How can you instill the practice of studying God’s Word into your children? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. But, let me share with you what we did with our own children….
From the time our children were babes in the bassinet, we played Bible audios for them at sleep times. It would be a comfort to them and help them to settle down to turn on their Bible CD’s. Pretty early on, Rick recorded audios for them and explained difficult words and meanings to them which was actually teaching them how to meditate on God’s Word. This also served to show the kids that God’s Word was practical and interesting to listen to.
We read Bible stories to our little people and had a Friday night Bible quiz each week asking questions from our reading during the week. We would reward them for answering questions, and it encouraged them to be attentive during reading times- to want to “pay attention on purpose.”
As the kids got too old to nap and old enough to read, they not only listened to Bible audios at night, but we would replace “naptime” with “rest time”. Instead of having to sleep as the younger siblings did, they would use this time to begin reading the Scriptures for themselves. A very simple idea we used was to have them read a chapter (or more if they could manage it), and while reading, look for a verse that kind of “stuck out” to them. We would have them write the verse, personalizing it by using their own name or asking God to help them to put it into practice. They kept a notebook, and each day would choose a verse to personalize or write into a prayer. Simple, but very effective. The idea is to guide them into seeking for wisdom they can apply to their daily life. God’s Word isn’t something just to read, check off the box for having read, and then forget about it. By having to choose a verse to personalize, it forced them to concentrate on what they were reading instead of just letting their mind drift.
By the time they were around 7-9 we started writing studies that they could use during “school time” to help them search for wisdom. Proverbs People was our first study which helped them to identify the different types of people the book of Proverbs talked about and record how they should respond to that type of person. We gave them short answer questions to look up, example stories, and application questions.
As they got a little older, we wrote down all the struggles they were having- anger, bitterness, lying, teasing, complaining, etc and wrote a study to help them see what God’s Word has to say about all those negatives- but more importantly what it says about the corresponding positive character trait. Every negative trait has a corresponding positive trait! From the Scripture, they learned to dig out wisdom to encourage them to make wise choices.
Later, we did studies on applying the fruit of the Spirit to their lives, being aware of their words and what God’s Word has to say on controlling and directing our tongue, and next we had them look up verses on topics such as friendships, dealing with money, work habits, etc.- all topics of daily interest and relevance to us all.
God’s Word is more than relevant, it’s life-changing and we need to develop the habit of looking first to His Word instead of “common sense” or worldly advice.
We also had our kids learn Scriptures that addressed the problems they were struggling with. We would reward them for learning so many verses. This was the motivation for them to apply themselves to learn the Word.
Through the years, they continued listening to Scriptures at bedtimes and it did much to build godly values in them. God’s Word never returns void and best of all, as they grew older, it would come back to them to provide guidance in situations of temptation.
I don’t regret the time we spent in God’s Word or having them listen to it each night. As a matter of fact, I joined them and still turn on my CD’s every night to listen to the Psalms.
I hope this helps you think of creative ways you can make it a joy to be in God’s Word.
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