6 Ways to Help Your Kids Love Reading the Bible

Growing Good Habits

What could be more important than teaching your kids to read the Bible? What better habit would you want them to have? But it’s hard to do. Bad habits are like weeds. You have to do nothing to cultivate them. Good habits, like growing flowers or plants, need time, care, and attention.

With time, care, and attention, we can help our kids cultivate the habit that will keep them close to God, keep them believing the gospel and the promises of God, keep them in step with the Holy Spirit, and keep the flame of the love for Christ burning bright. Here are six ways that might help.

1. Just read it.

There are many Bible plans out there and many devotional aids. These can be very helpful. When you face a daunting task, it’s good to have a path and a plan. But sometimes we are awash in a sea of choices, and sometimes not all plans fit our unique situations. Don’t feel pressure to read a lot of Scripture each day. Don’t feel pressure to follow something just because it works for others. Try the Goldilocks approach. Read just enough for your family and your kids’ unique attention span and context. You can always ramp up, adding more and stretching them later once you’ve established some patterns. But just start. Maybe even read less than you think they can handle. Wouldn’t it be great if your family Bible time ended with your kids asking for more?

Bible History ABCs

Bible History ABCs

Stephen J. Nichols

This one-of-a-kind ABC book follows the timeline of the Bible from A to Z, containing corresponding Scripture passages, descriptions, classical fine art, and whimsical illustrations. Written for kids up to age 7, but engaging enough for the whole family.

Also, realize there will be days that go awry, and reading the Bible will get missed. I remember hearing a well-known Bible scholar once say that if he were to create a daily Bible reading plan for the year, he would include skip days. He added that he would not do that to encourage skipping. But sometimes we miss. Missing can lead to guilt. Guilt can lead to more missing. Before you know it, well-intentioned plans get shelved. The Bible reading becomes sporadic and soon gets eclipsed.

Realize that there will be misses. Just pick it up the next day. Just read it.

2. Camp out in a book.

Pick a book of the Bible and stay with it for a month—or even two. Read a chapter a day together one week. If it’s a small enough book, and you’re not taxing young attention spans too much, read through the whole book in a sitting. Or two. The next week, focus on some key verses. Memorize one of them. Read the book, reread the book, and read it again. Mastering biblical books one book at a time can become a lifelong delightful task.

3. Arts and craft it.

Try an entirely different way of reading the Bible altogether. Print off an entire book of the Bible. You can do this easily at ESV.org. Now tape the pages together creating a running document. Roll it up and you have a scroll. This was how the Old Testament was read. It was how Jesus would have encountered the Bible.

Want to go one step further? Try printing off the biblical book without chapter divisions and verse divisions. This was how the Bible was originally written. Chapter divisions first came around the 1200s. The Wycliffe Bible, an English translation of the Latin text of the Bible, was the first Bible to use chapter divisions. That was in 1382. Verse divisions did not appear until the Stephanus Greek text in 1551. The Geneva Bible, 1560, was the first English Bible to have verse divisions. Try reading a biblical book like a scroll—a scroll that you made.

Why would kids want to go anywhere else for their direction or guidance in life once they have been enthralled by the truth and the beauty of Scripture?

4. Hear the Bible together.

When the New Testament Epistles were first written, copies of the books would have been very, very scarce. When believers gathered together for church they heard the word of God read. This was Jesus’s experience as a child in the synagogue. He, himself, read the Bible to those gathered to hear. Hearing the Bible can be a helpful way to introduce large portions of the text to younger kids. Hearing the Bible can bring fresh perspectives to the text. Hearing the Bible together can bring families together.

5. Go to church ready to be taught the Bible.

Church can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. The New Testament declares church to be a place where we go to hear the word of God preached. We go to be taught the word of God. Perhaps you can look up the text for Sunday ahead of time and read it together Saturday night. Read the text together again after the sermon. Think together about what the text means, and discuss together how you could apply the text in your life and how your kids can apply it.

6. Talk about the beauty of the Bible.

Theologians often speak of Scripture’s four attributes: clarity, necessity, sufficiency, and authority. These words help us understand the historic, orthodox doctrine of Scripture. I want to add a fifth: beauty. Scripture is a work of art. It has brilliantly crafted narrative, concise poetry, fantastical prophecy, and apocalyptic literature. The Bible is the most beautiful book ever written. Enjoy, even savor, reading the Bible. By helping kids see the beauty of Scripture, you’re not only helping them read it, you’re teaching them to love it.

Why would kids want to go anywhere else for their direction or guidance in life once they have been enthralled by the truth and the beauty of Scripture?

There are so many other ways to teach kids to love reading the Bible. The important thing is to start, and to keep at it. The Enemy would want nothing more for your kids than for their Bibles to go unread. But God has other plans for you and your family. He’s given us his word. And He’s commanded us to read it, to love it, and to live it.

Stephen J. Nichols is the author of Bible History ABCs: God’s Story from A to Z.



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