Psalm 1 describes the blessing of the person who does not “walk in the counsel of the wicked” but “delights in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Ps 1:1-2).And just like we want our kids to have all sorts of good things in life, we want them to have the spiritual blessing of knowing God’s word. But sometimes it’s hard work getting into the Bible and especially the Old Testament. Here’s a few ideas to get you started (or refreshed) with reading the Old Testament with your kids.
1. Read the Big Picture Story Bible together. This is a brilliant overview of the Bible story and how it centres around Jesus (especially his death and resurrection). It’s written by David Helm who was inspired to write it after discovering Biblical theology (thanks to Graeme Goldsworthy’s books). You’ll notice this in the recurring theme of “God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule”.
2. Read The Biggest Story (how the snake crusher brings us back to the garden) by Kevin de Young. This is another great resource in helping our kids (and us) follow the big story of the Bible and how it centres around Jesus. The graphics and images are brilliant.
3. Read a variety of kids Bibles. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that just like we have one Bible (eg my NIV) my kids just need one Bible. That’s not true, especially since there are so many great kids Bibles available now! Children’s Bible’s inevitably include some passages and not others, and they emphasize some themes and not others. Owning and using several Bible has many benefits:
- Children will enjoy the variety
- You will enjoy the variety
- The Bibles will complement each other, with one making up for passages or themes missing in the others
- You’ll find ones that are just right for your kids ages
- You’ll get better at recommending some to other families
So have a browse in the Christian bookshop, or online, or at your friends house and grow your collection of kids Bibles. Also, see my brief review of the Action Bible.
4. Move towards reading grown up Bibles. Eventually you’ll want your kids to start reading a regular Bible. Good readable translations are the Contemporary English Version (CEV) or New International Readers Version (NIRV). Our kids have enjoyed reading the NIV Adventure Bible with it’s friendly format and occasional info boxes.
5. Bring your kids to church. We have a great team of kids leaders and at least 1 term per year is in the OT.
6. Model reading and enthusiasm for the OT yourself. Read the Bible where your kids can see you, ask about what they’re reading and learning, and talk about stories from the Bible as you go about life. In a lot of ways your actions will communicate more than what you bring home from the Christian bookstore.
7. Persevere! When you’re dealing with sickness, distractible kids, a variety of ages, and the personal exhaustion of life it can be tempting to give up. But this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Persevere in the hard but priceless discipline of Bible reading.
That’s probably enough ideas for now. As you take on this project, remember God’s grace – this is not something we need to do to be right with God. He loves us and has sent Jesus, our OT-promised Messiah to suffer, die and rise for our salvation. Pray to him for help in our weakness.
And make the most of your church community, especially in growth group. Pray and encourage each other in reading the Bible with our kids. In this way, and through the help of God’s Spirit, we can have the joy of seeing our kids grow in wisdom through reading and meditation upon God’s word.