Tips for Getting Children to Read the Bible

I have used this simple quote on many occasions but it is still thought-provoking to consider,

A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education. – Theodore Roosevelt

As a Christian parent, do you readily affirm Roosevelt’s statement? Of course, there are many things that could be included along with “a college education” comparison – athletic or musical ability, getting good grades, winning a science fair award, etc. If you truly believe that a thorough knowledge of the Bible is more essential, worthwhile, and valuable for your child how is this shown in the priority you give to biblical instruction in your home? 

Christian parents must prioritize the Bible above all other subjects. Yes, there are many subjects to teach our children, but teaching them to study the Bible is the most important by far. And communicating that priority to our children is the first and most essential step in that process. By our own example of personal Bible reading, by reading of the Bible together as a family, and by regular attendance at a Bible-focused church, we are sending a message that will make teaching them to study the Bible for themselves so much easier. If they see that we clearly view the Bible as the greatest book in the world, it’s far more likely that they will want to read it for themselves. 

The above quote is from David Murray’s article, “How Can I Get my Kids to Read the Bible?He then describes six ways to encourage your children in Bible reading (read the whole article for further explanation of each):

  • Make it a priority.
  • Make it a joy.
  • Make it a habit.
  • Make it do-able.
  • Make it accountable.
  • Make it Gospel-centered.

One way to readily facilitate the above is to provide your children with a Bible reading plan. We highly recommend Murray’s simple and affordable resource, Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids and the accompanying weekly videos.

Some further thoughts:

  • Use an actual Bible and not a storybook or abridged Bible. Yes, there is a place for these types of resources, but they should not replace children reading the actual Holy Bible, even if it is only a few verses a day for younger children.
  • “Be there” to help your child if necessary. For some children, having dad or mom sit alongside them, will greatly increase the likelihood of making this a special time.
  • Use a physical Bible (read why I recommend this here).
  • Create a quiet space/place that is conducive to reading. Make sure distractions and digital media are out of reach.
  • Consider an “incentive plan.” For example: 30 days of Bible reading means getting to go out for ice cream with dad. Hopefully and prayerfully over time, a child will realize that the benefits of reading God’s Word are immeasurably more delightful than any treat!