Teaching Our Kids to Treasure God’s Word
by Amy Diller

In 1891, a Swiss man began producing knives for soldiers. These knives included a blade, reamer, screwdriver, and can opener–tools a soldier needed to be able to eat and clean a rifle. In 1897, a second design came out, including another blade and a corkscrew. Over the years, a total of 87 tools with over 141 uses have been created for the Swiss Army Knife.

Opening one of those multipurpose knives is a little like opening the Bible, except that God’s Word contains everything we need. It teaches, corrects, and trains (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It’s a light for our path (Psalm 119:105). It’s living and active (Hebrews 4:12). The Word helps us conquer sin (Psalm 119:11), and the Bible will never become obsolete (Isaiah 40:8).

When we spend time reading God’s Word, we discover wonderful and awesome parts of His character and His promises. The Bible is the exciting, epic adventure of God’s love for humanity throughout time. It’s filled with stories, poetry, history, prophecy, letters, and so much more. Best of all, it focuses on our Hero, Jesus, and His perfect sacrifice in order that we could be forgiven. The amazing thing is that He invites us to become part of the narrative.

As parents, we want our kids to grow to love the Bible and its Author. We desire for them to hear God’s voice in and through His Word. We hope for them to develop a daily time of devotion with Him, including Bible reading. This is an important aspect of a growing walk with the Lord.

The best way for us to teach anything is to lead by example, so we’re going to spend some time looking at ourselves before we turn to practical ways to influence our children. Let your kids see you reading your Bible. If you typically read in the early morning or late at night when your kids are in bed, you can continue that practice while also finding times to read when they are present. It doesn’t have to be lengthy but simply an opportunity for them to observe you interacting with the Bible. Talk with your kids about what you’re learning, what you’re hearing God say, and the questions you have as you seek to know more.

If you’re not in the habit of regularly spending time with the Lord through His Word, it’s never too late to start! Set aside the assumption that you have to spend a certain amount of time studying or conducting your reading in a particular way. There is no right or wrong when it comes to Bible reading. You just need a heart to know more about your faith/walk with Jesus and to listen to His voice speaking to you through Scripture. 

It can be intimidating to figure out where to begin. There are many Bible reading plans online to download, or you can get the YouVersion Bible App, which has a large library of reading plans. If you’d like to learn more about the Bible as you go, a great source is www.thebibleproject.com. They offer many short videos and articles to help you better understand what you’re reading.

Interaction with the Bible is important, too. Get in the habit of having a journal or a notebook with you so you can write about what you’ve read. You can record as much or as little as you’d like– simple or detailed–whatever fits your writing personality. One widely-known method of journaling is called SOAP. It stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. Write down a scripture that is meaningful to you from your Bible reading. Follow that with an observation about the verse(s)–a phrase or a word that stood out to you. For application, jot down how it applies to your life. Conclude with a written prayer.

Once you set an example for your kids, through your words and actions, you can help one another learn to love God’s Word. To help bring the Bible alive for your children, pray together and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you as you read the Word with them. Sunday school teachers often provide a scripture reference or memory verse from the kids’ weekly lessons. Use these at home to help your children deepen their understanding of the lesson and to learn together. As with reading plans for adults, plans for kids are widely available online to download. Take cues from your kids about the length of time you spend together with the Bible. Sometimes, it might be minutes; other times, it could last longer. There’s no set time.

Encourage your children to talk about what they believe God is saying through a verse or passage of Scripture. Let them give voice to questions, too. Questions are not an indicator of a lack of belief. They actually support active learning as your children interact with the Bible. Validate what they have to say. The same God who speaks to adults speaks to children, and their unique insight is not clouded by things that often get in our way as adults. As you read and talk together, share your thoughts, insights, and questions as well. It demonstrates to children that time with the Lord in His Word is a life-long pursuit.

One of the best things you can do is to get your child his or her own Bible appropriate for their age and a journal to draw or write about what they’re learning. Even preschoolers love to carry around their own Bibles to “read” and a notebook to “write” in. (If you’re not sure what to get, ask your children’s leaders for recommendations.) As a rite of passage, once your child starts to read independently, look for more of a grown-up Bible. Now, this next thing might be a challenge for those who believe all books should be kept pristine. However, the Bible is meant to be highlighted and written in. Pick out a cool pen and highlighter to go with your child’s grown-up Bible. Even if they highlight almost everything they read, they’re learning how to embrace God’s Word for themselves. You can also teach your older kids about the SOAP method for their time with the Lord.

Developing a love for the Bible, words from our Creator Himself, is life-giving. The story never grows old, and the message never fails to change hearts and lives. Learning and growing in His Word alongside our children is a blessing and privilege. We are part of God’s most beautiful design, and the Bible guides us to know Him and love Him more.