How you ever noticed we tend to forget or neglect the obvious? If you’re a Christian parent, I have no doubt you desire to teach your kids about God and the Gospel, but practically how are you doing that?
If you’re like most, you’re probably making sure your kids are involved in Sunday school, and trying your best to teach them right from wrong. Of course these are important, but they are not the most important or effective.
So what is the most important?
I am convinced the most important thing you can do for your kids is to read the Bible to them. This is the best way to teach your kids about who God is and what He has done for them. With that said, here are some tips for reading the Bible to your kids, and tips for finding time to do it.
Tips for reading the Bible to your kids:
- Pick a starting point. I recommend starting at the first verse of John’s Gospel. John is a great narrative about who Jesus is and what He has done, and how belief and trust should be our response to Him. If you don’t want to start with John, just pick a different book, but make sure you start at the beginning and plan to read through the whole book.
- Read from heading to heading. This my favorite way to read the Bible to my kids because it’s short enough to keep their attention, while long enough to develop complete thoughts. So for instance, the first heading of John says, “The Word Became Flesh”, so start there. Then stop just before verse 19 which is the next heading, “The Testimony of John the Baptist”. Then the next day, begin at verse 19 and read until you hit the next heading. This will take about 3-5 minutes to read.
- Ask one or two questions about what you read. After reading the verses to your kids, ask them simple questions such as, “What did these verses tell us about Jesus?”, or “How would you summarize the verses we just read?” Sometimes the questions will come easy, sometimes they will not. The questions aren’t the most important, reading the Bible is.
- Use the verses to pray to God. After reading and asking a few questions, end your time repeating back to God what you saw in His word. For instance, after reading John 1:1-18, you might pray something like this, “Father thank you for sending Jesus into the world so that by believing is His name we might become your children.”
Tips for finding time to read the Bible to your kids:
- Bedtime. If your kids are like mine, they would rather stay up than go to bed. Use this to your advantage. Before you read books to your kids, open up the Word and read the Bible to your kids.
- In the mornings. A great time to sit down and read the Bible with your kids is when they are eating breakfast at the table or on the bar.
- On the go. I usually take my boys to school in the mornings, so I often use that time to play the Bible through the radio using the free ESV Bible app. If you are worried about using data, you can download the podcast “Faith Comes by Hearing” and download chapters when connected to WIFI.
- Be Creative. My kids are masters of delay before bedtime. About the time we start moving towards bedtime, our boys start begging for a night time snack (not because they are hungry, but because they don’t want to go to bed). So instead of getting frustrated by this, I started leveraging it for good. We now call this “Bread before Bed”, and we eat a snack while also eating God’s Word (Bread) together.
- Mix it up. If you’re like me, you will be forgetful and inconsistent about reading the Bible with your kids. But instead of calling this inconsistent, We’ll just call this mixing it up. If you forget to read at bedtime, read at breakfast. If you forget to read at breakfast, listen in the car. If you miss an entire day or even an entire week, don’t sweat it. Just start again the next day and continue reading the Bible to your kids.
Simply put, if you want to leave a legacy of faith with your kids, one of the most profound things you can do as a parent is to read the Bible to them. Not only will this allow God to speak directly to them, it will also show them that the Bible is not just a churchy thing, but an everyday life thing. That the Bible is your authority and it should be theirs as well.
So for heaven’s sake, read the Bible to your kids tonight! It’s easier than you think, and it might just save their life.