Teaching Kids the Bible At Home
Start Early-Teaching the Characters of the Bible
We started with a children’s bible from when they could sit on our lap. Every night we read a small story from that Bible to our children. The book has fallen apart now but with four children it was well used. Our aim in those years was to teach them the main characters of the Bible. The stories are exciting and the kids find the miracles fascinating. For one child he asked to look at the “water rock” picture every night for about a year, (Moses strikes the rock and water flows).
Introduce Simple Doctrine
Children can start to learn simple doctrine from about three. The best resource that I have found for this is Leading Little Ones to God by Marion Schooland. Her simple doctrine explanations and questions are very appropriate for young children. You can read this book through a few times. Our oldest kids have had the book read to them about four times.
Literary Quality Stories
Using books that tell the stories of the Bible in a narrative form can also help young children get into the story. Choose your books carefully making sure that they don’t add in extra doctrine. We enjoyed the Bible Story by Arthur Maxwell. I remember crying my eyes out as I read about Moses dying on the mountain.
We have also found as they are older (around 5 or 6 ) reading aloud Bible fiction that is based on Bible stories can also help them to understand the Bible stories as they emotionally connect with the characters. Our Christian Booklist has a list of good books.
I almost stumbled upon this approach. I wanted to incorporate written narration (writing the story in their own words) of the Bible. Since my two youngest were only 5 and 7 at the time I decided that they could use a notebook to illustrate the story. Boy! Am I glad I did. What an incredible tool this is-teaching a child to tell the story of God through illustrations. This was such a fruitful experience for the children and for one particular child I saw the most intuitive understanding of the text. I find this technique works best when you use historical narratives such as Genesis, Exodus, Samuel and the Gospels. We do this for one Bible book and then give it a rest as they can tire of it. Here’s a pictures from those days.
Bible History –Chronology
Putting the Bible in context for our children is essential. When they have the groundwork of knowing the stories we can then begin to teach them how it all fits together.
Jesse Tree at Christmas time. This helps them learn the genealogy of Jesus. This is excellent for younger children. Another excellent resource is to use Old Testament History Study Guide. I found this resource really helped us all understand the sequence of events. I can’t rave enough about this resource. You can buy it as an ebook and it took me ages to buy it and when I started using it I was kicking myself for not getting it earlier.
History Makers is a free curriculum that I wrote for our sunday school classes as they worked their way through history. You can also use this at home as a guideline to take you through some Biblical history. My family and I also put together some free Powerpoints.
Bible Apologetics for Kids
This might sound a bit “heavy” for children but it is such an important aspect of their Bible knowledge. It will help protect them from teaching that undermines the authority of the Bible. They need to understand about defending their faith. They need to know why believing the word of God is not stupid or foolish. Learning apologetics can be found in Archaeology and Creation Science.
Scripture Memory Verses
Well I am only going to discuss this one sheepishly, for I haven’t been terrible diligent with scripture memory. I have tried the card approach to teaching memorization but I found it all a bit dry and I kept forgetting to drill them. Excuses! Excuses! But I have used songs. Colin Buchannan’s Music is full of scripture and we have learnt portions of scripture with his CD’s.
As the children get older I encourage them to read the Bible on their own. For one journaling from the Bible works, for the other just working through the Bible seems to be what they prefer. If you have given them a love for the Word and reinforced the importance of it in their lives, having them read the on their own is a natural progression.
Shouldn’t we Pray or Something!
One thing that I haven’t discussed yet that is essential is praying. Praying for God’s wisdom and understanding as we read the Word. Jesus is the Word and we want to teach our children the life-giving message of the Bible. This infusion of life should be in every lesson. Teach them that Jesus is in our midst, that the Holy Spirit helps us to understand the Scriptures and that this Holy book draws us closer to the Father.
Is That It!
Basically that is how we have approached teaching the Bible in our home. And our children have a healthy respect for the Bible and understand basic doctrine. However it’s not the only way and I’ve heard other parents share how they have effectively taught their kids the Bible using other techniques.
Although teaching the Bible may seem like hard work and take a lot of time, when I look back I am thankful that we have been able to spend so much time learning the Word of God.
One of the excellent by-products of teaching our children is that it teaches us all over again.