One of Tyndale Kids devotional writers, Katrina Cassel, shares how families can play an integral role in helping kids become life-long Bible readers. Katrina and her husband have 8 children—so we thought she might have some insight on helping kids love Bible reading! Katrina has written several devotions for middle grade readers. – Katara Patton, Acquisitions Director, Children & Youth
I love to write about God’s Word because it’s so important for children to become familiar with it at a young age. The challenge is to get children into the Bible for themselves and make it relevant for them. While very young children enjoy learning Bible stories, older children can go beyond that and find the spiritual lessons from the story and apply them to their everyday life. They can learn to use their Bible and find the stories for themselves.
As parents we realize that the most important lessons in life are learned at home—responsibility, hard work, kindness, how to do certain chores and so on. Learning about the Bible is no different. Hearing God’s Word at church is important, and so is learning Bible stories, but if we want children to read the Bible for themselves, we as parents will need to take an active role in that.
Both family devotions and personal Bible reading are important to spiritual growth. Having a devotion book that’s appropriate for your family, and one for your child to read alone, is important. Or you can read Scripture and stories from a Bible especially for children. Having a fun, age-appropriate Bible gives a sense of ownership and encourages children to read the Bible on their own.
Children need to understand that the Bible is their guidebook for life. Although the Bible has many different stories, it’s really all one story that spans history. The Old Testament points to the need for a Savior and the events leading up to Christ’s birth. The New Testament tells about Christ’s birth, his life on earth and the start of the early church.
While I was writing The One Year Devotions for Girls Starring Women of the Bible and The One Year Book of Bible Trivia for Kids, I attempted to not only teach God’s Word, but to make it relevant to preteens by helping them see how each day’s Scripture and devotion applied to their own life. Many of the Bible women faced the same problems today’s girls face: sibling rivalry, jealousy, peer pressure, overcoming obstacles, handling difficulties, serving and worshipping God and more. By interacting with God’s Word and seeing how it applies to their own life experiences, the Bible becomes more personal to them.
The One Year Book of Bible Trivia for Kids starts each day with a question. Example:
Q: Esau sold his birthright (the privileges he received for being the firstborn) to his brother Jacob in exchange for what?
a. pieces of silver
b. seven sheep
c. a bowl of stew
The daily reading talks about the importance of the firstborn son in Bible times and reminds the readers of the story of Jacob and Esau. Then the following through section encourages readers to make good choices for themselves rather than giving in to their desires. The readers are given the reference where the story is located so they can read the whole thing for themselves.
The challenge today is to get our kids into the Bible, help them realize that it applies to their lives today and to set the example for them by allowing them to see us read our Bibles or sharing something with them that we’ve read or learned in our daily reading.
If daily Bible reading isn’t a habit at your house, today’s the day to start.