Last week on #theologytuesday, we talked about three methods for studying the Bible. I am convinced that anyone can study the Bible with the right tools and guidance – including kids.
I should clarify – your 4-year old is not going to be picking up the NIV next week and doing an inductive Bible study. However, with help and age-appropriate tools, I believe that kids can study the Bible – and grow in their faith in Jesus as they do!
So where do we start? How do we help our kids study the Bible?
Help them find a Bible they’ll use.
This really, truly matters when it comes to Bible study. You want your kids to have a Bible that will help them, guide them & that they will actually open to read, study and use. I shared a list of Bibles I love for kids in a previous post – so have a look, think about your child, their reading abilities and the things they enjoy, and find a Bible with features that will help guide them! Your kids will never study the Bible if they don’t even open it.
Talk to them about why Bible study is important.
Reading the Bible is important – and many of our kids enjoy a quick Bible story or maybe even reading a few verses before bed. So, isn’t that enough? While I believe ANY method of reading the Bible is faith-building and life-changing, it’s important to explain to our kids that more in-depth study is a spiritual discipline we should all practice!
Explain to your kids that studying the Bible, or diving deeper into what it means, helps us do two things. First of all, it helps us to know God better! I really believe this. The Bible points us to God and His love for us, so when we study it with intention, we get to know Him better. Secondly, studying the Bible helps us prepare for the work God wants us to do! Paul explains to Timothy that the Bible has all kinds of purposes, including so that we may be “thoroughly equipped for every good work.” When we study the Bible, it helps us be better equipped to share its good news with others, and gives us a firm foundation to stand on!
Introduce them to simple Bible study methods.
Bible study doesn’t have to be complex to be effective. There are simple Bible study methods that exist that I believe can work really well with kids of reading age.
This simple printable from Christie Thomas introduces some really great ways for kids to read and study the Bible. It will appeal to kids of all different learning methods! Allowing your kids to experiment with the different ideas here is a great way to start Bible study.
The SOAP Bible study method – I first read about this in The Divine Mentor by Wayne Corderio – is another great way to introduce Bible study to your kids. The first time I ever saw this completed with kids was on my ministry internship, where they actually ran a SOAP group for kids after school! It was awesome. It’s a simple method – Scripture, Observe, Apply, Pray – and will allow kids to go deeper! Check out this free printable!
If you have younger kids who aren’t reading yet, using hands-on activities to go deeper into Bible stories and passages is a great way to start “studying” the Bible. They may not be highlighting and underlining, or writing out their thoughts, but they are still getting deeper. For the youngest kids, I love Baby Devotions! I’ve tried a few of their activities with Levi and plan to implement more. It’s an awesome, hands-on way to go deeper than a simple “let’s read a Bible story!”
Talk about what they’re learning.
I know what you’re thinking – you use this point in almost every blog post. But, it is because it is so important. Whenever we are trying to teach a theological concept or spiritual discipline to our kids, we need to open up the doors for them to talk to us about what’s happening.
As you start to introduce your kids to Bible study, ask them – “What are you reading? What are you learning? Do you like studying the Bible? What questions do you have?” Listen well. Share with them what you’re studying and learning to. Make it a family affair.
I believe our kids can study the Bible, and even from a young age, implement an important spiritual discipline. It’s our job to teach them, guide them and show them the way!