A few weeks ago my seven-year-old daughter came to me and with her eyes glowing and said, “I love reading the Bible!” It was one of those moments when that “Mom feeling” filled my heart. (Pride, love, joy all rolled into one warm fuzzy feeling) This past September Meredith graduated from Sunday school and is now in Children’s church. Children’s church involves really studying the Bible. She will read through it completely in the next couple of years.
A few evenings a week Meredith and my husband sit down to read the assigned chapters for the week. My husband really is an excellent teacher. They read as he explains different things about the culture in that time and applies it to life today. Afterwards he asks questions about what they read, giving Meredith an opportunity to explain what she has learned. She thinks a lot about the things they have studied and asks profound questions about the Bible. Studing the Bible does affect the way that she looks at the world.
In the beginning when my husband informed her that they were going to read the Bible together, she was a little put off. She had other books she wanted to read and other things that she wanted to do. My husband made the time special, by making hot chocolate every time they would sit down to study. Now she doesn’t even ask for Hot chocolate. When her daddy says it’s time to study, she grabs the books and runs to sit with him.
As Christian families, a top priority should be planting a love for God’s word in our children’s hearts. How can we do that? First, we need to love the Word ourselves. We need to study it, embrace it and be excited about it.
Second, we need to have some good resources for teaching. The favorite Children’s Bible in our house is, “Egermeier’s Bible Story Book”. The kids like it because the stories are well-told and it has beautiful illustrations. My husband and I like it because it is in chronological order, it’s accurate and it gives bits of information about that time in History. I recommend it highly. Another book that I read to Meredith when she was preschool age is put out by a company called Rod and Staff. It’s called, “Bible Stories to Read”. The stories are told very simply and there are questions at the end that my daughter always loved to answer. There are many fabulous children’s Bibles out there. These are just my personal favorites.
Third, we need to take time to not just read the Bible to our kids, but also to explain it and to apply it to their lives. Ask them questions. When they talk about a situation they have seen, look at the Bible to see how somebody else handled a similar situation. Our kids need to see that the Bible isn’t some book about the past, but that it very much applies to how we live today.
Last, but not least, we need to make reading the Bible special. If we call them to us with an attitude that says, “C’mon, we have to read the Bible again,” they will adopt that same attitude. If we call them to us and say, “Hey kids, Let’s drink some hot chocolate and spend some time together reading God’s word,” they are going to be excited about it. They are kids. The need incentives. Eventually they will come to love this time with or without the hot chocolate.
We want our kids to know God and to walk in his truths. Psalms 119:9 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.” We give our children a tremendous gift if we teach them to hide God’s word in their hearts while they are young.