Many (many!) years ago, I learned to read. And as soon as I did, my dear parents gifted me a Bible, a Reina Valera 1960 edition (in Spanish). I still remember the excitement and wonder I felt, holding that book. I felt so grown up… amazed that I could read it for myself, all by myself. I remember sleeping with that Bible in my bed those first nights after I got it.
The kindness and compassion of the Lord astounds me now: that He, the Almighty, Infinite God would come near a 6 year old little girl and create in her delight in His words and in Himself.
In His grace my Father took that early love for His Word and has grown it over the years. Now I am a mom and one of my greatest joys is to teach my kids to read and study the Bible. My goal is for them to love God and His Word. I so long for God’s Word to be the food my kids crave, the treasure they seek, the place where they meet with their Father over and over again.
But I can’t work that love inside their hearts. I can’t pass on that love because I can’t create life. That is a work of the Spirit. I can, though, shape their loves and appetites. So my husband and I do the work we can: we make every effort to get them in front of God’s Word.
We do family devotions, reading through one book at a time. We sing God’s word through songs that are 100 % word for word Scripture. We memorize Scripture as we learn the New City Catechism. And as our kids have learned to read, we have also wanted them to create a personal habit of reading the Bible on their own. But I am finding that just asking my daughter to sit down and read the Bible can be a little frustrating to her. For one, she needs clear direction for her Bible reading (“honey, read through the Gospel of Mark, or a Proverb a day”). But she also needs tools to dig deep into the treasure of God’s Word.
So this summer I am excited to read through the Bible in a way that provides both direction and the tools they need. I will read with them using a Bible reading challenge from Zonderkids. I love that the selection of passages on this reading challenge takes the kids through the whole storyline of redemption from Genesis to Revelation.
The challenge will provide direction. And I created a tool to introduce them to inductive Bible study and teach them how to feed themselves from God’s Word.
My girls (ages 6 & 8) are normally more motivated to complete a task when they know I am down in the weeds with them…when I provide scaffolding and also teach them how to actually complete the task.
By being close, by coming down to their level, by snuggling together with hot tea for them and hot coffee for me (or maybe a fruit smoothie), I hope to create cozy memories around God’s Word. Just as reading aloud with our kids has the benefit of promoting bonding and creating a safe place to explore difficult themes, I am hoping that reading God’s Word together will help them associate safety, comfort and joy with being with our Father in His Word. Even when we don’t always understand the Bible or are more confused by it, I want them to know and experience with me the safety we have with our Father through Christ when we bring our questions and doubts to him.
As much as I hope to create cozy memories, I am 1000 % sure there will be interrupted times, we may not always be able to spend a lot of time studying or discussing a passage, and times when it will be everything but sweet. Some days we will read in between potty training brother, breaking up a fight, or right before bed because we never got to it in the day.
Yet I know God’s Word is life (Deuteronomy 32: 47). It is alive and always does the work the Lord sends it do (Isaiah 55: 11). So by faith I will embark on this journey with my girls and trust the Lord for the results in their lives and mine.
Below is the tool I created. I am sharing it here for those of you who might want to join us in doing this! Even if you wanted to read through the Bible with another plan, this tool simplifies the inductive bible study method for younger, elementary kids. I pray it is useful.
May we know and love the Lord more after summer of 2020! Yes, Lord, may it be so!