Reading the Bible with your children

I posted a while back about Don’t Wimp Out of Family Devotions. It can be a struggle to find the time to pray and read the Bible together as a family and we need to keep persevering. But in this post I want to talk about reading the Bible with your children as part of a daily routine.

One of the challenges is knowing what to do with them, and finding things that are appropriate for their age. Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve used:

  • Children’s Bibles – this is perhaps the easiest option. We have several different children’s Bibles that we make use of. Not all of them are of the same quality. The Jesus Storybook Bible stands out as one of the best, but variety is good, and we have some others by Lion, Christian Focus, and Crossway.
  • We made our own children’s edition of the book of Matthew, where I summarised each story in a sentence, and the children drew a picture to represent it.
  • I also started to make a “Girl’s Story Bible” for my daughter Lily which attempted to trace through the story of the gospel through the stories of the women in the Bible. It was great fun, and I really should dig it out and finish it off as I only got as far as Rahab.
  • Good News Bible – quite often I just get my 10 year old to read a chapter of the Good News Bible out loud to me. He gets to choose what he reads. He usually picks either a random Psalm or the next bit of Acts which we are working through, having finished Luke last year.
  • Memorisation – I know I’ve blogged about this before, but I want to underscore that your children are capable of memorising short passages of scripture without too much time commitment. Just get them to repeat the passage out loud every night for a month and they will pick it up.
    • I also tried teaching them Martin Luther’s catechism for children. That one didn’t work out too well.
  • Children’s Bible Reading Notes – We’ve used Pens and Topz from CWR. Sometimes I feel these can be a little over-simplified, but the children really enjoy them.
  • I’ve read a few story books with Christian themes – the Narnia series being the obvious example. I’d like to try some of the Patricia M St.John books on them at some time. Sadly, I don’t know of many up to date examples of Christian authors writing similar books. Do let me know in the comments if you know of any.
    • I also want to get hold of some of the Christian “graphic novels” I have seen advertised recently (e.g. this one on Martin Luther or the Action Bible) as I think my 10 year old will love them. Has anyone given these a go?

Please don’t interpret this as me saying I heroically do some amazing devotional time every night with every child individually without fail. Sometimes it falls by the wayside. Sometimes we do it but it is horribly rushed. Sometimes they pay no attention at all.

But ultimately, I think that, as with family devotions, the important thing is just to ‘do something’ and ‘stick at it’, (as Gary Boal wisely pointed out in the comments last time). Find what works for you, and be on the lookout for creative ideas. When you miss a day (or a week or a month), don’t feel guilty or discouraged, just get going again. And tell me in the comments what you’ve found that works.

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