To help children love the Lord with all their heart, soul and strength, we must teach them the Scriptures (cf. Deuteronomy 6:7).
Here are ten practical suggestions for helping children read the Bible:
Do it together.
Talk about the Scriptures at home (cf. Deuteronomy 6:7). The Bible is about relationships (with God and others) and is well suited to family settings. Take turns reading/hearing it. Fix a regular time for doing it together (e.g., supper). Make it interactive and experiential.
Make it appealing.
Children draft off the emotions of their parents. Read the Bible together with excitement, wonder and passion. Be dramatic. Be expressive. Add fun elements.
Relate the Scriptures to real-life events that are happening here and now. Capitalize on teachable moments – form links to your children’s interests and experiences. Think like a boy/think like a girl. Show children the bigger picture.
Find hands-on ways to enable children to live what they learn. For example, if you’re reading about loving others, ask your children to accompany you on a hospital visit.
Talk about it.
Facilitate dialogue and discussion. Foster an environment for asking questions and making comments. Keep it conversational. Encourage children to share their thoughts. Help them reflect on their interpretations and perceptions. Chat about your own experiences and insights. Use illustrations, testimonies and stories.
Sing the Scriptures. Act them out. Use finger puppets. Make things. Write a play. Dress up. Speak with accents or different voices. Play experiential games. Eat what biblical characters ate (e.g., matzos when reading about the Passover in Luke 22).
Don’t expect too much. Don’t settle for too little. There will be stops and starts, setbacks and victories. Roll with it. Pray. Encourage your children to persevere.
Use age-appropriate resources.
Check out Scripture Union’s Bible reading guides and Scripture books for children at Christian Books Canada. And a shout-out for Phil Vischers What’s in the Bible? DVD series – it’s an excellent resource for elementary-age children.
Do it yourself.
More is caught than taught. Children learn to value what you value. Model a love for God’s Word. When children see you regularly reading the Bible, it helps them develop a Bible-reading habit.
Contribute by sharing your comments, guidelines or practical ideas for helping children read the Bible.
© Scripture Union, 2023