“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” —Proverbs 22:6
As parents, we have a big responsibility to give our kids a foundation in faith and instruct them in Christian principles, according to God’s Word. Sitting down and reading the Bible together is an essential part of developing and nurturing their personal relationship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Sharing Bible time should be easy, right? In reality, the task can be daunting if you’re challenged with getting your kids to sit still and listen to any story or subject. So, the question becomes: How do you captivate your children and capture their interest in God’s Word?
Here are some tips to help make Bible study a fun and rewarding experience for you and your child.
First, you should pick a Bible suited for your child’s age. Younger kids will ultimately find storybook style Bibles much more engaging and fun. The one I used for my son from three to six years old is The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories by Karen Henley, illustrated by Kelly Pulley. The pictures in this book are fun and colorful and the stories are paced perfectly for short attention spans, everything from Adam and Eve to Jesus and the crucifixion are told really well, in keeping with scripture.
As your child grows, you’ll want to pick another Bible. A next great step is The Day by Day Kid’s Bible for ages 7-10 from the same author of The Beginner’s Bible. The neat thing is that it can lead your child through the Bible in one year, with just seven minutes per reading. Biblical text is simplified for younger readers, but it bridges the gap in just a pure storybook Bible. There are also colorful illustrations and a neat pictorial timeline.
Along with an age-appropriate Bible, you can also find age-appropriate daily devotionals that impart great, short lessons for living a Christian life.
You’ll ultimately want to browse in your local Christian bookstore, Amazon or ask your pastor or youth leader for recommendations and make your choices based on your own child’s age and reading level.
Build Interest by Relating
A great way to engage your child during Bible study is to relate biblical stories, scriptures and principles to their own interests or their own personal experiences. One great way is to draw them to important verses or concepts through contemporary Christian songs or traditional hymns. Match the song lyrics to the place in the Bible they are drawn from.
“This is the Day that the Lord Has Made” (Psalms 118:24), “Holy, Holy Holy” (Revelation 4:8) and “He is Lord” (Philippians 2:9-11) are three great examples. Sing the songs together, then look up the scripture and have your child, if he’s able, read it out loud.
Next, correlate biblical stories to their own personal experiences, when possible.
Has your child been bullied at school? Share stories about Joseph and his brother, Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath and talk about how God works and shows favor in each of these situations.
Does your child like super heroes and adventure stories? Talk about Moses, Elijah, David and the villains they faced. Use maps or globes to point out geographical locations to give your child a visual reference of where biblical battles and events took place.
Has your child done something nice for a friend, relative, neighbor or classmate? Point out how their kindness illustrates Jesus’ admonition to believers: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another.” —John 13:34
Overall, using pictures, stories and events that your children can relate to from their own lives will help hold your children’s interest, keep them engaged in biblical stories and teachings and help them learn how to apply God’s commandments to their lives.
Just as in school, Biblical learning can be reinforced in a fun way by getting your children actively involved in the process. Let them take notes in a journal about important lessons that Jesus teaches. Have them use a highlighter in the Bible to highlight their favorite passages. Use a different color to mark when Jesus gives a commandment, where God gives a promise, where someone showed great faith, etc.
Have fun with little ones by acting out skits and plays to illustrate Bible stories. For example, round up stuffed animals to play Noah’s ark or help them reenact the manger scene.
Encourage budding artists to draw pictures with crayons or paint, or build models with clay, or color in Biblical coloring books to capture their favorite stories. Have them make handwritten or pictorial lists or posters showing ways we can love each other and ways we can let Christ’s light within our hearts shine to those around us. Have older children copy down verses in a notebook or on index cards, and help them memorize and recite them.
You can also use CDs and DVD movies (Veggie Tales are great for younger kids!) as learning tools to supplement reading.
Most importantly, be an enthusiastic study partner, teach at your child’s pace, let your child ask questions and start and end your study with prayer and praise to the Lord asking that He guide your time spent together in His Word.
Feel free to share some of the ways you and your children learn about and study the Bible in the comments section!