Bring the Bible Alive for Your Child
Meet Graham Blanchard’s Mom Mentors, who tackle questions and issues about faith in the family and what works in their lives.
Q: What are some of the ways that you have tried to make the Scriptures come alive to your children?
Kona Brown: I always want to be asking myself, do I make much of Jesus in my life? Do we make much of Jesus as a family? With that question as the driver, we’ve tried to create opportunities and include our children in conversations where we are “preaching the gospel to ourselves”, so that the application of the gospel message to the challenges of everyday life becomes a familiar process to our boys. Speaking the Word of God into different areas of our lives and theirs, as well as praying through the Psalms and talking about the application of the wisdom of Proverbs in different situations that we or they face every day is another way that we hope brings the words on the pages of the Bible alive to them. We try in that way to let the rhythm of our family life be guided by Deut 6:7—You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Melissa Newell: What a great question! As I have talked about before, we home educate the children, which I think helps us tremendously when it comes to keeping Scripture in the forefront of their minds. We are able to dive into Scripture whenever we want during the day. The variety of teaching options out there have exploded in the past 10 years. Some of our favorite activities involving Scripture are using puzzles, flashcards, acting out scenes, workbooks and story discussions. As part of our weekly curriculum, Bible story study is a way of our normal life, routine (for lack of a better word) for the children. It melts my heart (and brings a tear to my eye) when I hear our children including Jesus in their role playing, just as if he is a friend that they know in person. They are familiar with the “popular” Scripture stories and know them like they know traditional nursery rhymes. We often discuss Scripture stories around the dinner table with lively animation from the children. I believe that if you teach children, from an early age, where they can go to seek guidance from The Bible, they will use it as a resource and guidebook to their life.
Tiffany Malloy: One of the great things about kids is that they love stories…and they like to read the same stories again and again… and again. There are a lot of Bibles for kids out on the market, and not all are created equally in the storytelling department. We’ve found a few staples that are beautifully written for the various ages and stages of our children. Choosing the right kid Bible is a huge part of making the Scriptures come alive to our kids.
If we need a little extra something, we like to act out the story we are reading, adding our own props, voices, and details. We talk about what we think the weather was like during the story, the everyday lives of the characters, what it smelled like, etc. Days after we act out the story, I sometimes find the kids using parts of the story in their everyday play. It’s then that I know they are trying to make sense of what we’re reading and learning in the Scriptures.
Julie Kieras: For all children, I think the best way to make Scriptures come alive is through the five senses. Children naturally learn through their sense of sight, sound, and touch the most, but even tastes and smells can be used to illustrate Biblical events and truths! With my own kids, I have incorporated a lot of songs, as both my boys love music. So we listen to a lot of Scripture verse songs, or Bible stories and concepts set to music. Also using sign language to teach memory verses is so appealing to them, because little kids love fingerplays, and sign language feels much the same to them.
Beyond explicit teaching and activities, I try to “speak the Word” to them as much as possible by using Scripture phrases in our prayers, and making connections between real life and the Bible. Perhaps pointing out how a piece of fabric I’m sewing with looks like what I imagine Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors might have looked like. Or while eating fish and rolls, remind them about the boy who gave up his lunch. If we pray for a sick friend, I will remind them of various people in the Bible who sought the Lord for healing, and how we can do the same thing. Any way that I can, I teach them to make connections between the Bible and their real life happening now – I pray these connections will one day help them understand how the Bible is a “living Word” and still relevant over the passage of time.
Dusty Shell: We spend quite a bit of time talking about Scriptures in our home. We use resources such as sing-along CDs, videos, and storybooks to give extra life to the things we read directly from our Bibles. We don’t believe this is necessary, but we do think it provides even more stepping stones for our children in beginning to understand God’s Word. We heavily encourage Scripture memorization both at home and through our church’s AWANA program as well. We reference relevant verses when disciplining and also when praising them for good behavior. Generally, we just attempt to weave the Bible into our daily lives as much as possible. Making it a natural part of our home and interactions helps teach our children that Scripture isn’t only for church!
Susan Heim: Children love to hear about Noah’s ark, David and Goliath, and Daniel and the lions. But I want my kids to know that these are more than just interesting tales; they reveal valuable life lessons. Of course, Jesus was the greatest teacher in the Bible, and one of his best-known teachings was “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).
This is especially relevant today when it seems that children are lacking in empathy. In 2010, a University of Michigan study found that college students are 40% less empathetic than they were 30 years ago. I don’t want my boys to be part of that statistic someday, so I ask them to picture themselves in others’ shoes. How would they feel if they were the boy who was taunted for being fat or the girl who was teased for stuttering? How can they help the child who is struggling with math or sitting alone on the playground? As a parent, it is my job to teach them how to make the lessons from the Bible an integral part of who they are and will become. That is how the Scriptures will “come alive” for my children.
Thank you, Mom Mentors! See children’s books for growing up in God and Newborn Promise Project resources for parents at grahamblanchard.com. Text Copyright © 2018 Graham Blanchard Inc.