(Deuteronomy 6:7; Psalm 78:5-7)
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. – Deut. 6:7
I am quite confident no one would disagree with the idea that reading the Bible to your family on a daily basis is a good thing. The question I wish to focus on is just why then don’t we do more of it? When reading the above passage in Deuteronomy and the referenced passage in Psalms, one cannot help but notice the diligence and consistency God was trying to impress upon His people. If we truly desire to raise godly children, we must be diligent and consistent in training our children. The basis for the spiritual education of our families should begin with families reading the Bible together.
First of all, let me define what I mean by Bible reading. What I would suggest is to gather your family together to a place in your home where you can be left as much as possible undisturbed. This will mean that TV, computer, stereo, iPods, etc. are turned off. If the phone rings, let it ring or turn the ringer off. It is good if you can find a consistent time in your schedule for this practice. If there doesn’t seem to be a consistent time, do it whenever you can. Set aside a short amount of time (between 15 and 30 minutes per day is all that is necessary) to show your children that the Bible and their spiritual growth are the most important things in the world to you. You may want to add a few songs and a prayer. When our children were young, the time that seemed to work the best was right before bedtime.
Other than choosing a passage to read, there is little preparation you will need to do. There are many Bible reading schedules available which can help you plan. Remember your purpose is not to give various Bible scholars’ views of the passage, you are simply reading the text of the Scriptures. Obviously you should make sure they have understood what you have read and answer any important questions they raise. If a question is raised that is not critical to answer immediately, try setting aside the time to deal with it later. Hopefully this will start to raise interest in your children which may lead to more in-depth studies.
As you start this practice, it may be awkward. All of you will become more comfortable as you become more consistent with the practice. If you begin the practice and later fall out of the habit, don’t give up.
Our goal for this time is not necessarily to teach the Bible, although that will occur. Your goal is establishing and maintaining a relationship with your children. You are not only sharing facts with them, you are sharing your faith with them. There is no doubt you will face many challenges to adding and keeping this a part of your daily schedule. If the eternal destination of your children is important to you, you must find a way to adapt and overcome these challenges. The apostle Paul’s advice in Galatians 6:9 is so important for us to remember “let us not grow weary while doing good , for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” I can promise you if you become consistent with this practice your family bonds will become stronger and you will see benefits in many areas you may not have expected.
And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers,Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” Mal 4:6
I have always said that a studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands. –Thomas Jefferson.
Thomas & Daphne Keese