teaching your children to turn the pages of their Bibles carefully. Let them look at it when the preacher begins his sermon or when you do Bible reading at night.
Children and Teens– We let our children have a “regular” Bible at this age. We let each one have his name on his own personal Bible. There is something about having your own Bible makes you want to take care of it, take it with you, read it, and use it.
3. Talk about it
We discuss lots of Bible stories and principles. We try to apply the good ones to our lives and learn from the bad ones. We go through each day talking about the Bible, as it says in Deuteronomy 11:19-20, “You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,” (NKJV).
Toddlers- Introduce your children to Bible characters. Begin discussing the good things these people did, but also the bad things they did, too.
Children- At this age, you can go into deeper discussions about people and their problems. One day we were making unleavened bread, because I wanted my children to have a hands-on lesson. This way they would be able to better understand what unleavened bread is. My older son asked at the time if we could add pepper to it. That lead us into talking about obedience and how the Israelites were supposed to do things exactly how God commanded. We then discussed whether adding pepper would be a good idea or a bad idea.
Teens- Ask them how they would handle the situations these people in the Bible were in. Talk about how to apply the Bible to their own lives. They can learn how to use the Bible to work on the problems they may be experiencing.
4. Be Creative
Games and acting are good ways to help your children learn and remember things in the Bible. One of my favorite Bible resources is the Growing Up in God’s Word Curriculum from Pryor Convictions Media.
Here is a post I wrote about it: http://www.lookatwhatyouareseeing.com/2014/03/growing-up-in-gods-word-bible.html
Toddlers- For toddlers, you could cut out a picture of Jesus and put it in the Bible and have them carefully turn the pages as they look for Him. This is also a great age to act out Bible stories. You pretend to be Goliath and your child pretends to be David or vice versa. Add props and costumes for even more fun. The number of stories you can act out together are endless.
Children and Teens– Even children these ages like to act out Bible stories with costumes and props. You can also use Lego blocks or dolls to act out various stories. This year as we studied Job for Lads to Leaders, we made up a drawing game. I read the chapter and the kids would each pick one or two things out of that chapter to draw. Then we would guess the part in the chapter to which it was referring. We learned and remembered many useful things by playing that game.
4. Go to camps, lectureships, or any place where you can meet new people and learn more about the Bible.
This will help your children to have a greater appreciation for God’s word. You can also do this while they are still in the womb.
By having Bible time as a natural part of the day, your children will expect it, look forward to it, and ask for it. And maybe most importantly, let them to see you study the Bible and use it in your life. Let your children know you are excited to read it and that you read it often. I know that there are probably many more great tips for helping to train our children to love God’s Word. What are some things you do?
By Sharla Orren
Sharla Orren lives with her family in Camden, Arkansas, where her husband is the Pulpit Minister of the Cullendale church of Christ. She loves homeschooling her two boys, ages 14 and 9. She enjoys anything involving history and weather. She also enjoys writing and speaking. You can check out her blog at, http://www.lookatwhatyouareseeing.com in which she writes about homeschooling, natural living, homemaking, and time management.