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This week, I’ve been getting Bibles ready to distribute to some of the kids in our local ministries. As I’ve been printing Bible reading guides and personalizing the presentation pages, I’ve found myself pondering this question –
Does reading the Bible really matter for kids? Why should they read it?
It’s a good question. I mean, with so many great devotionals out there (like this one – shameless self promotion) and other teaching tools – does it matter if our kids really get their hands on Bibles? And if they do, can we actually expect them to read it?
It’s a meaningful question, and I think it’s an important one. In today’s world, biblical literacy is at an all-time low. What that basically means is less people are reading the Bible today then they have in the past. This includes people who attend church regularly and consider their faith to be an important part of their lives. Less of us are reading the Bible all the time.
With less adults reading the Bible, we can anticipate less kids are too. So, should we focus on Bible reading? Should we still put the Bible in kids’ hands? Why does it really matter?
My answer to this is simple: absolutely.
While I am a huge fan of the many resources that exist today – YouTube videos, podcasts, devotional books and studies – I think that there is something important about introducing our kids to the practice of reading the Bible – God’s Word.
Let me explain.
Recently, I preached a sermon in our church out of 1 Peter 1. Here’s what it has to say:
For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of the Lord remains forever.“
Without oversimplifying, here’s what I want to draw out from this text – the Bible matters because it is a transforming book.
Unlike any other inspirational text or great devotional, the Bible has the power to transform our lives by producing faith in God. While it’s difficult to explain or put into words, we know that the Bible is “living and active…it exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Hebrews 4:12) Something happens when we read this book – something that does not happen simply by watching a video or reading a story with our kids.
Our kids need to read the Bible because the Bible has the power to change them.
Beyond this transforming power, I think getting our kids to read the Bible is important for another reason – it allows them to know the story our faith is built on.
The Bible is God’s Story – a story from beginning to end of His plan for humanity. It is the story of God’s grace revealed all throughout history – and ultimately in Jesus. In the words of Sally Lloyd-Jones,
every page whispers His name.
When our kids read the Bible, they understand the story of following Jesus doesn’t just start and end in our day – it has lasted for centuries – and will go beyond us too. It matters that they understand the foundations our faith is built on, and that can happen through diving into the Bible.
So, yes – our kids need to read the Bible.
Now, I’m not suggesting your five-year old needs to pick up a King James Study Bible tomorrow and dive right in. What I am suggesting though, is we need to be intentional in introducing, and consistently reading, the Bible with our kids.
Here are some practical ideas:
- Get a Bible your kids will read. I’ll link up to some of my favourites at the bottom of this article. There are so many great kids’ Bibles out there. Find an age-appropriate Bible that your kids will read, and love, and then open it and read it.
- Let your kids see you reading the Bible. Kids model what they see – so let them see you reading your Bible. If you read it on your phone, be sure to distinguish – let them know “I’m reading my Bible right now.” Let them see you opening your Bible and reading it on a regular basis.
- Have a plan for reading. If you’re at all like me, I find that things fail when I don’t have a great plan (or at least the semblance of one). Come up with a plan to read the Bible. It could start as something simple – you’ll read a story from the Bible to your toddler each night. This could grow into following a Bible reading plan together, reading through a book of the Bible with your preteen, and eventually moving to a place where they’re reading independently – and you can come back and talk about it.
I don’t think the Bible is irrelevant or unreadable for kids today. In fact, I think it’s still important – it can still transform our lives. So grab one off the shelf or dust off your phone (yeah right) and dig in.
Bibles I Love for Kids:
- The Beginner’s Bible
- My First Hands-On Bible
- Jesus Storybook Bible
- Adventure Bible
- Hands-on Bible
- Deep Blue Bible
- The Action Bible