As a mother, my highest privilege – and responsibility – is to teach my kids about God through His word, the Bible.
I have a strategy for day-in-and-day-out teaching my children about God as well as eventually teaching my kids to study the Bible for themselves. Right now, this strategy includes hearing the Bible, memorizing it, singing together, learning to pray, and developing a gospel-focused understanding of the Bible’s truths.
I want to share with you what I use to teach my children. I keep a few items right beside the couch in our living room in a basket. They are the most important elements of my “strategy.”
Here is what is in our Bible Study Basket right now:
P.S. If you have questions about any of these resources, or if you have suggestions or ideas that work for you and your kiddos, please share in the comments and let me know! I have learned so much from other moms about what works (and what doesn’t! ;) )
Our kids can understand so many things straight from Scripture! God’s word is alive and powerful, so plant those little living seeds in the hearts of your children. Water them faithfully, and God promises that His word will not return void, but will accomplish HIS purpose.
We desire that our kids develop a “taste” for Scripture, so begin reading it to them when they are YOUNG. Even if we read to them from a modern translation, the Bible text is “heavier” than most of the other books they hear, and we want them to get used to hearing Scripture!
Right now, I’m reading through the New Testament with my kids, usually 1/2 – 1 chapter each day. Before that, I had been reading Genesis and Exodus to my son (skipping over some genealogies in Genesis and some of the more technical details in Exodus).
When we read, I work really hard to make it as fun as possible. I read to them as they lay down for nap or bedtime, or if they want to cuddle under a blanket when they wake up groggy. Sometimes we get a special treat to munch on while reading God’s word at snack time, or we read it in our blanket fort. I use exaggerated voices and hand gestures ;) and we read sections of the Bible to them that are most palatable to them at this age and spiritual situation.
The next item in my basket is The Jesus Storybook Bible. The reason I love this Bible storybook so much is because it helps kids (and parents) trace that “scarlet thread of redemption” that weaves every page of the Bible into the big picture of the gospel.
For example, one day after reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible to my son about the story of Abraham’s being commanded to sacrifice Isaac, it was like a light bulb turned on for my four-year-old. He said, “That ram died so that Isaac wouldn’t have to die, and Jesus died so that I wouldn’t have to die.”
It is such a temptation for parents to read Bible stories like this one to our kids, and our main takeaway might be, “See how Isaac obeyed his dad so well? You should always obey your parents, too!” Yes, Isaac did submit to his father, but the point of the story is not that our kids should submit to us, but that Isaac is a picture that points to the Lamb of God Who submitted to His Father and took the punishment that was due us. This Bible storybook has helped to open my eyes to anticipate the beauty of the gospel in every story in God’s book.
A Hymnal and Songbook
Music is SO important for Christian homes! Singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs is a vital means of letting the word of Christ RICHLY dwell within us, and parents can lay hold of this happy and fun grace from God by teaching songs to their children that teach God’s word.
Don’t you remember lyrics and songs you learned as a child? What better words to echo in our grown children’s hearts years from now than doctrine learned as a child from songs such as Rock of Ages, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, It is Well with My Soul, There Is a Fountain, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, or How Firm a Foundation?
The Getty’s recently released an album of hymns for kids, and it is SO FUN! Our whole family LOVES it. Last fall, I taught a couple of their songs to my young children’s choir at church, and even the little three-year-olds were catching on and singing out.
We listen to a lot of other Christian songs for kids, including some old favorites that I grew up on as a child, Steve Green’s “Hide ‘Em in Your Heart” CDs. These cute children’s songs are simply Bible verses put to music, and they are some of the most well produced Scripture songs I’ve heard. I love the “Hidden in My Heart” lullaby CDs, too. I’ve played and sung them to both of my babies.
Although we don’t have all these CDs in our basket in the living room!, we sing these songs together often in addition to hymns and fun Bible children’s songs.
We’ve tried using index cards, as well as little fun craft ideas for praying together, and this mama just hasn’t been able to make that work for us. So, we’ve begun using a notebook to write down prayer requests, and I like that much better for my kids at this age.
My goal is to write the date by any prayer notes for that day, and I’d like to come back and record updates when the kids see the Lord answer their prayers. I’m still fine-tuning this “system,” but my deepest conviction about praying with my kids is to just do it constantly, taking everything to the Lord in prayer. I want them to know where to go when they need mercy and where they can find grace to help in time of need.
We’ve written memory verses on notecards before, or I’ve highlighted passages in my Bible that we’re memorizing together, but lately my favorite Scripture memory tool is the “Fighter Verses” app for kids. The verses in that app are designed to develop a strong foundation of truths for little hearts, and I’ve enjoyed using it with my oldest child. Even my little one is picking up some phrases.
Just like we try to do with Bible reading, we try to make Scripture memory fun. I’ve let my son call his daddy or grandparents to tell them his new memory verse, or I’ll let him video himself on my phone saying his verse. (I’m not sure why that’s so fun, but it sure is fun to a 5 year old. ;) We’ll put verses to song, or clap while we say the words, or have a picnic outside as a treat while we work on memorizing together.
Scattered about the house on bookshelves and beside beds, we enjoy a variety of other Bible storybooks and devotionals, including:
- The “Standard Bible Storybook“
- “The Big Picture Story Bible“
- “The Rhyme Bible Storybook“
- “The Biggest Story“
- “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing“
And for especially little ones:
Some parents also use catechisms to work with their kids on Bible truths. At this point, my husband and I have decided not to use catechisms with the kids, but I see real benefit in using them so long as they don’t replace actually reading the text and memorizing the Bible.
Once my oldest can read, I am SO excited to expand His knowledge of God’s word through helping him do his own Bible study. He is learning to read now, and I am looking into:
- The “Survival Kit for New Christians” (I used this right after I was saved, and it was a blessing to me)
- Kay Arthur’s “Precepts for Kids“
- Ken Ham’s creation resources
(At some point (probably when he is 4th – 6th grade?), I want my son to join me in adult Bible study to the extent that he is able!)
I plan to make my son his own Bible study basket as he gets older, and it will include whichever of the above resources the Lord leads us to for him at a given age, as well as:
- a notebook (for Bible study and church sermon notes)
- Bible maps
- a Bible dictionary and concordance for kids
- writing utensils (Crayola twistables or micron pens, depending on how sophisticated we get..;)
What other ideas do you have for planting seeds of Scripture in the hearts of your children at home? If you use a Bible Study Basket, what items do you include, especially if you have kids older than mine…I’m eager to learn from you!
Amanda Criss is a wife, stay-at-home mom, and blogger at Bless Your Heart and Home. She writes to encourage the hearts of women through the good news of Jesus Christ. She and her husband, Jody, have two children and live in their home state of Mississippi