The other night, after tucking our kids in bed, my wife and I laid down to get some rest when we were disturbed by a gentle knock at the bedroom door.
Ugh. Trying not to be annoyed, I grumbled, “Come in.”
With tears in his eyes, our four-year-old son shuffled into our room with his head hung low.
Oh here we go again, I thought. He’s going to try cheating bedtime again by saying he’s hungry, thirsty, or heard another monster under his bed.
“What’s wrong little man?” I sighed, as I prepared to exercise my fatherly authority to demand he go back to bed.
I wasn’t prepared for his answer.
He sobbed, “Daddy … you forgot to read me a Bible story.”
So I shouted at him, gave him a firm spanking, and threw him back in bed. JUST KIDDING!
How could I deny my son’s desire to read the Bible?
So I wrapped him in my arms and whispered for him to go get his Bible and invite his big sister if she was still awake.
With the biggest smile, he ran down the hall and soon returned with the Bible and his sister in tow.
The four of us snuggled under the covers and enjoyed the next half hour laughing and reading stories.
It was a priceless moment that I’ll cherish forever.
Look, as a Christian parent, there’s nothing more important to me than passing on my faith to my children.
If we believe Jesus is the only way to eternal life, what could be more important than helping our children grow to follow him too?
So we’ve worked hard to cultivate a deep-rooted love for the Bible in our children. We’re not perfect, but every day my daughter begs me for a Bible story on the car ride to school and my son cries if we forget to read the Bible before bed.
It’s pure joy to watch their young enthusiasm for God’s Word.
If you’re wondering how to teach your kids to love the Bible, here’s what’s working for us.
1. Focus on the stories
Fact: Kids love stories.
Stories capture their vivid imaginations.
Kids are not ready for abstract concepts and philosophical reasoning. In churches, this is why we teach kids stories of Noah, David, and Jesus instead of walking through the book of Romans.
So stick with the stories until your kids are old enough to handle other sections. You can use a shorter segment for a memory verse, but if it’s too lengthy, you’ll lose them.
2. Make it fun
You need to delight in the Bible to pass on that same enthusiasm to your children.
If you aren’t laughing together at the funny twists or marveling at the miracles, you aren’t doing it right. Too many families treat Bible reading like a punishment or a chore.
Reading the Bible with your kids should be a joy for everyone involved.
3. Keep it short
You know that your child’s attention span is limited.
You’re better to leave your kid wanting more than reading till they beg you to stop.
Keep it short, and let them beg for more.
4. Talk about it afterward
Don’t just read and be done. Debrief with them.
Ask things like, “Wow, isn’t that amazing? What do you think about that?”
Talk about the moral of the story. What was the theme? Why is it important to have faith in God, follow God’s commands, live for the right things, or stand up for what’s right?
Ask them if they have any questions.
My kids amaze me with the depth of their questions.
Sometimes they just talk about something that was funny or amazing or what we would do in the same situation. But we’ve also had fantastic conversations about life after death, how to help the less fortunate, the difference between Christianity and other beliefs that their friends have, and why Jesus is so awesome.
Don’t force the conversation, but seize the moment to explain good theology in simple terms when your kids ask for it.
5. Read it often
Find a regular time to read the Bible together as often as you can.
I tell my kids Bible stories and recite memory verses in the car every day on the way to school, and we read our kids a Bible story almost every night before bed.
They’ve grown to love this time, and won’t let us forget about it.
Just like you help your kids build a lifelong habit of brushing their teeth, you need to get them started on a lifelong habit of loving God’s Word.
6. Read it yourself
Don’t expect your kids to do what you don’t do. Actions are louder than words.
I read my Bible every day as part of my morning routine. Not only do I need this time, but I’m also aware that I’m setting the example for them.
They often ask why I read it every morning. So I tell them why the Bible is the greatest book of all time, and how it’s the way God speaks to us and teaches us the best way to live.
Don’t ask them to do what you won’t do yourself. They’ll know if you truly love the Bible or are just full of hot air.
Parents need to step up and be the spiritual leaders of their family. It’s your job. The church can’t do it for you.
7. Get age appropriate Bibles for them
When our kids were babies, we got them baby picture bibles. As they’ve grown, we’ve bought Bibles to grow with them.
For Christmas this year, we bought our son a new Bible geared towards young boys. He loves the pictures.
Now that my daughter is growing up, we gave her an age-appropriate translation (NLT) geared towards growing girls as her first full Bible. It’s her favourite colour.
I also sat down with her, showed her how to navigate it, and explained the difference between the Old and New Testament and more.
We own a lot of different Bibles that we’ve collected over the years. But we continue to invest in new Bibles as our kids grow. And every time, we write their name inside and make sure they know that this book is special.
You can’t give a three-year-old a King James Bible and expect them to love it. Start at their age level and help them mature towards the real thing.
Life will change. Your kids will grow up, and one day, you’ll pass away. But God’s Word will be the same forever.
As Bible says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
Teach your kids to love the Bible, and it’ll never fail them.
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Posted on Fri, 19 Jan 2018