I remember feeling the full weight of my leather-covered adult Bible when I first sat down to teach my kids. At that moment, the responsibility seemed overwhelming. Questions flooded my mind: “Where do I start? How much should I read? What should I say?” And the biggest question of all: “Am I even qualified to do this?”
But teaching the Bible to my children was easier than I thought. It’s easier than most parents think. Here are a few helpful tips I’ve learned along the way:
Start with the stories. There’s a reason story Bibles are so popular. Who wouldn’t be captivated by stories about giants, battles, miracles and shipwrecks? These stories are in your adult Bible with even more detail. Read Genesis, Exodus, 1 Samuel, the Gospels and the book of Acts. Watch your children get excited about what will happen next.
Shorter is better. All you need is ten minutes a day. Read a shorter passage—not a whole chapter—using your Bible’s chapter subdivisions as a guide. Ask a few simple questions after you read. Let the discussion go where it will—then pray. Keep your Bible at the dinner table, and pick up where you left off the next day. After a couple of weeks, your children might remind you that it’s Bible study time.
Be prepared for distractions. It’s no surprise that children’s attention spans are short. I’ve blown more than one family Bible study by getting frustrated when my children lost focus. Allow distractions to run their course. Pause for a minute, and then draw your children’s focus back to what you are reading.
Look for Jesus. Stories in the Old Testament look forward to Christ: God providing a deliverer to save His people and blood sacrifices being offered up for sin. And every New Testament story points to Jesus. In each Bible story you read, look for Him.
Faithfulness over time is what’s important. Consistency is more important than a fantastic devotion. Don’t forget that it’s the power of the gospel that transforms children’s lives, not the quality of our presentation. Often, your family Bible study is going to feel average. Just remember that the impact we leave on our children takes place over years.
Try these resources:
Long Story Short: Ten Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God by Marty Machowski
The Big Picture Story Bible by David R. Helm
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Step into the Bible: 100 Stories for Family Devotions by Ruth Graham