Leading Your Children to Love God's Word
I’ve been a grandmother for quite a few years now, but it’s just been within the past months that I’ve begun to realize that Deuteronomy 4:9 applies to my relationship with my grandchildren. Wait! How did I get old enough to be a teacher of my children’s children? Well, no matter that it seems to have happened so quickly, the fact is that I am in a stage of life that carries delightful but weighty responsibilities. So when my daughter-in-law recently asked me for advice on encouraging my grandson to read his Bible, I gave serious consideration to the answer. And with New Year’s resolutions abounding and Rick Schatz’s sermon ringing in my heart, I thought that perhaps these ideas would be a blessing to ECC families as well.
I grew up in a home where the Word of God was priority. It was read, studied, memorized, and applied consistently, not just out of religious duty, but with love and delight. I learned by personal experience that the most important thing a parent can do to encourage their children to read the scriptures is modeling--not just reading the Bible yourself, but loving the Bible yourself.
If you are struggling to find delight in reading God’s word (we all do at some point), I have placed some new books full of helpful ideas on the family resource table. Author Keith Ferrin provides practical advice on Falling in Love with God’s Word: Discovering What God Always Intended Bible Study to Be and How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible. He counsels us as parents with Like Ice Cream: The Scoop on Helping the Next Generation Fall in Love with God’s Word.
Then secondly, I must stress the importance of reading together, and not just reading, but talking about what you read. Doing this provides an opportunity for your children to see that you love the Word and that it applies to all of your life.
Teach your family (and yourself) the benefits of Scripture. Here's a sermon that has a great "list" of these benefits: Sweeter Than Honey, Better than Gold (the concepts here are also part of the content of John Piper’s book, When I Don’t Desire God, another powerful read). I don't mean that you should have your kids listen to it, but that you should look or listen and then incorporate the ideas into conversation. Have these conversations when all of your kids are present, like at the dinner table, so that even the little ones begin to ingest the truth that God's word is a treasure.
Memorize a passage together. Psalm 1 is a great place to start because it is about the blessings for the man who delights in God's word.
So these first few suggestions seem to be for the parent; where is the part about the kids reading the Bible? Well, those thoughts will be in another post coming soon, but I can't leave without saying that praying for your child is vital (of course). I like to pray from Psalm 119 for all my children and grandchildren, and this is my prayer for you and your families even now:
God our Father, You have not left us to live without counsel, but have shared with us the words of life. Open the eyes of Your people to behold wonderful things in Your law. Make them understand the way of Your precepts so they will meditate on Your wonders. Remove the false way from them and graciously grant them Your law. Give them understanding that they may observe Your law and keep it with all their heart. Let their lips utter praise because You teach them your statutes. Incline their hearts to Your testimonies and cause them to hope in Your word.