All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, reproof,
correction and instruction in righteousness
that the man of God (each one of us)
may be complete,
well fitted and thoroughly equipped
for every good work.
2 Tim 3:16-17
Let me rephrase that – the Word of God, the Bible is profitable or beneficial for (or good for):
- Doctrine, the teaching of precepts, truths, commands
- Reproof, the conviction of sin
- Correction, the restoration to an upright state (which includes forgiveness)
- Instruction in righteousness, how to live according to God’s ways (in all areas of our life)
Each one of these ‘benefits’ of the Scriptures are the very things that define the heart of Christian parenting. We want these things for our children. We want them to understand God’s laws, we want them to be conscious of their sin, to understand and experience forgiveness and to be on a straight path (knowing God), we want them to learn how to live a righteous life.
For this to happen, they need to know the Bible. Timothy is a good New Testament example for us. Paul testifies that Timothy, from his childhood had a knowledge of and was acquainted with the sacred writings, which were able to instruct him and give him the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3:15 AMP.) Timothy met Jesus in the Scriptures. Both Timothy’s mother and grandmother were responsible for his instruction in these things.
I know that the things I give the most time to reflect the things that I treasure most. And yet there have been times when I have been challenged that I say that our relationship with God is the most important thing and yet we hardly spend any time getting to know Him.
How much time do you dedicate in your training of your children to teaching the Scriptures?
Prayer is communication with God – it involves speaking and listening.
Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
Devotional study is where we give our time (devote) to God. This is a time where we get to know God on a personal level, to build our relationship with Him. We read His word, we listen to Him, we speak to Him, we hear the things that He wants for our day. It is a time of daily worship – washing ourselves in His love, and giving our love back to Him.
Dictionary.com defines study as: application of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge, as by reading, investigation, or reflection.
Often families do family devotions and possibly even encourage their children to have a personal time of devotion. The children know Bible stories but they don’t dig deeper. Just as we teach our children how to learn in other areas of our life we need to teach them how to study the Word of God; how to be scholars of the Word. Our children need to learn to:
- Read to learn – This is an attitude thing; we need to understand that there are things for us to learn. We don’t read the Bible just because it is the right thing to do. We read it to learn from it. We need to have anticipation when we read it. What are we going to learn today?
- Ask questions – asking questions is the number one way to learn anything. Every new discovery starts with asking a question. Who, Where, When, What, Why, and How are good starters.
- Research – there are so many Bible Study tools available both in print and online these days that studying the Bible is much easier. My favourites are: Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, an Atlas, and a commentary that you trust. You may like to use Study Bibles with notes, Bible Encyclopaedias, and other books written on your topic.
- Make Connections – as they learn more either through study or memorisation they will start to see connections and answers to their questions. They’ll start to see insights and truths. Encourage your children to talk about these and write them down and as they do so they will be building their knowledge of God’s Word.
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11
Are your children ready to move on from knowing the Bible stories to being a scholar of the Word? As they study the Word they will become ‘equipped for every good work’ ahead of them. Our role as parent isn’t just to introduce them to God, but it is to help them to grow in their relationship with Jesus. This starts by loving God’s word.
Download this Parenting Guide for Family Bible study time, includes 8 tips that helps you balance the needs of different children at different ages as you open God’s word.
Age Appropriate Bible Study Skills: As our children learn to study generally they are able to apply those study skills to their Bible study.
Over to You:
Are your children ready to be reading more than Children’s Bible stories? Are they ready to think about how different parts of the Bible connect with each other – or help interpret each other? Are they thinking about how to respond to the Bible (as God’s word?) These are the questions we need to ask as we keep discipling our children so they grow in the faith. Any thoughts?