As a boy, one of the things that impressed me the most was watching my grandpa read his Bible. He was semi-retired and read a massive amount of Scripture. He set a goal of reading God’s Word through four times a year and accomplished this for years before he died. While that was intriguing to me, his love for God’s Word was even more compelling. He talked about it all of the time. Every conversation we had ultimately turned into a lesson from God’s Word. He encouraged me to spend as much time in the Bible as I could and challenged me to read it through from cover to cover. I did when I was eight. When I told him this, he congratulated me and said, “Do it again.”
Now, all of these years later, one of my greatest desires is for my girls to love the Bible. My wife and I have tried different strategies to help deepen their love for Scripture, and these five principles have worked effectively for us.
First, Be Excited About It!
It should not be surprising, but if adults are not excited about God’s Word and expressive about their love for it, children will not be any different. Let children see you reading the Bible. Invite them over and tell them something that you learned. Let them sense your excitement at the things the Bible has taught you. When they ask questions, turn to the Bible for answers. Let them see your excitement about the Word of God, and they are likely to feed off of that.
If adults are not excited about God’s Word and expressive about their love for it, children will not be any different.
Second, Explain Where the Bible Came From
Children need to understand that the Bible is not just any ordinary book. God is the author! It was inspired by God. Children need to understand that what they have in the Bible is a recounting of the history of the Creator’s interaction with His creation. Furthermore, they need to understand how they fit into that story.
Third, Show Them How Practical It Is
The Bible is more than just a bunch of amazing stories. It is the very words of the God who created everything they can see. I love maps, and I enjoy showing my girls maps. Sometimes I pull out my phone and show them where we are located, then zoom out and let them see how big the world is compared to us. The Bible is just that kind of map of life. Apply the Bible to real life circumstances and problems in a child’s life. Show them how practical the Bible is in every situation.
Children need to know that the Bible is more than just a bunch of amazing stories. We must apply the Bible to real problems in a child’s life.
Fourth, Teach Them How to Use It
Some kids avoid the Bible because it is just so daunting, and in order for kids to start loving the Bible, they need to know how to use it. This is one of the main reasons why I am writing a series of workbooks to teach kids how to the study the Bible. Several years ago, I started looking for fun curriculum to teach my girls how to study the Bible. I found a few books, but honestly, they were boring. I have this passion that reading and studying the Bible should be the most exciting thing in the world! We need to take the mystery out of how to study the Bible. We need to show children how the Bible is organized, where it came from, how it is arranged and why it matters.
The Bible study method that I am teaching my girls through Kids Bible Travels is based on three aspects.
1. Explore. The first skill that children need to learn in how to study the Bible is Explore. This is where they read God’s Word and ask some questions to help us better understand what we are reading.
2. See. After we explore God’s Word, the next skill children need to learn is See. What do we see about God in the Scripture that we read? The entire Bible is about God. We can learn something about Him in every passage that we read and study.
3. Walk. The third skill that children need to learn in studying the Bible is Walk. This is the application part. After we explore Scripture and see God in it, then we must walk! We must do what God tells us to do.
Finally, Make Sure You Pray
We should do everything we can to get kids excited about God’s Word. We can show them how to study it and how practical it is, but our efforts are nothing in comparison to what God Almighty is capable of! He is the one who gives us the capacity to love His Word. As we are teaching our children how to study the Bible and helping to cultivate a love for it, prayer is vital.
We need to pray that God gives our children a sense of excitement and wonder about His Word. We need to pray that our children begin to have a love for His Word from little on up. We need to pray that He would give them a desire to study His Word. We need to pray that He would help them to write His Word on their hearts.
Deuteronomy 6:7 is a verse that helps motivate me in teaching children how to study God’s Word: “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
As my grandfather helped to cultivate a love of God’s Word for me, my desire is to help my girls and a new generation to passionately love God’s Word.