Reading the Bible with your kids
It's Important!

"Since childhood, you have known the Holy Scriptures that are able
to make you wise enough to have faith in Christ Jesus and be saved."

 — 2 Timothy 3:15 (CEV)

The Apostle Paul knew that God had big plans for Timothy. He also knew that Timothy was up to the job, because Timothy "knew the Holy Scriptures". And what's more, Timothy was particularly well grounded because he knew them "since childhood".

As parents, we have a responsibility to prepare our kids for life. Reading the Bible together teaches children an understanding of, and love for the Word of God. It establishes a positive routine of daily Scripture reading and encourages family closeness. It changes hearts and lives.

Making regular Bible reading a part of your family's daily life is not complicated, and we've included some suggestions below. Because after all, God has big plans for us too...

Set an example...
Young children imitate their parents. If they see you reading your Bible regularly, theyíll be more inclined to do likewise themselves. (Besides, itís good for you too!)

Work Bible reading into your regular routine...
Kids — and many adults — function best with routines. Thatís why we have regular meal times, bath times and bed times: to aid children with consistent schedules. So why not make Bible-reading time a part of their regular schedule too? Perhaps after school each day, or at the beginning of every supper time, or just before bed... whatever works best for your family.

Prepare in advance...
Familiarize yourself with the passage you plan to read with your kids before you read it to them. This gives you a chance to make sure that the translation youíre using is age appropriate (youíll probably want to use a modern-language version, or even a Bible storybook for really young kids), and to identify any issues or difficult words that may require some explanation. Researching the passage a bit may provide you with some useful insights that will help your kids to understand the story in its historical perspective. Giving context to the story is especially helpful for older kids.

Location — location — location...
For kids to get the most out of family Bible-reading time, try to seek out a comfortable place where you can read together with minimal distractions. This may be seated at the kitchen table, lounging on the living room couch, or cuddled together on mom and dadís bed, whatever suits your family best. The point is to make Bible reading a warm, enjoyable experience.

Timing is everything...
Gear the length of time that you spend reading Scripture together to the age and attention span of your children. Older kids may be ready for a lengthy study, while young children may only be able to manage a few minutes. But for the time to be a positive experience, it can neither be too rushed nor can it drag on endlessly.

Take action against distraction...
It may not be possible to eliminate all potential distractions during family Bible-reading time, but it would be a great idea to try to minimize them as much as possible. So it would be a good time to turn off the TV and let the answering machine pick up your calls. Very young kids may still seem unable to sit still even for just a couple of minutes; donít let that worry you. God put the wiggle in little children, and youíd be surprised at how much theyíre taking in when they seem not to be paying attention.

Bible reading should be fresh, not stale...
Help destroy the perception of the Bible as a dusty old book Ė thatís not what it is! Make Bible-reading time with your children interactive. Use different voices and facial expressions for different characters. Some passages of Scripture have repetitive refrains to them. For example, the creation story repeats "Evening passed and morning came, that was the nth day". Encourage your kids to join with you as you read those recurring phrases. When your kids are old enough to read, have each family member read a different characterís words.

Reinforce the story...
Help your children to express their reaction to the story — through discussion, or acting out different parts. Involve them by asking questions. Make a game out of quizzing each other, and encourage them to share their thoughts. Connect what you read to examples from everyday life. Many children respond well to painting, drawing, crafts, singing, puppet shows, and memory verses to highlight a key point. There are lots of ways to underscore the main themes of what you read together.

Remember, if reading the Bible together is a fun, positive experience, your children will treasure this time, and grow up with a love for Godís Word. What a wonderful gift for parents to give their children!