If I could give only one gift to my children and grandchildren, it would be knowledge of the Bible, the written Word of God.
Ultimately, I want them to know and follow Jesus. But it is God’s Word that will prepare them to accept him, teach them how to follow him, and strengthen them to remain true to him as they grow up in our chaotic world.
So how can we give children the gift of God’s Word? Here are five essential ways.
Let them see it
Where is your Bible right now—on a shelf? on a bedside table? on your phone?
Keep a Bible on your kitchen table or in your family room, and let your children and grandchildren see you reading it. Even babies can learn to recognize the Bible as something special.
Let them hear it
Read God’s Word aloud. Some families make this a part of their daily routine, often after a meal. If you’re not sure where to start, try the psalms or one of the Gospels.
How about listening together? Bible apps such as YouVersion and sites like BibleGateway.com offer audio Bibles in several versions. Scripture set to music is another good way children can hear the Word of God.
Allow young children to play quietly nearby as you read or listen—you’ll be surprised at how much they hear and understand.
Let them read it
You read books with your children because it’s fun and you know it impacts their mental and emotional development. Be sure to include good Bible storybooks among the books you read together.
Some Bible storybooks feature activity ideas or talking points to go along with each story—especially helpful to busy parents or if you’re unfamiliar with the Bible yourself.
Help them learn it
The psalmist wrote that he had “stored up” God’s Word in his heart (Psalm 119:11). Jesus countered the devil’s temptations in the wilderness with Scripture. The apostle Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16 ESV).
Children memorize easily—just think about how quickly they could belt out all the lyrics to “Let It Go”! Let’s give them the opportunity and the example of memorizing God’s Word. Repetition and review and making it fun are key.
Help them live it
A Facebook friend posted about her two-year-old son’s serious tumble that resulted in 40 stitches. Her daughter, at four, felt responsible even though she was not. One way she dealt with her stress was by sitting down with her Bible and “reading.” I have a feeling she had seen her mother turn to her Bible during other stressful times.
Besides our example, we also teach by what we say as life unfolds day by day. Moses’ instructions to the Israelites after they received God’s commandments can guide us: “These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:6).
We feed our children and grandchildren to nourish their growing bodies. But “people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3 NLT). Let’s be sure we nourish children’s souls too. There’s power in the Word of God!
Scripture from the ESV unless otherwise noted.