Once a child’s brain begins to develop, an amazing thing happens. Children begin to learn at a rapid pace. During the learning process, you can begin getting through the Bible with your kids. The Word counsels parents to:
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. —Proverbs 22:6
A child is never too young to begin listening to the Word of God. Begin reading the Bible with your child at an early age. Unbelievably, kids as young as two are able to begin understanding what God’s Word says.
An Overview of Child Language and Cognitive Development
– At age two, kids have language skills, about 50 words, and cognitive skills to recognize size and shape.
– At age three, children have command of at least 300 words and are able to solve small puzzles.
– By age four, kids can answer simple questions, use longer sentences and grasp the concepts of counting and time.
– At five, language skills evolve to rhyming, sentences begin to include details, and kids grasp the concept of geometric patterns.
– From ages six to 11, kids have a rapid development of mental skills, and are better able to talk about experiences, thoughts and feelings. During these years, kids begin to show more concern for others.
– Children ages nine to 14 have an increased attention span, begin to see other’s point of view, have increased ability for complex thought and are developing a stronger sense of right and wrong.
– As young teens become teenagers, they begin to show more concern about the future, and are able to explain their choices, whether these are right or wrong.
Developing a Plan
When you prepare to get through the Bible with your kids, do not approach it as a marathon of Bible reading. Use the Bible readings to teach kids about God and His concepts. It is more important to learn a few chapters than to read the whole Bible in a year. What you are hoping to do is to create excitement and an understanding of God’s Word and His plan for your child’s life.
Consistency is important to children. Choose a time of day you can commit to for daily reading, or for reading a few days a week. For preschoolers and young children, bedtime is an opportune time to begin Bible readings. This can continue into the early teen years, with the children having increased participation in reading and discussion.
Choose an age appropriate version of the Bible for your reading time.
– Preschoolers and young children will enjoy Leading Little Ones to God: A Child’s Book of Bible Teachings. This is written in easy-to-understand language, and covers biblical concepts like the nature of God, sin, salvation, the church, prayer and even the Second Coming.
– In elementary school, kids begin reading chapter books. At this stage, My First Holy Bible (EVS) is an excellent tool to learn about God and practice reading skills.
– For preteens and teens, the NIV Teen Devotional Bible will help you with reading and discussion points. The devotional Bible contains topics that are relevant to teens in terms of peer pressure.
Start by reading the Word aloud to your child. Stop every two or three paragraphs and talk about what the Word is saying. As children grow older, have them read the passages aloud, then discuss what God is saying through His Word.