Six Ways to Build Family Bible Study

You attend church as a family, the kids are in children’s programs, and you thank God for those opportunities. But a few hours a week is not enough time to equip your children with a solid Biblical foundation before leaving home. Eighteen years of raising children will flash before your eyes. Research show that 64% of those who decide to accept Christ will do so before age 18. Time is of the essence!

But accepting Christ is only the beginning. Next, God tells us to make disciples, and that includes our children.

With the internet and social media, the world relentlessly throws lies at children from the left and right. We have to fight back harder than ever to get God’s word in their hearts so they can defend their faith. Most studies show between 45-48% of youth leave the church after their freshman year of college. One semester in college can undo all the time spent raising them in church. How can one defend their faith if they do not read the Bible, let alone understand what it says?

I want to challenge parents to read the Scripture with their children every day. My family has been reading together daily for over a year, and it has blessed us and helped each of us in our understanding of the Word. Just as the Ethiopian man in Acts needed Philip to help him understand the book of Isaiah, we need to help our children understand God’s word as they read.

Reminding your child to read the Bible every day, but not stressing its priority with your family’s culture, is no different than reminding them to brush their teeth every day; they know it is good for them, but it becomes a chore.

Below are some tips that will help make family Bible reading time enjoyable for the whole family:

  • Choose a time of day to read. Reading at the same time after supper or perhaps before bedtime will help form a habit. Whatever time of day you choose, the main thing is to stay consistent. Summer is a great time to start a new habit!
  • Get an NIrV translation. My opinion is that the best translation for elementary kids to read is the NIrV. Make sure it has the “r” for reader. These can be found online, ranging from $8-20. Everyone should have the same translation, as it can be frustrating for kids to follow along with different translations. You can use the Bible App or on your electronic devices if needed.
  • Store your materials together. If your Bibles are kept together in a basket or bookshelf near the kitchen table or living room, you are more likely not to forget your reading session. Keep them visible.
  • Keep in mind your child’s attention span. Approximately 15 verses are the sweet spot for elementary students.
  • Have everyone participate. Even a first-grader can read the Bible at family readings. Ask them to read one or two verses and help with the words they don’t know.
  • Open your study Bible. Keeping your study Bible handy, in addition to the NIrV Bible, can help you bring further meaning to God’s Word as you reference footnotes and cross-reference verses.
  • Have supplementary guides to help as you read. “The Rose Book of the Bible Charts, Maps, and Timelines” is a great resource to help you correlate biblical events with historical events your child learns in school. This will allow them to think about biblical stories within the correct context.
  • Obtain a commentary. Consider buying The IVP Biblical Background Commentary Old Testament and The IVP Biblical Background Commentary New Testament. Both books are about the size of a Bible. These aren’t a long volume set but manageable for upper elementary school kids to read along with the Bible passage. If you have smaller kids, you may want to skim through it earlier and just talk about it when reading together.
  • Set the stage. Before reading a book of the Bible, discuss who wrote it, its purpose, the type of book, and what the culture was like for God’s people. The Bible Project channel on YouTube will give you an overview of a specific book.
  • Slow and steady wins the race! One idea to get you started is to use handouts from Sunday School or children’s church. There are great resources and often include questions you can use to help your children review and spark further discussions.

By Malinda Billings
Malinda serves in the children’s ministry with Bayside Baptist Church in Chesapeake Beach.

Cover Photo: digitalskillet1

Check out Bible Time Fun Pages written by A. E. Dozat and featured each week on BaptistLIFE online. Download these Scripture-based coloring/game sheets. They’re a great family resource! 

2021 Bible Time Fun Issue 112 by A. E. Dozat