Teaching Children to Have a Daily Bible Reading Time
The following is excerpted from Keeping the Kids, which is available from Way of Life Literature:
“... from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures” (2 Timothy 3:15).
One of the most important things that parents can do for their children it to help them develop a habit of daily Bible study. Though I grew up in church, I do not remember any instruction or challenge whatsoever about this.
It is by the Word of God that the young person can cleanse his way in this wicked world (Psalm 119:9). It must get down into the heart and soul and thus permeate the individual’s life, and this will not happen unless reading, study, memorization, and meditation become a daily practice.
We know that reading the Bible alone will not produce salvation and sanctification; it must be received and obeyed. But we also know that salvation and sanctification will not happen apart from the Word of God, because “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
It is never vain to put the Word of God into the child’s heart. Even though I wasn’t saved when I was young and didn’t take the Bible seriously, the teaching and preaching had a deep affect on me and after I was converted at age 23, much of it came back to me and I had a good head start in my Christian life.
Again we quote from Pastor David Sorenson,
The foundation for godly living is often missing in the lives of the children and youth of God’s people. That foundation is a daily absorption of the Word of God. A young person from a Christian home can go to a Christian school or be home-schooled with a godly curriculum, be faithful to Sunday School and church programs, go to church camp, and be carnal, rebellious, and worldly. Or more frequently, they are just lukewarm and go with the flow, but there is not true spiritual conviction in their hearts. The reason is as simple as it is singular. They are not in the Word of God on a daily basis. Following are some suggestions on how to correct this:
1. Start early. When our children were small, we had them read from the Bible as soon as they could barely read. It was short, but they started late in their kindergarten year.
2. Plan their reading. The Bible is a complex book, even for adults. When our children were small, we had them read in I John because of its simple vocabulary and syntax. At first, we had them read just a verse or two a day. As they progressed through grade school, the daily reading assignment grew to a chapter a day and by the time they were in junior high school, we had our girls reading four chapters a day. That is the basic amount to read the Bible through in a year.But the greater point is that we planned their reading for them.
3. Provide positive incentives. When our girls were small, we prepared a chart which was on the refrigerator and as they did their requisite daily Bible reading, they received a star on their chart each day. When they had faithfully filled their chart for several weeks or a month, we planned a special reward for them.
4. Enforce the policy. We made sure that our girls did their daily Bible reading as assigned. A refrain oft heard at the breakfast table was ‘Did you do your Bible reading this morning?’ Though they eventually grew out of the charts and stars on the refrigerator, we still checked up on them throughout their adolescent years.
5. Just do it because it is right. As the girls grew out the stage where they needed little incentives, we shifted to the philosophy of doing your Bible reading just because it was right. As we developed the principle of righteousness in the meantime, it was easy to mesh the practice of daily Bible reading with the principle of righteousness. Indeed it is right to be in God’s Word each day (Training Your Children to Turn out Right).
Pastor Mario Schiavone says that he and his wife started their kids out by having them spend time meditating on a Bible picture book even before they could read. They have taught their children to have their devotionals first thing after they wake up. He says, “It is quiet around the house first thing in the morning because everyone is having their devotionals.”
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