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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Reading the THE WHOLE Bible with Children

 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17

These verses are a great encouragement to keep on reading the Bible with our children. They remind us that God's Word is a great blessing to each of us - making us wise for salvation, teaching us God's ways and training us in righteousness. In addition, we read that Timothy has known the Bible from infancy. As an adult wishing to serve God, he is not called to move on from what he learned as a child, but to continue in it.

We have read various children's Bibles to our children since they were tiny babies, but we wanted to make sure we moved on from that. We were concerned that we give our children as broad a grounding in Scripture as we could. If we stick to children's Bibles, we feel that we are giving our children far less than we ought to. They can be great tools for introducing our children to some Bible stories, or themes, but all children's Bibles are incomplete or inaccurate in places. Obviously, some are far better than others, but we were keen to get our children into the Bible properly as soon as we could.

We were also keen to make sure that we looked at the whole Bible with our children, not just focusing in on more popular stories. I have used various children's teaching materials for Sunday School, and we also buy Bible reading notes for our children, and we have found that most of them focus in on a few well known stories. If I want my children to read Job as well as Luke, we can't rely on these resources (although many of them are excellent and have been very useful to us!).

So, we decided that we would attempt to read the whole Bible with each of our children while they were still young.  How did we go about it?

1) We started with our eldest on his 5th birthday, and have continued this pattern with the younger children. Getting a Bible book chart is now an expected part of a 5th birthday in our household.

2) We read one chapter a day, every day. We begin by reading narrative books since these are easier to follow for younger children. When a book is completed, the child puts a sticker on their chart beside that book.

3) We have small family rewards every time a child finishes a book. This will probably involve a bag of sweets to be shared, or occasionally a trip out for a meal as a family. We do family prizes as we didn't want reading the Bible to be a competition, and because we wanted us to celebrate together as a child listened to the Bible being read to them.

It takes about 3 and a half years to finish the Bible at this rate. Our eldest reached the end a while ago, and his next brother will have completed the challenge around Christmas time.

A completed chart!

Has it been worth it? Yes!

We have been amazed at their questions, their ability to follow the stories, and their insights.

We have seen them grow in understanding, and get to grips with complex ideas.

In particular, we have loved seeing them get genuinely excited about how the whole Bible is about Jesus.

My eldest, once we had finished reading to him, decided of his own accord that he wanted to read through the whole Bible for himself, but this time starting from Genesis and working through in order. He's halfway through Psalms, and keeping going.

We pray that they, like Timothy, will continue in what they have learned.

2 comments:

  1. What order did you do the books in, and why?

    Gerv

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    1. Well, with the three who share their names with Bible books, we have started with those! Otherwise, we have generally read narrative books when they are younger, since they are a little easier to follow. We also try to mix up longer shorter books, so our 7 year old has just moved from 2 Thessalonians to Isaiah.

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