4 Valuable Lessons on Children and Bible Reading by Todd Brady
Growing a gospel-centered family requires firm footing on the foundation of God’s Word. One of the ways a child gains firm footing is through the regular reading of God’s Word. In our high-tech world, electronics, handheld devices and bright screens are often more appealing to children than picking up a book of any kind.
In the midst of this technological culture, my wife and I want our five boys (two elementary-age school readers, two kindergarteners, and one toddler) to love reading—and particularly to love reading the Bible.
Since God has revealed Himself through the written Word, Christians must be readers of the Bible. Christian parents have an opportunity to lead their children to become avid Bible readers. Here are a few things you should know about cultivating a climate of Bible reading in your home.
1. More is caught than taught.
We often teach what we know, but we reproduce who we are. Telling your child to read the Bible will fall on deaf ears if he does not see you reading it for yourself.
Children should see that their parents are Bible readers. When boys see their dad’s Bible next to his chair and when they see him regularly reading his Bible, they grow in their understanding of the importance of Bible reading. They may rightly think, If Dad does it, it must be a big deal.
When it comes to lessons children learn from their parents, more is caught than taught. The habit of reading the Bible is something your child should “catch” from you.
2. Family Bible readings are powerful gatherings.
Whether at the breakfast table, right before bed or some time in between, reading the Bible as a family helps children immerse in the truths and stories of Scripture. These moments help children grow in their own appreciation of the Bible as God’s Word. You may think that Bible reading is lost on a fidgety toddler, but when you establish a routine of family Bible readings, your child will expect it as he or she grows older.
3. Keep God’s Word before your child at all times.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says that the truth of God’s Word is to be impressed on our children and that we are to instruct our children in a natural way—as we sit around the house, as we walk around, as we lie down, and as we rise.
These days, we may not bind God’s teachings on our hands or as frontlets between our eyes, and we might not write them on the doorposts of our houses and gates, but the written Word should be an ordinary and visible part of everyday family living.
4. Talk about it.
- “What are you reading in the Bible?”
- “What is God telling you in His Word?”
- “What have you learned this week?”
- “How does your Bible reading relate to what you are experiencing at school?”
These are good questions you can ask your child. When parents share their thoughts about what they are reading, children see that the Bible is a real and daily part of their lives—not something reserved for the preacher or the Sunday School teacher.
Children pick up on and often mimic the habits of those closest to them. They are more likely to read their Bibles if their parents read the Bible with them. If you truly believe in the importance of reading the Bible and if you want your child to grow into an adult who reads the Bible, be diligent to instill the habit of reading Scripture.