This job of raising our kids in the truth is not a one-man job! Teaching the Bible is one of the most important things we can do as parents. It is the best way we can learn who God is and what he has for us in this world.
The first time I told the story of Noah’s Ark to my toddler, I stopped in my tracks because it was the first time I realized this was not a nursery story, this was a tragedy. Earth had become so corrupt that every person, aside from one family, was sentenced to death. As bad as we may think our culture is now, we are a long way from the world being that dark. The gravity of the cute animal story that I had also learned as a kid hit me, and suddenly teaching my kids the Bible felt like an overwhelming task. How could I make sense of these graphic and raw stories, especially from the Old Testament, for my young kids?
The answer for me was, I had to learn more about these stories on my own first, and also find a community that would help me teach my kids the Bible. This job of raising our kids in the truth is not a one-man job! Teaching the Bible is one of the most important things we can do as parents. It is the best way we can learn who God is and what he has for us in this world, but it’s not always easy. We are fortunate to live in a country in which reading the Bible is allowed, but that may not always be the case. Our kids need the word stored up in their hearts, so they can have access to the truth, no matter what happens in our world.
The Bible is living and active, it changes us. I remember as a teen girl, reading the Bible on my own for the first time. The words stirred me, even if I didn’t understand all that they meant. They felt like life, in a way that I couldn’t explain. We have to keep bringing our kids back to that alive and active truth. One day it too will come alive for our kids and light a fire in them that will grow until the day they meet their maker.
Here are some ways to make Bible study a family activity:
1. Start with Memorizing One Verse at a Time
We started this when our kids were young and continue the tradition today. We choose a verse we want them to know by heart and post it somewhere in our dining room. Then we practice reciting it until it becomes second nature at dinner time. My very creative husband usually comes up with a cute song for the verse, but if it’s up to me, a simple chant will have to do.
These verses become a part of our dinner time discussion. We like to talk about what we think they mean, how we can live them out, and why memorizing them matters. It’s a simple way to begin studying the Bible as a family that doesn’t take too much effort. I also love making my kids learn all the verses about kindness as sibling squabbles are a constant.
2. Join Community Bible Study or Bible Study Fellowship
CBS and BSF groups can be found across the globe. If you are a parent and find one that you can attend that offers a children’s program, make it a priority to join and attend. First of all, you will learn more about the Bible than you probably thought was possible. The curriculum goes through books of the Bible chapter by chapter, offers thoughtful questions, groups discussion, commentary, and a lecture. It’s a beautiful space to dig deep into the word of God with men and women from a variety of churches in your community. As you learn the word, you will be much better equipped to teach it to your kids.
If your children or grandchildren can attend the kid’s program, bring them! It’s a wonderful, well thought out program led by volunteers who are passionate about sharing God’s truth with the next generation. Every level from baby on up is given the chance to study God’s word in a meaningful way. My kids, while they sometimes bemoan completing their study guide, have learned so much just by showing up the past several years with me, first at BSF and then CBS. The programs are very similar, so plug into whichever one is closest to you.
3. Find Age-Appropriate Bible Study Resources
Bible study happens for us mostly at bedtime. That’s when we sit and read books and calm our bodies in anticipation for rest. We’ve invested in a handful of easy-to-open, age appropriate Bible based books for our kids over the years that we can keep going back to during that bedtime ritual. One of my all-time favorite books is the Jesus Storybook Bible by: Sally Lloyd-Jones. It’s written for kids but makes me cry every time I read through it. It’s a Bible based study that we can read with our 11- and 2-year-old in the room and everyone can enjoy it.
We also have loved the Louie Giglio Indescribable kids devotionals. He has a few now and they all are quick, engaging, and full of truth. Oftentimes we can align the devotions with topics we are studying in school, which is super fun. There are so many amazing resources out there for families. Don’t get overwhelmed by the choices, just choose one or two books you love and make them a regular part of your reading routine as a family.
4. Read the Bible Together
As our kids have gotten older, their ability to attend to the Scripture has grown too! My husband has begun reading chapters of the Bible with my boys at least once a week and then talking about them. He started in John and is moving through the book at snail speed. That’s okay! Simply reading a few verses together weekly and then talking about what they mean has sparked many fun conversations in our home.
At the start, our boys struggled to converse about what they thought about the text. But the more practice they have had, the more they are willing to discuss what they are hearing. We do this one on the weekend because it’s a Dad-led task. Our nights get full, so slipping in 20 minutes of time together in the Bible on a Saturday or Sunday feels more doable. But mostly, it’s important to just make reading together a part of your family rhythm.
5. Attend Church and Small Group Together
The next key element in letting God’s word be a lamp to our feet is community. Our kids need to be in church with us. Let them hear the Bible lessons in kid’s church, attend youth groups, and watch you study with friends in small groups. They need to see how their community is engaging with their faith and the word of God. As they age, our kids will need more than just us to hold onto Jesus. Equip them with a village of believers that they can trust when they have questions you can’t answer for them. Church is where you find that village.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Exposing our kids to God’s holy written word is a key part of what it means to train our kids in the way of the Lord. As truth has become harder to find, teaching our kids to go back to the primary source becomes more vital than ever.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Halfpoint
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. She has most recently published a devotional, Comfort: A 30 Day Devotional Exploring God's Heart of Love for Mommas. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
Are you in the trenches with your toddlers or teens? Read Rhonda's full article here!