Introducing children to the Bible at an early age allows them to grow up knowing and applying God’s Word to their life.
Young children are pliable, eager to learn, and enjoy learning about God’s Word. Proverbs reminds us, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not swerve from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) How? Here are some simple, yet important techniques for you to try.
1. Set the example. Establish a daily quiet time for Bible reading, prayer and reflection. Share your excitement. What does God’s Word mean to you? (God’s Word is holy, living, a lamp to my feet, a love letter, sharper than a two edge sword, etc.)
2. Gear your teaching and sharing to the age of your child or children. Younger children respond especially well to Bible songs that relate to an important Bible verse, truth, or story. You can find many great resources online or at your local bookstore.
3. Relate a Scripture passage or story to current events. For example, when the cardinals selected a new pope, this was a memorable reminder that “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20).
4. Retell Bible stories in your own words. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination. Dramatize with your actions, chalk talks, and puppets. (Remember, our Scriptures evolved from “oral tradition.)
5. Read and discuss the Sunday at family mealtimes. Sunday meal is the ideal place to recharge and connect Look for a word or phrase that speaks to you. Use a commentary for background information.
6. Teach your children to use Scripture as a springboard to prayer. Read the Thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians together, replacing “love” with your name. Respond to your reading with short, thoughtful prayers: “Seek first the kingdom of God…Lord, help me to put you first in my life.”
7. Systematically read through an entire book of the Bible together, such as one of the Gospels or the book of Proverbs. Memorize a Scripture verse a week. Recite in the car, before meals, at bedtime .Offer incentives such as stickers or other small rewards for verses successfully memorized.