I wish that I could start this post as eloquently as the following quote. But I can’t. So here it is. Tony Reinke, writer (and notorious introductory voice to the Ask Pastor John podcast) says this:
“To live an abundant life in this insatiable consumer society, we must plead in prayer for God-given power to turn our eyes away from the gigs of digital garbage endlessly offered on our phones and tune our ears to hear sublime echoes of an eternal enthrallment with the transcendent beauties we “see” in Scripture.”
Wow. It’s worth reading that again. Go on.
The Bible is not just a book about God. Although it is that. The Bible is not just a manual for life. Although it is that. The Bible is God speaking, about his Son, through his Spirit, to call us into relationship with him.
The Bible is God-speech, needed, enough, clear and authoritative. I wrote a series of blog posts last year on the Bible that explain each of those words. For this post to have the Biblical wallop that it ought to have, it’s well worth giving those a read. I’ve left the link below.
I’ll see you in a bit.
Back? At this point you’re probably feeling a bit short-changed. What has all of this got to do with kids?
Because as Everyday Church we want our kids to connect UP with God. And we’re convinced that the way they do that is, surprise, surprise, exactly the same way that adults do.
Think for a moment about the Great Commission of Matthew 28. It doesn’t read like this:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of people over the age of 18, hoping against hope that those younger would drift into a relationship with God at some point…” (English Standard Attitude Version)
Obviously when it’s written like that, we think it’s silly. And yet I wonder whether our actions reflect the real Great Commission or the amended one above?
The way that kids become Christians and begin a relationship with Jesus is through meeting him as he’s revealed in the pages of the Bible. It’s through the Bible that we discover the importance of PRAYER, WORSHIP and the SPIRIT. More about that in the posts to come.
The only way that children become Christians is through the Bible. So, here are my 3 big tips for reading the Bible with your kids.
First, do it daily.
If we only eat once a week, we starve. If we only feed our families on the truth of Jesus Christ once a week, they starve. Build Bible-reading into the fabric of your family. Behave as if you need it and your family will follow.
Second, read all of it. The writer A.W. Tozer said:
“Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Not just the gospels.
Not just the familiar “stories” (I always call them “accounts” so that our kids can be under no illusion that these events really happened).
Not just lessons about God’s love that we want them to draw from the text. Do we teach, for example, that the classic child-friendly “Noah’s Ark” is an account of God’s cataclysmic judgement on a sinful world only tempered by his grace towards one family?
Third, do it age-appropriately. Our Families Worker, Jules, has some tremendous suggestions here.
For 0-3s, “Bible App for Kids” is a magnificently interactive and animated Bible (all links at the bottom). “Beginner’s Bible for Toddlers” is beautifully illustrated with simple accompanying text.
For 4-8s, the “Bible App for Kids” mentioned above is still a real winner. “Beginner’s Bible” is the next step up from the “Beginner’s Bible for Toddlers”.
For 9-11s, “Topz Bible Notes”, and “The Action Bible” are strong contenders, although at this point (and almost certainly much before), I recommend the International Children’s Bible (ICB) as a full, simple and faithful translation of the whole Bible.
Simply reading through the ICB with your kids, even before they understand it, will teach them that this is a staple of your family. It’ll build an excellent foundation for when they can understand it.
As you read, here are a few questions and remarks to make to help your kids engage with the Word of God:
- What does this tell us about God?
- Look at how loving/powerful/merciful/wise Jesus is here!
- How would you feel if you were this person in the story? What do you think Jesus is like?
- In which verse does it say x?
- That’s a good answer! But which verse did you find that in (trust me, this question works wonders for adults too)?
- Wow! God feels x about you!
- What do you think Jesus might want you to do?
Finally, praise God that because we have the Bible it takes all of the pressure off. Let’s prayerfully expose our kids to God’s Word, and let his voice do the work in our children.
For a range of book suggestions, visit: https://tom00908.wixsite.com/readforrelationship
For the first post in a series on the Bible, visit:
For “International Children’s Bible”, visit:
For “Bible App for Kids”, visit:
For “Beginner’s Bible for Toddlers”, visit:
For “Beginner’s Bible”, visit:
For “Topz Bible Notes”, visit:
For “The Action Bible”, visit: