Reading the Bible with Children- Training Wheels, Treasures, Truth
#reality- It is super, totally, really hard to do.
For one, there’s a lot of big words, even if you aren’t reading King James. Even if verses are readable, it’s hard to see how they are connected. There are difficult passages to wrap our heads around and even more of a challenge to explain to our kids...
“Yeah, so, King David was watching Bathsheba taking a bath”
“Yes, Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son, but no worries, I won’t do that to you”
“So Sodom and Gomorrah were super evil and God destroyed them all, except Lot!”
Several other examples could go here, but you get the point. The Bible is a difficult book for kids and adults alike.
But here’s the thing. The Bible has been literally transforming lives for millennia, challenging passages and all. There must be, logically, something there that changes everything in our lives and makes us more into the likeness of who Jesus is.
Where do we begin? Let’s think of teaching kids the Bible as training wheels, treasure, and truth.
Training Wheels- no one gets on a bike and automatically knows how to ride. There is a series of steps one must take to be able to ride a bike successfully. When teaching our kids to read the Bible we need to keep the training wheels on and then take them off. And then we may put the training wheels back on, but then take them off again. The goal is always the same, we want to take the training wheels off.
For babies and toddlers, we read them stories. We tell them simple truths like Jesus loves you. God made you fearfully and wonderfully. We let them know the wonder and delight of a God who created them and loves them.
For preschoolers, we continue with stories, and talk about how God wants us to live. He wants us to love each other. He wants us to be kind. He wants us to have joy. We help them start to memorize simple Bible verses that instill truth into their hearts.
For elementary age kids, we start to take off those training wheels. Not only are they memorizing scripture, learning more stories, and letting God’s word transform how we live, but they are learning to read the Bible on their own. Start by giving them small chapters or verses of the Bible to read independently. Have them come back and talk to you about what they read. Ask them what stuck out at them. Ask them how God wants them to live.
For teenagers, it’s now all about the journey to independence and riding with freedom. Even though they can write a bike wherever they want, but they still have to follow and abide by the rules. They must look both ways before crossing a street, they don’t want to ride into traffic, and they most definitely need a guide to tell them where to go. Let them know it’s OK to have questions. Let them know it’s OK to wrestle with some verses and who God is. God is a good and loving father. He can handle it. Give your testimony and guidance, but ultimately kids will have to make their own judgment calls and internalized truths themselves. Trust God to reveal Himself to your child.
Treasure- God’s word is truly full of treasure. However like any good treasure the sun is in searching for it. Things of value come at a high price. There has to be a journey, an adventure, and exploration to get to the wonderful riches that God has for each and everyone of us. Have your kids go searching for things in the Bible, whether it’s passages on love, or stories about bravery. But continue to let their hearts know this is a treasure worth seeking. And when it is found, their lives will be forever changed.
Truth- whether we can grasp it or not, whether we can wrap our heads around it or not, God’s word is the ultimate truth and the only truth. Jesus, Himself, is truth personified. There will be so many difficult things that we will wrestle with in the Bible and our children too. However, when we bring ourselves and our children back to the simple word TRUST, therein our answer lies. God‘s ways are higher than ours. God‘s thoughts are higher than ours. He is wisdom, He is light, He is love. Period. For what we can’t comprehend or understand, we must trust Him. He has proven he is good. He has proven he is faithful from generation to generation. Every story of triumph and tragedy, points back to the Savior and our need of Him. As we let these words soak into our soul, constantly praying, Lord help me to know you more by reading your word, I firmly believe He will reveal himself to each and everyone of us, including our children.
Take on the challenge, and take on the leap to teach your child how to read the Bible.
Did you know that Psalms 119 is The longest chapter in the Bible? Read it today