How to Read the Bible With Your Child

Are the core beliefs in the Bible resonating with your family? Do you read passages and parts to your children regularly?

Some faithful families feel they should spend more time reading and talking about the Bible with the kids in their home. If this is true for you, here are some tips on how to pursue that goal. It’s fascinating to hear what worshipers of all ages think about our Holy Book — and how they might apply it to their own lives.

Perhaps your kids have their own Bible picture books, so have a general idea of some of the simpler ideas presented. This is a good base for them. As you gauge their understanding and maturity level, there will be a good time for each individual to hear and discuss the more detailed and intense versions of the Scriptures.

If you find it best to read aloud with a whole group of various ages, it’s nice to know that even very young children — toddler and preschool ages — can absorb some of the material in their own way. It will familiarize them, too, with the terms and names of people.

Bible version

Be sure to use a Bible version that is easy to read and understand. You can tell your kids that it was written originally in Greek and Hebrew but has been translated so Christians all over the world can study the Word of God.

The King James Version (KJV) is one of the first English translations, and from that, we have seen further “softer” translations for modern understanding. When people want to concentrate and focus on serious Bible study, they often use the official KJV; however, devotional sessions can use the version that suits the listeners best and still gain a wonderful understanding of the intent. Take a look at the New Living Translation (NLT) or the New International Version (NIV) for nicely simplified reading.

Where to start and follow-through

Is there a passage that fits with something your family or group has gone through recently? You don’t have to start at the beginning at all. You can choose a section that resonates with your child or children, and read that first. The Bible has 66 books within it — The Old Testament’s 39 books tell about God and His people before Jesus Christ was born, and the New Testament’s 27 books detail the time after Jesus was born.

If you do want to be directed to a good place to begin overall, consider going to the Gospel of John first, which is the 4th book in the New Testament. John’s version of Jesus’ life story is absolutely enthralling and sure to get the interest of new Bible readers. He is dedicated to writing his words in a vibrant, believable way.

Whichever book you begin with, simply read each verse thoughtfully and slowly, asking questions after each chapter. Don’t do too much reading in one sitting – perhaps two or three chapters every day. You can ask kids how they would feel if they were in that situation, what the right thing to do might be, and how that topic applies to something in today’s world or their own life. Try to complete a full book before moving on to the next.

Each of the gospels — John, Matthew, Mark, Luke — as well as the Philippians, Ephesians, and Colossians offer excellent advice, comfort, and encouragement for every Christian young and old. Psalms, too, provides warm prayers and wisdom for all. Genesis appeals to many children who wonder about the very beginning of everything.

How often and how long to read

Each chapter you read should take only about 10 minutes or less, so depending on the content and amount of discussion, you should be able to read at least one full chapter at each sitting. Maybe you want to make it a nightly ritual after a meal. Or, if schedules are busy, you can try for a few nights a week instead.

Choose what is convenient and welcome for your child or family. Even if it is simply once a week (Sunday sounds perfect), at least you are doing this spiritual growth exercise together and growing with God’s Word.

A lovely suggestion to start your regular Bible reading session is to say a prayer before you begin. Get comfortable together, pause, and ask the Holy Spirit to be with you.

The Bible is God’s message of love and guidance, and He wants you and your children to fully understand His Word. Pray that you gain a clear understanding and become closer to Him and his all-encompassing love as you absorb His messages.

May you and your child use this beautiful opportunity to live the Christian life with grace, comfort, and dignity always.