10 Tips for Getting Your Kids Into the Word in 2022

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When we had kids at home, I had a goal of a daily quiet time (Bible reading, memorization, and prayer) for each child before they left the house for school. 

I know. Tall order. 

Our kids attended public school, and I wanted God’s Word in their heads before they stepped out the front door. 

God’s Word changes things. People. Circumstances. Hearts. 

Check out these verses:

  •  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 
  •  “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 
  •  “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

Getting your kids’ eyeballs in God’s Word is vital. 

How? Here are ten tips.

1. Tackle small portions:

  • One verse at a time 
  • One passage at a time
  • One story at a time 

(See Devour the Bible: Small Bites and Devour the Bible: One Bite at a Time at the end of the post.)

2. Study a character: Who’s their favorite Bible hero/heroine? Villain? Team?

3. Choose a genre: History? Poetry? Battles? Love stories? Proverbs? Parables? Where does your student gravitate?

4. Identify topics of interest (or need): Anger? Money management? Sibling issues? Tie to a Bible character if possible. Trouble with lying? Abraham’s your guy. Sibling rivalry? Explore Joseph and his brothers or Rachel and Leah.

5. Meditate & Memorize: These two disciplines pair beautifully. Think on it (Meditate). Over and over (Memorize). Start with short verses and progress to passages and even chapters and books as they grow. 

6. Find a dramatization of what they are reading. Choices range from a time-traveling trio exploring Bible times in a Hanna-Barbera’s The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible cartoons to Dallas Jenkins’ s The Chosen series.

7. Keep helpful resources on hand:

  • Concordance
  • Study Bibles
  • Biblegateway.com
  • Bible apps 

8. Provide needed supplies and create a special spot:

  • Journals
  • Colored pens, pencils, markers
  • Stickers
  • Highlighters
  • Pillows
  • Good lighting
  • Comfy seating (But not too comfy!)

9. Try different reading plans and study methods.

Study Methods Example: Interrogate the text: Who, what, when, where, why, and how?

What is God saying to me?

Reading Plan: Read one chapter of Proverbs each day for a month.

10. Reward the effort. One of the best things you can do is to reward the behavior you want to see repeated. What hits their sweet spot? A gift card? A trip for ice cream? A new book?

If you feel overwhelmed, I get it. 

When it comes to your child’s race of faith, we parents serve as coaches, mentors, cheerleaders, medical crew, and water station personnel. 

It’s a lot. 

We feel equipped for some roles. Others—not so much. That’s why I created Devour the Bible: Small Bites for preschoolers and Devour the Bible: One Bite at a Time for elementary-aged students.

A key part of any race is moving toward the finish line—Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. A large part of that movement involves time in God’s word: reading, understanding, and applying it, all in relationship with Him. 

Devour the Bible helps kids understand what they read and how to walk it out. Think of it as the fuel offered at a race station. Oranges. Bananas. Water. Gatorade. 

Fuel that will get them through the next leg of their race. 

For your elementary-aged students, Devour the Bible: One Bite at a Time offers one Bible verse with five study points in infographic form you can stick on your fridge. Kids study one verse while learning something new each day. By the weekend, they’ll have hidden a new verse in their heart. 

For your preschoolers, I’ve designed Devour the Bible: Small Bites, a coloring sheet with a shorter verse for easier memorization, five easy applications, and a parent’s guide. 

Fuel today’s race with Devour the Bible. This month, we’ll chew on 1 Corinthians 13:4a. Enter your email in the form below.

If you would like both, just email me and I’ll send you the other link.

Bite-Sized Bible Study

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How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

How do you study God’s Word? One verse at a time.

Though I’m a fan of reading through the Bible, for study purposes, one bite can make a meal. 

One of my early assignments in seminary was to take one verse and come up with fifty observations. The next week, I had to take the same verse—and come up with fifty more.

And I did it. 

You can too. 

Here’s a bite for each day this week.

Monday: Choose a verse. Make it the memory verse for the week and get double duty from it. For today, I’m choosing John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Tuesday: Read it. Over and over again. Change which word you emphasize each time. 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Wednesday: Break it down. Now’s the time to use that sentence diagramming from middle school. Look at nouns, verbs, phrases, and modifiers. 

Thursday: Be a journalist. Ask who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Friday: Look for other clues like repetition, opposites, comparisons, and contrasts. Underline words that need defining. 

Saturday: Put your name in where appropriate.

Sunday: Wrap up the week with a time of sharing. What did the Holy Spirit emphasize with each family member? What takeaways resulted?

Activities:

On a chalkboard or whiteboard, write the verse for the week. 

Have each family member choose a colored marker or chalk. Let them add their observations. 

Plan something special for the person with the greatest number of observations as well as something for those who memorize it.

Take a bite out of Scripture this week. You’ll be amazed at how one bite can satisfy.

Dig into the Word, Not the Yard

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I had done my homework, but still, I was unprepared for the demands of our new family addition. A working dog. Specifically, a Belgian Malinois. Two years later, I’m still amazed by his abilities. I expected our new pup to require a lot of physical activity. What surprised me was his need for mental stimulation. 

Working dogs are smart. They take more effort on the owner’s part than the average dog, but only because their skills far exceed that of the normal family pet. Working dogs need a challenge. Games. Puzzles. Even feeding can be part of maintaining mental sharpness—and mental activity has proven important because a bored working dog means trouble.

If God designed working dogs with a high need for mental stimulation, what does that tell you about us humans? When did you last challenge yourself mentally? Spiritually? Here are a few tips to maintain our mental sharpness the next time we dig into the Word:

Interrogate the text. Put on the investigative reporter hat and ask who, what, when, where, why, and how. What jumps out?

Emphasize different words. Change the emphasis of various words in a verse and see what God reveals. Ex. “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” Psalm 23:1 NIV

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

Try a word study. Look up a word (https://www.biblegateway.com) and see how it is used through a particular book, the Old or New Testament, or even through the whole of Scripture.

Memorize Scripture. Try one verse, then try a passage, a whole chapter, or tackle a small book like Philemon or one of Paul’s letters. 

Go back in time. If you have a study Bible—and you should have one—take the time to read the information at the front of each book. Find out what the author said to his original audience. Knowing Paul sat in prison awaiting his upcoming trial and judgment changes the whole tone of Philippians. What issues did he deal with? Do we face anything comparable today?

Ignore chapter and verse breaks. These additions came later. Read the book straight through. Start with a shorter book and read it several times. You’ll get a better feel for the book itself and the flow of that book if you don’t stop at chapter or verse breaks. 

Write down as many observations about the text as you can. Start with twenty-five. Then repeat and see if you can make it fifty.

Mental sharpness helps us both physically and spiritually. A bored mind leads to trouble. Challenge yourself and dig into the Word (not the yard!). 

Workout of the Week: 7 Tips for Mental (and Spiritual) Sharpness

Memory Verse: “Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.” Ecclesiastes 12:9-10 NIV

Meditation Passage: Ecclesiastes 12:9-13

Do It: Dig into the Word.

Come Before His Presence with Singing

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Imagine walking into your weekend church service. The worship team takes the stage and begins to sing—a psalm. 

On the way home from church, the kids hit their favorite Christian playlist—of psalms.

A popular Christian band wins a Dove award for—an album of psalms. 

For ancient Israel, the psalms held the top spot in worship tunes of the day. Psalms stuck in people’s heads. Israelite women hummed psalms as they kneaded bread and folded laundry. Men whistled the psalms on the way to work. Kids oohed and aahed over King David’s latest chorus. 

For me, approaching the psalms as favorites like “Amazing Grace” or the latest Hillsong album was never my mindset—until now. Seminary will do that to you. Allow me to tweak your perspective.

  1. God loves music. Music is a big deal to God. The book of Psalms wins the prize for the largest book in the Bible. It holds 150 songs. Songs, not chapters. How does your worship playlist stack up to God’s?
  2. We live in the arts. In the psalms, you will see every possible human emotion expressed—and God handles them just fine. You will also see that whatever the circumstance, the psalmist always returns to hope in God and praise to Him. 
  3. The psalms direct our priorities. The psalms strike a different tone than most contemporary Christian tunes today. They are straightforward about life and its realities. They don’t mince words concerning right and wrong. They make a clear distinction between the world’s way and God’s way. They focus our thoughts on what God sees as important. We need that as life bombards us with everything ungodly.

As a college student, I had Keith Green’s Psalm 23 and Psalm 8 running through my head. They still do, but a search on Spotify led me to several more albums devoted to the psalms. Since many psalms I’ve heard put to present-day music tend to be slow, I gravitated to Shane and Shane’s albums, hoping to find something more upbeat. They didn’t disappoint.

So, here’s your challenge. Choose a psalm you like and see if it’s been set to music. Learn the psalm—memory work and worship all in one! Tap into God’s Word this week and use the psalms as God originally intended, not just as Bible study, but as praise. 

Psalm 100
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Come into His presence with singing. 

A Tale of Two Sisters: Part 4 What Ifs?

For three weeks, we’ve examined the account of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah in Genesis 29-30. Today, let’s look at some what-ifs. 

What if Jacob had led spiritually?

What if Jacob had accepted Leah and had honored her as the mother of his children?

What if Rachel had empathized with her sister instead of blaming her, when the situation was really her father’s fault?

What if the girls had encouraged one another instead of competing?

What if they had loved their niece and nephews as their own?

Yet God redeemed a bad situation:

  • God established the twelve tribes through this broken family.
  • God saved two nations from famine through Joseph’s little trip to Egypt. 
  • God worked on Jacob’s heart to restore the broken relationships with his brother Esau and his father Isaac. 

Family wounds sometimes feel as if they will never heal. They need the supernatural touch of the Great Physician. However, the patients must follow the treatment plan:

Forgive: I know. Deep breath. Pray and do it a million times a day if you need to. It will get better. God will help you release it.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 NIV

Pray: Pray for them. No, really. And I don’t mean one of those wrath-of-God vengeance prayers. 

“‘You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44

Bless: Ask God to bless them and, if it is in your power to do so, you bless them. 

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Romans 12:14

Dysfunction is anything but fun. Don’t leave any what-ifs. Work toward healing, restoration, and wholeness. 

Workout for the Week: Part 4 What-ifs

Memory Verse:
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Romans 12:14

Meditation Passage: Genesis 29-30

Do It: Take the first step to reconcile.

The spiritual discipline for June is Simplicity. What needs simplifying in your life?