By Patrick Showers, Associate Elementary Pastor
Woodland Hills Church
I love reading the Bible, especially the stories of how God is always actively involved in the lives of His creation and humans. Throughout the Bible, people encounter God in amazing ways. From face to face, a whisper in the wind, a burning bush, angels, a pillar of fire, His prophets, Jesus, miracles, healings, divine interventions, and the Holy Spirit. He is a God who makes Himself known and has endless examples of ways to engage mankind. The Bible also provides several stories of people who made mistakes, who experienced God yet still turned away, and of people who followed God no matter the cost. So many good and bad examples, yet a common theme runs throughout the Bible: God loves us and wants to redeem what was lost.
So, how do we help our children get excited about the Bible?
The first place to begin is with you. Kids learn just as much from observing parents as from listening to their guidance. By reading and studying our Bibles, we set a great example. An improved understanding of what’s in the Bible helps you to share with your children as you teach them how to read and study their Bibles for themselves.
The Bible provides a ready source of wisdom and real life stories that are relevant to situations your family may experience. By connecting God’s Word to these situations, you help your children realize the Bible isn’t just stories but is God’s Word. For example, if your child is caught stealing, you can review what God has to say about theft, as well as the impact of His grace through Jesus. A quick search on Biblegateway.com can provide Scripture topics and references to share with a child.
Read the Bible together. Start when a child is little by reading a picture Bible, and then, as they get older, read from a regular Bible together. When your child becomes confident in his or her reading ability, celebrate by purchasing a Bible for them to own. Teach your child how to highlight or underline verses that are helpful to them. Take time to gather as a family and read a Bible story or chapter together and discuss it.
Have fun with the Bible. Reenact stories together with simple props. You can narrate while the kids act out the various parts. Encourage kids to retell a story on their own or draw their favorite part. Use crazy Bible trivia to point out some of the funny and strange things in Scripture. Print coloring pages from the internet, create a comic strip about a story, or try memorizing Bible verses together as a family.
Pull God’s Word into the rhythm of your daily life. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, God provides a framework for teaching our children about His Word as a routine part of the morning and bedtime activities. Tie Scripture to elements of life throughout your day. When eating together at the table, talk about God’s Word or have kids share what they are learning from reading the Bible or church.
Ultimately, the best approach is just being intentional, looking for opportunities to connect God’s word to everyday life. Share your excitement about God’s Word whenever you can. Search for a consistent place for Bible reading to occur in your life and the life of your children. The result will be a living legacy where your kids seek God’s Word as their primary source of wisdom, life lessons, and grace.