4 Simple Ways to Teach Scripture to Young Children
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
I’ve always found this passage a rather tough pill to swallow. How can we really think about and discuss God’s Word at every corner of our day? I’ve also found it difficult because my children are so young. At the ages of three and one, how can I discuss biblical matters in ways they understand?
Lately, though, I’ve purposed in my heart to try. And I’ve found that if you look for opportunities to teach God’s Word to your children, you’ll be surprised how often they pop up. I’ve still got a long way to go, but here are some simple, practical ways I’ve found to incorporate God’s Word into my children’s daily lives.
- Keep Sunday School class materials. Those of us who are church-going families often come home with an assortment of crafts, Scripture pages, and coloring sheets. And — I’ll be honest — formerly, I just threw them away. I didn’t see the need for more “trash” on the kitchen table. But I’ve realized that these papers are perfect conversation starters for talking about the Bible. Now I leave my daughter’s coloring pages and worksheets on the bar, and when we sit down for a meal, I’ll ask her about them. “Tell me about this page. What were you learning here?”
- Relate activities to Bible stories. The best way for young children to grab onto God’s Word and enjoy it is through the exciting stories in the Bible. My daughter loves stories like Jonah and the Whale and Noah’s Ark. So lately I’ve been trying to bring them up when they relate to something we’re doing. For example, a few weeks ago we were playing in the yard and she climbed into her daddy’s fishing boat. It seemed like the perfect time to tell her about Simon Peter, who’d been fishing all night with no luck but caught a boat full when he cast his net one more time in faith. We acted out the story, pretending to throw our nets over the boat, and she engaged with the Bible through play.
- Read your Bible in front of them. When my daughter catches me with an open Bible, she usually says, “Hey! Read me the story about Jesus being born!” (or Jesus being raised from the dead, etc.) At those moments — when she’s interrupting my “quiet time” — I have to remind myself that it’s just as important for me to stop and read the Bible to her as it is for me to read alone. So I’ll stop, flip to the requested story, and read it in the most exciting tone I can. I love that reading the Bible in front of her causes her to want to hear it too. It’s modeling a love for God’s Word that she is already picking up.
- Read Christian children’s books. This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to instill biblical teaching into young kids. Both of mine have always loved books. But I’m working on adding more Christ-centered books to our collection, rather than ones that are just silly and cute. One of my favorite publishers of Christian children’s books is Tommy Nelson. On my blog, I partner with Tommy Nelson to give away Christ-centered books for kids each month. Their books are catchy, colorful and intentional. If you’re going to read to your kids anyway (which most of us are), why not read books that teach biblical concepts?
These are just some simple ways to “impress [God’s commandments] on your children” (Deuteronomy 6:7). I’m sure you’ve got more. What are the best methods you’ve found? Leave a comment and let me know.