Encourage Children to Read the Bible

Encourage Children to Read the Bible

The new school year is well underway. If your children are like most kids, their schedules are already packed with tasks and activities—homework, sports practice, music lessons, church programs, friends, family, and more.  But what about Bible reading? Are you helping them to prioritize reading the Bible as a daily, beneficial habit? Do you want to be able to say to your children what Paul said to Timothy?

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that ethe man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:14-17

In his article, “How Can I Get my Kids to Read the Bible?” David Murray says he's thought a lot about this question.

“How can I get my kids to read the Bible for themselves?” I’ve been asked that by many frustrated Christian parents. I’ve asked it myself!…Here’s what I’ve learned from my own experience and from talking with many parents and pastors.

He then outlines six ways to encourage your children in Bible reading:

  • Make it a priority
  • Make it a joy
  • Make it a habit
  • Make it do-able
  • Make it accountable
  • Make it Gospel-centered

I found this portion from Murray’s article especially applicable:

Christian parents must prioritize the Bible above all other subjects. Yes, there are many subjects to teach our children, but teaching them to study the Bible is the most important by far. And communicating that priority to our children is the first and most essential step in that process.

By our own example of personal Bible reading, by reading of the Bible together as a family, and by regular attendance at a Bible-focused church, we are sending a message that will make teaching them to study the Bible for themselves so much easier. If they see that we clearly view the Bible as the greatest book in the world, it’s far more likely that they will want to read it for themselves.
(You can read the entire post here.)

A few ideas from my own experience with children:

  • Use an actual Bible, not a storybook or abridged Bible. While there is a place for such resources, they should not replace children reading the actual Holy Bible, even if it is only a few verses a day for younger children.
  • “Be there” to help your child if necessary. For some children, having dad or mom sit alongside them will greatly increase the likelihood of making this a special time.
  • Create a quiet space or place that is conducive to reading. Make sure distractions and digital media are out of reach.
  • Consider an incentive plan. For example, 30 days of Bible reading means getting to go out for ice cream with dad. Hopefully, prayerfully, over time, a child will realize that the benefits of reading God’s Word are immeasurably more delightful than any treat!
For more help to encourage children to not only read the Bible, but also study and rightly respond to it, read Sally Michael’s article, "How Children Can Read and Respond to the Bible," along with the featured resources.
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