by Liz Alexander, Minister to Preschool & Children
One of the most important parts of your child’s spiritual growth is reading and understanding their Bible. To a child (and even adults) picking up the Bible to read can seem like a mountain of a task, but it doesn’t have to be! The Bible is God’s written Word for us to read and help us grow. God speaks to us through His Word, and it is so important for us to know so we can share the Gospel and live a life pleasing to Him. In my last blog post, I shared with you how to pick a Bible that best suits your child for their spiritual growth. Now’s the time to use it!
So let me share with you several tips and one very big secret to helping your child in their spiritual growth by reading their Bible.
Right Time, Right Place
First, let’s start with scheduling. It’s a proven fact that schedules and routines are great for kids, like bedtime, meals, and baths. The same goes for reading the Bible.
Setting aside a specific time each day or night to read his or her Bible will help tremendously. Sure, some days it will be tough, but having a set time each day will help your child learn that reading the Bible needs to be just as an important part of their day as brushing their teeth or getting dressed. Also, be sure you are in a place where they are comfortable, and get rid of any distractions such as technology and toys.
There are several different materials that can help with your child’s Bible reading. Not only does your child need the Bible, but you might also choose to use a devotional book. These are great accessory tools to use since they are written on a child’s reading level. However, even if the devotional book has the Scripture written out for your child to read, it is very important that they use their Bible to open up and read the Scripture in context, and practice finding its place in the Bible. This is a learned skill, and teaching them at home will help them follow along at church in worship as well.
Family reading plans are another great tool to use. Our church has a family reading plan that can be found here that you may choose to use. Some of these readings can be a chapter long, so I suggest picking out a specific passage or a verse on which to focus and discuss.
So, what’s the plan? No matter what you use for your Bible reading, you do need to have a plan. First, be prepared. Gather everything you need: Bible, reading plan/devotional book, pen/pencil, and light (you have to be able to see what you’re reading). You can start with prayer, asking God to speak through His word as they read (now you’re also teaching your child to pray!). Find the passage or verse that you will be reading, and help your child understand how to use their Bible.
If your child can read, allow them to read and help them when needed. If you have a devotion that goes with the Scripture, read it next. Discuss what the verse means and what God is saying. Try to ask open-ended questions to help them think, such as "what does this word mean?" or "why would it say that?" It is also important that you allow your child to ask you questions. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know… this is a huge opportunity to teach about how to dig for answers in God’s Word.
You can also allow your child to journal what they are learning by writing or drawing about it in a simple notebook, and they will be able to look back and see what God has taught them. End with prayer by asking God to help them use what they have learned and thanking God for His Word.
The Big Secret
Now for the really big secret, are you ready?
It’s YOU! You are the secret to your child’s spiritual growth and Bible reading. As I have said before about worship, your children watch and learn from you. As they see you reading the Bible and praying, they will, too.
You can’t expect to just get them a Bible and say "read it." As their parent, you need to sit with them as they read, discuss what the verses mean, and ask what God is trying to teach them. As you sit and read with them, you will see them begin to grow, and God will use that time to change their hearts.
I’m often told that parents haven’t started reading the Bible with their child because their child has not been saved yet. Please don’t wait until they get “saved” to start reading their Bibles! Start today, and God will use this time for your child to learn what it means to follow Jesus, and, one day, you can lead them to the Lord.
God gave us these children to love and teach. It is our responsibility to help them learn how to use God’s Word and grow from reading it. May God use the time you share with your children in His word and bless you through it!
Have questions about helping your child read the Bible? Feel free to email me at email@example.com and I'd love to help!