From a young age, children need to have opportunities to hear and read God's Word, to think about it, and to engage in talking about it with loving adults. In our home, we have tried to be intentional about encouraging our kids to be in the Word of God each day. At different ages and stages, that has looked like... singing Scripture verses together, listening to the Bible on audio, reading and drawing about Scripture read, and memorizing verses. It's not about reading the Bible for academic reasons or memorizing Scripture for head knowledge though. The goal is heart change. Over time, with the work of the Holy Spirit, children can discover the character of God, see their own sin and need for the Savior, and develop a love for God and His Word. We pray that all of our children will take delight in and treasure God's Word - because it points them to the glorious risen Savior, Jesus Christ!
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
Ways to Incorporate
Bible Reading as a Family
Reading Picture Book Bibles to Younger Kids
Favorite Picture Book Bibles to read to toddlers and preschoolers:
- The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes (by Kenneth Taylor)
- God's Word For Me (by Pat Alexander)
Ranging from toddlers to around the fourth or fifth grades, our family so enjoyed singing Scripture as a family together! (We share all of our printables at the Bible Memorization page.)
Acting /Pantomiming Short Scripture Passages
A friend from church encouraged her children to act out or pantomime short passages of Scripture. She taught our kids and others as well how to remember Psalm 1 and Psalm 34. They had so much fun and still remember these passages - using movement to aid memory and understanding!
Reading a Proverb a Day
A quick and simple way to get your feet wet at reading the Bible daily with your family is by reading one chapter from the book of Proverbs each day. After letting some of your older kids read aloud, choose a verse to discuss with the intention of helping your children relate it and apply it to their daily lives. Read through the Proverbs several times. Then, move onto a different book of the Bible!
Read and Draw Scripture
Kids of all ages can draw about Scriptures that they have read! We decided to take time to review previously memorized verses and illustrate those - continuing to think, internalize, and apply Scripture using one more medium.
Encouraging Kids To Take Ownership
- Individual Bible Reading
Listening to the Bible on CD / iPod
Audio Bibles that correspond with pictures opened up a way for our younger children to be able to have time alone in the Word before they could read confidently by themselves!
Favorite Audio Picture Book Bibles for preschoolers and kindergarteners:
- The Big Picture Story Bible (by David Helm)
- The Word and Song Bible (by Stephen Elkins)
Read, Draw, and Write Bible Notebooks
Once our children could read independently, they were excited to receive Bibles that they could read all by themselves! We encouraged our kids to read one section of their picture book Bible each day and then draw a picture and write a sentence to go with their drawing as a way to think through what they were reading.
Favorite Beginning Reader Bibles for K-2:
- Read and Learn Bible (by Scholastic)
- The Young Readers Bible (by Standard Publishing)
- The Early Reader's Bible (by ZonderKidz)
- The Beginner's Bible (by ZonderKidz)
Daily Bible Reading
Beginning in 2nd or 3rd grade, we've found that our children benefited from reading directly from full text Bibles and then writing to reflect on what they were reading. We printed out a free online reading plan, printed out their recording sheets, and they were good to go! This was a great way to continue building a daily habit of reading for meaning and to continue their growth in Truth.
- Bible Reading and Prayer Notebook - Free printable sheets for 1st-3rd graders that were based off of ones shared by my good friend Jennifer Pettersen. Thanks, Jennifer!
- Into the Word Bible Reading Journal - similar printable sheets designed for upper elementary aged kids
- Bible Reading Plans - from Learn for Your Life
At some point during their middle school years, by the grace of God and the working of the Holy Spirit, our older children have shown their own commitment to personal Bible study and devotions. They still have Biblical studies that we require them to do as part of their coursework and/or to be involved in as part of our family, but it has been so encouraging to see their desire develop for God and His Word!
Additional resources for Daily Bible Reading and Devotions: