Last week, I wrote on Bible Illiteracy – the very real problem, the call to this generation of Christians to reverse the course, and God’s invitation to me to join Him in this work.
What has weighed on my heart ever since reading Dr. Al Mohler’s article, The Scandal of Biblical Ignorance, is not the article’s content, however – but one mom’s response to it:
“Yes and I agree wholeheartedly! But as a mother of 4 girls, do you have a specific book to guide us? You list the problem but no solution or list of resources. I went to a private christian school, my parents were missionaries and yes, I saw them both in the Word daily. I too, am in the Word but I find it hard to get my girls into it and we do superficial devotions.”
Up to the point of reading this comment, my focus in this work of “reversing the course” had been adults. This mama, however, raises a crucial point, “What about our children?”
It is this point that I have been mulling over all week:
- Bible Illiteracy – having or demonstrating very little or no knowledge of the Bible.
- Bible Illiteracy occurs through (1) not reading the Bible, (2) surface reading of the Bible with little to know understanding of what one has read.
- In my adult-focused thinking, I understand that many adults do not know how to dig into the Bible, engaging with it, on their own. They often rely on hearing sermons preached by their pastors, listening to podcasts, attending formal Bible Studies where the material is presented by someone else, or surface reading. None of which are bad things. The critical piece is that many do not know how to read their Bible – for themselves – for understanding.
- The same is true for many of our children who often rely on Sunday School lessons taught by their teachers, watching videos, attending Bible Clubs, or a quick, surface reading.
- Teaching our children about God’s Word early in life is important. But teaching them to read it for understanding, to engage with it; that is paramount. That skill will provide a firm foundation and instill wisdom in them for the years ahead.
- [tweetthis]There really is a difference between reading the Bible and engaging with the Bible.[/tweetthis]
- Children can study the Bible.
- Bible Studies for children do exist, and there is nothing wrong with a good topical study from time to time. However, being able to study the Bible on one’s own is critical for forming a solid foundation and understanding of the Word of God.
How can we “reverse the course” of Bible Illiteracy for our children?
- Help our children discover some study methods that fit their personality. (I will be sharing a few of these in my June posts as I work with the students at my church.)
- Provide them with materials:
- Bible Study Baskets
- A journal (Journals provide a great place for children to record their thoughts, reflections, insights, and questions as they dig into God’s Word.)
- Ready-to-fill-in templates (Templates are wonderful tools. They can be used as “training wheels” for a child who is not quite ready to work in a journal or for children who are overwhelmed by the blank page of a journal.)
- Encourage them and give them the space to learn:
- Study with them (Print out two copies of the template, one for each of you. Buy two journals. Work together on the same passage.)
- Do not criticize or offer unsolicited suggestions (Yes, by all means, talk with your child about the passage and the correct theology. However, as far as the artwork or layout is concerned, offer grace not advice!)
What a gift – to help children learn that spending time with God can take many forms, can be enjoyable!
[tweetthis]Children can learn to study the Bible for themselves[/tweetthis]. They can learn to read the Bible for content and meaning – reversing the course.