“Have you taken your vitamins?”
“Did you drink enough water?”
“Did you eat a proper lunch?”
Do these sound like familiar questions?
What our children eat and how it affects their health is of utmost importance. Many of us go to great lengths to ensure that they eat properly. We also pay similar attention to their “academic diets”:
“Did you do your homework?”
“Have you studied for your test yet?”
“What assessment books did your teacher say you should get?”
All these questions, and the concern underlying them, are all valid and well-intentioned. But what about their spiritual diets? When was the last time we asked our kids:
“Have you read the Bible yet?”
1 Peter 2:2 uses the image of newborn babies craving milk to illustrate that we are to crave God’s Word with the same feeling and need.
And that’s true both for ourselves and our children: an appetite for God’s Word is of utmost importance to our spiritual health, and it all begins with reading the Bible.
A Sheepy Adventure
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A Habit for the Home
In Deuteronomy 6:1–9, Moses gave parents in the Israelite community meticulous commands to obey God’s Word and teach it to their children.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (vv. 6–7)
The Israelites gathered regularly to hear God’s law being read and taught to them. Yet Moses also instructed them to teach it to their kids at home and during the normal course of daily life.
Our passion for God’s Word, and our desire to obey Him, should translate into making God a natural topic of conversation anytime, anywhere.
This showed that the moral and spiritual education of our children should not be confined to formal settings like church services, Sunday School, youth fellowship meetings, and group Bible study. Instead, our passion for God’s Word, and our desire to obey Him, should translate into making God a natural topic of conversation anytime, anywhere.
An Example for Our Kids
In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul credits Timothy’s “sincere faith” to the heritage of his protégé’s grandmother Lois and mother Eunice, who had likely taught him God’s Word and shown, by example, what it meant to be a follower of Christ.
In 3:10–15, Paul, too, offers his own life as an example for Timothy to follow, and urges him to hold on to what he has learnt:
“Continue in what you have learned
and have become convinced of,
because you know those from whom you learned it,
and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures,
which are able to make you wise for salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus” (vv. 14–15)
Clearly, we are not only to encourage our children to read the Bible, but also to inspire and teach them through our own example as followers of Christ. While many preachers, Bible teachers, and Sunday School teachers do well in teaching God’s Word to their congregations, the Bible itself makes clear that God’s intention is for us as parents to lead and guide our children in His Word.
The Bible itself makes clear that God’s intention is for us as parents to lead and guide our children in His Word.
So how can we place the Bible at the centre of our children’s lives? Here’s some practical handles to consider:
1. Read the Bible ourselves
Our children’s reading of the Bible starts with us. When our children see our own love for God’s Word and witness how our lives are transformed by the Bible, they will naturally be intrigued.
2. Pray regularly
Pray for your children to develop the appetite for God’s Word. And even if their interest in the Bible seems to be waning, don’t give up praying. God wants our children—His children—to desire His Word as much as we do.
3. Use resources
We don’t have to be experts to help our kids read. Check out the many free resources available online, or ask your church or Sunday School for help to come up with ways to help your children spend time in God’s Word.
4. Find someone to help
If your children seems to prefer reading or sharing with someone else, look for someone in church to help. It could be an older youth or a Bible class leader.
5. Talk to them
Instead of nagging children to read the Bible, draw their interest by engaging them in conversation about it. Chat over questions like, “What have you learnt about God today?”, or, “What can I pray for you about what you’ve learnt?”