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January 15, 2014 / BTM

How Can You Help Young Kids Begin To Chew On The Bible?

single sword bookmark horizontal

In my last post, I mentioned that we recently introduced the idea of ‘chewing’ on the Bible to our kids.  We’ve done family devotions for years, reading through the Bible and talking about its meaning together.  More recently, we’ve started to help our kids get into the habit of reading the Bible themselves as well.  However, we wanted them to move beyond just reading the text.  We wanted to give them a tool to help them to think about the text they were reading on their own.  Here’s what we did at our home.

Building on the concept that the Word of God is a sword (Ephesians 6:17), we created a bookmark with a picture of a sword on it to use to mark their reading (click image above to enlarge).  We put several questions on the bookmark for them to think about and answer as they read their passage for the day.  Our children are 6 and 8, so we started very simply with questions that would generally apply to any passage they were reading:

–        Who is this about?

–        What happened to him or her?

–        Why did it happen?

–        What does God want me to learn from them?

–        What is God telling me about Himself?

The first three questions are obviously meant as a review of what they’ve just read: can they summarize what they read based on who, what, why questions?

The fourth question tries to help our kids to make a bridge between the Bible and their life.  They need to know that the Bible pertains to them, not just to the people written in the accounts it narrates.  Can they figure out what that link is?

The last question pertains to God’s character and the meta-story of the Bible.  How does the account that they read link to God and His big message in the Bible?

When we do family devotions together, we use the bookmark questions to guide our discussion of the text as a way to model how to use it.  We go beyond the bookmark when we do family devotions together, but modelling it has helped our kids to use it better on their own.  It’s been neat to see our kids get the hang of it and increase their learning as a result.  We also more often get them coming to us with questions about the text they’ve read, which is really important as well.  We often try to read our Bibles in one room on the weekends and discuss (briefly) what we’ve each just read.

There are probably as many ways to help your kids ‘chew’ on the Bible this as there are parents.  You’re welcome to use the bookmark we’re using if it would be helpful.  You are also welcome to adapt it to better fit your situation.  I’d love to hear what other techniques you use to help children of all ages study the Bible.  As our kids get older, we’ll adapt their study habits to suit and I’d love your advice!

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