Imagine being a parent and explaining the story of Noah’s Ark to a toddler. You’ll likely stop in your tracks because you’ll recognize it’s the first time you realized the story wasn’t a nursery tale, acknowledging that it’s a tragedy. The earth was so corrupt that every person, besides one family, was sentenced to death.
As bad as we may think culture is now, it’s a far cry from the world being that dark. The gravity of the adorable animal story you learned as a child will hit you, and suddenly, teaching the Bible to your children starts to feel like an overwhelming job. How do you make sense of these raw and graphic stories, especially Old Testament tales, for your young kids? The answer is learning more about Bible stories on your own and finding a community to help you teach the Bible to your children.
Raising kids in the truth of God isn’t a one-person job, and it’s one of the most important things parents can do for their children. It’s the best way to learn who God is and what He has for us in this world, which isn’t always easy. We’re fortunate to live in a country where Bible reading is permitted, which isn’t the case for everyone. Children need God’s Word stored in their hearts so they can access it regardless of what happens in our world. The Bible is active and living, and it changes us.
Do you remember your first time reading the Bible? Did the words stir a fire in you, even though you didn’t fully understand what they meant? Did they breathe life into you in a way you couldn’t explain? Parents must keep bringing their children back to that active and living truth. One day, it will come alive for your children and ignite a fire in them that will grow until the day they die. Here are some ways to make Bible time a family activity.
Start by memorizing one verse at a time.
You can start this tradition when your kids are young and continue it until they’re older. You choose a verse you want them to know by heart and post it in the house. Then, practice reciting it until it’s memorized at dinner time. You could also come up with a song for the verse, but for some, a simple chant will do. These verses can become part of your dinner-time discussions. You can discuss their meaning, how to live them out, and why memorizing them matters. It’s an easy way to start studying the Bible as a family and doesn’t take too much effort. You can also make them learn verses about kindness as sibling fights abound.
Join a Bible study fellowship or community Bible study.
Bible study fellowship and community Bible study groups can be found worldwide. If you’re a parent and find one you can attend that offers a kid’s program, make it a priority to attend and join. First, you’ll learn more about the Bible than you thought possible. The curriculum goes through Bible books chapter by chapter, offering thought-provoking questions, commentary, group discussions, and a lecture. It’s a captivating space to dig deeper into God’s Word with people from various churches in your community. As you learn the Word, you’ll be better equipped to teach it to your children.
If your children or grandchildren can attend the children’s program, it would be best to bring them. It’s a beautiful, well-thought-out program led by volunteers passionate about sharing God’s truth with the next generation. From baby on up, every level is allowed to study God’s Word meaningfully. While sometimes reluctantly finishing their study guide, your kids will learn so much simply by showing up.
Find age-appropriate Bible resources.
For most parents, Bible study happens at bedtime. That’s when you sit, read books, and calm your mind and body in anticipation of rest. Some parents have invested in some easy-to-open, age-appropriate Bible books for their children over the years that they can return to during bedtime. One favorite is the “Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones. It’s written for kids but will make you cry when you read it. Another favorite is the Louie Giglio Indescribable Kids Devotionals, which are engaging, quick and filled with truths.
Often, you can align the devotions with topics your kids are studying in school, which is always fun. There are numerous fantastic resources out there for families. Try not to get overwhelmed by the choices, but choose one to two books you like and integrate them as part of your family reading routine.
Read the Bible as a family.
As your kids get older, their ability to attend to the Bible will grow, too. You can start reading Bible chapters at least once a week and then discuss them. For example, you can start with John and slowly move through the book, which is okay. Reading a few verses together weekly and discussing their meaning can spark many fun discussions in your home. Initially, your kids may struggle to talk about what they think about the text.
However, they’ll be more willing to discuss what they’ve heard with more practice. You can do these on the weekend, and either parent can lead the discussion. Your nights may be full, but slipping in 20 minutes together in the Bible can feel doable. Still, it’s essential just to make reading together a part of your family’s routine.
Go to church as a family.
The next essential element in letting God’s Word light our feet is community. Children should be in church to attend youth groups, hear the Bible lessons in children’s church, and watch you as you study with friends in small groups. They should see how their community engages with faith and God’s Word. Kids will need more than just their parents to hold onto Jesus as they age. Equip them with a village of believers they can trust when they have questions you can’t answer. The church is where you find that village.
Proverbs 22:6 reminds us to train our children in how they should go so that when they’re old, they won’t depart from it. Exposing your children to God’s Word is an essential part of what it means to train up your children in the way of the Lord. Teaching your kids to return to God becomes more necessary as the truth becomes harder to find.