If you are trying to dedicate your children to God, they need to read the Bible. If you want your children to become mighty men and women of God, they need to have the scriptures imprinted on their hearts. If you want your children to make wise choices, they need to learn from God’s Word what those wise choices are. In short, if you are Christian parenting, you must find ways to teach your children the Bible and get them to love and value it in the process.
Many parents view the idea of teaching their children the Bible at home with the same fear and uncertainty many parents would have at the idea of homeschooling their kids through high school. Parents often don’t feel they understand the Bible themselves well enough to teach it to someone else. They believe they wouldn’t know where to start. There are a host of excuses parents may use, but they ignore the very real commands from God demanding that they teach their kids the scriptures – constantly.
It really isn’t as difficult as you think. If you put the following tips into use, you may find you and your children actually enjoy learning what’s in the Bible together.
- Use an NIrV Bible. There are a lot of versions and paraphrases on the market. I suggest the NIrV (The “R” is essential to get the version I am suggesting.) for several reasons. It is written on a third grade reading level and is easier to understand than other versions which are written on anything from a 7th to college reading level. I also like the fact that it is a translation and not a paraphrase, which in my experience sometimes radically changes scripture. It’s not a perfect translation, but it is close enough for kids and teens who are getting their first exposure to scripture.
- Start with the stories. Children love stories and the ones in the Bible are well written. They capture the interest of most when told with enthusiasm. Our parent website, Teach One Reach One, has a list of the over 200 best Bible stories for kids with direct links to the scriptures in the NIrV version.
- Know what points you want your child to learn from the Bible story. God could have had the writers of the Bible include a lot of different stories of things that happened than the ones they did. There was a huge gap of hundreds of years between the last writing in the Old Testament and the first events in the New Testament when God didn’t give any of the stories the weight of scripture. I believe the stories which are in the Bible are there because they have something important to teach us. If you click on any Bible lesson on the Teach One Reach One website, you will find the points we believe can be learned from each story. There may be more, but we believe these truths are important for children and teens to learn. We call them “Learning Objectives”.
- Explain cultural differences and other interesting facts connected to the Bible stories. Don’t panic! We have you covered there, too. Each of our Bible lessons contains a few interesting facts. These facts are common knowledge to those who are versed in the history and culture of the area or keep up with recent archaeological finds. For the rest of us, these are things we probably don’t know but often help us understand the Bible a little better. We have found these facts help kids and teens better understand the stories, too. Plus, they seem to really enjoy learning our interesting facts.
- Discuss with your children how they can practice the important commands and principles from the story in their lives. Hearing the story of Abraham’s lies and understanding God hates lies and lying is only part of the picture. You need to explain to your children the different types of lying (lies of omission, half-truths, etc.) and how to recognize when they are tempted to lie. They also need you to help them find ways to avoid those temptations when they arise. Wisdom is applied knowledge. Help your kids learn how to put all of that Bible knowledge into practice.
So, find some times when you can study the Bible with your children. It is one of the most important gifts you can give them.