Author Topic: Want to Read the Bible with Your Kids More? Here are 7 Easy Steps  (Read 8 times)

Sweetpea

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Want to Read the Bible with Your Kids More? Here are 7 Easy Steps
Asheritah Ciuciu
OneThingAlone.com

I used to think that reading the Bible alone, quietly, contemplatively, is the “right” way to have my daily devotions. And while there’s value in solitude, I was surprised to find there’s no mandated daily “quiet time” in Scripture.    In fact, the Bible says much more about reading God’s Word aloud in community than reading alone. From Moses to Joshua, from Nehemiah to Isaiah, the Israelites practiced the public reading of God’s Word. Jesus Himself read out loud from Isaiah 61 in the synagogue (Luke 4:17-21), and Paul exhorted Timothy to devote himself to the public reading of Scripture (1 Timothy 4:13).  And yet in recent generations, the emphasis on private devotions has oftentimes replaced public readings and, sadly, led to a decline in Biblical literacy and consistency. Recent studies reveal that 61% of Americans want to read their Bible more, yet only 23% actually see an improvement year over year.  I believe it’s time to reintroduce a new generation to this ancient practice, inviting our children to join us in reading the Bible aloud while continuing to cultivate our own quiet time with the Lord privately as well. I’ve started reading the Bible with my kids, and while I don’t do this every day, getting creative with my Bible reading time has been so rewarding both for me and for my little ones too!  In our home, we call this practice "Bible and Breakfast," and it’s revolutionized our morning meals together. Here are a few ideas to help your family gather around God’s Word together:

1. Pick a simple plan.

Find a simple plan that works for you and your family. For 2019, we’re reading through the Gospels, one paragraph a day, a few times a week during breakfast. Some days we may read a whole chapter, while other days we stop after a few verses, but following a simple plan eliminates the extra hurdle of “What should we read today?”

Just pick up where you left off. 

2. Keep little hands busy.


I usually start reading while my kids are still eating, and when they’re done munching, the notebooks and crayons come out.  Sometimes, I pull out my own Bible journal and sketch a simple visual of our reading, which my preschooler and toddler mimic (Stick figures, I promise!). All the while, we talk about what we’ve read and what it means.

3. Have fun!

Really! Use different voices for different characters, make exaggerated hand motions, or use simple props. One day we ate honey after reading about John the Baptist (Matthew 3:4). Another day I searched the pantry for a mustard seed to show them how small it really was (Matthew 13:31-32). We’ve also reenacted narratives, our baby playing King Herod or the lost sheep whoever has the least number of lines. It’s hilarious, but the whole time I know the seed of God’s Word is penetrating my children’s hearts as well as mine.

4. Embrace interruptions.
Slide 4 of 7

Whatever idyllic picture you have in mind of our Bible & Breakfast time, I promise it’s more chaotic than that. Sometimes I’m hopping up every other minute to grab a napkin or refill a water cup or grab extra snacks for the baby, and I read the same sentence 6 times. It may feel like an exercise in futility, but they’re hearing and learning, and so am I. So we keep at it. Also, I’m amazed by their questions: “What does authority mean?” “Who were the tax collectors?” “Why was the woman bleeding for twelve years?” You and I don’t have all the answers (and that’s okay), and we may not be keeping up with our ideal reading schedule (and that’s okay). Instead, let’s focus on fostering a love for God’s Word by modeling that love for them and not rushing the process.

5. Look for Jesus.

I’ll admit: it’s easy to miss this step. But in my own devotional reading, this little practice has changed everything. The primary reason we read Scripture is to know and love God more, not to extract a morality lesson or add to our to-do list. Simply ask yourself and your kids: “What do we learn about Jesus here?” You may be surprised by what they say. I’ve been writing our answers in the margins of my Bible, along with the date, which helps us remember what we’re learning and also records our progress.

6. Pray, pray, pray.

I probably should have started my list with this point. Before we start our Bible & Breakfast time, I ask God to help us understand more than we think we can and to open our eyes to see Jesus in the text. After our reading and looking for Jesus, I end with a simple prayer asking God to help us remember what we’ve read and to grow to be more like Jesus. And I encourage my kids to respond to God too. I’m often surprised how perceptive their prayers are.

7. Keep it simple.

I didn’t set out to have “family devotions.” Honestly, that term intimidates me, probably because I have this ideal notion of what it should look like. If I made an elaborate plan that includes a daily text, crafts, and a memory verse, I’ll probably procrastinate. It’s human nature. So I’m circling back to the point I started with: do what works for you, and keep it simple. You’ll be more likely to stick with it.

When I first started Bible & Breakfast, I was hoping this practice would give me more opportunities to talk about Jesus with my kids, and it has. And I was hoping it would create lots of fond memories around the breakfast table. It has done this also.  But you know what’s been most surprising about reading the Bible with my kids? I really enjoy it! Truly, I wasn’t expecting that. But in following the pointers I shared above, I discovered a newfound love of God’s Word, and I’m reading it more on my own too.

Do you read the Bible aloud, alone or with your kids?

What are some other fun, creative ways you read the Bible?