As some of the newer readers to this blog may not be aware of the Children’s Bible Reading plan that I’ve been offering for almost a year, here’s an explanation of what I’m trying to do.
Basically, every Saturday I post a daily Bible reading plan for the week ahead. It’s what I use with my own children and it’s characterized by:
1. Brevity. I want this to be do-able. It is more important to be reading small chunks of Scripture regularly than setting the bar too high and failing. Of course I wish my children wanted to read Scripture more, but if I can get them to spend 5 minutes with the Bible, morning and evening, then I will be happy. And hopefully they will develop a growing appetite for it themselves.
2. Variety. I chose Old Testament in the morning and New Testament in the evening. I also want to vary between narrative, poetry, practical, etc. However as my two girls are only 8 and 7, the emphasis will be more on the stories of the Bible. Sometimes I’ll skip some chapters that are especially difficult for children. They can be read and studied when the children are older and better able to profit from them.
3. Simplicity. The pattern is a few verses for reading, and either a verse to write out or a question to answer in the morning and evening. I’ve added a couple of extra questions for the Saturday reading that are a bit more personal and applicatory?
4. Accountability. Although this system is to help me be more accountable for shepherding my children, I also want to make my children accountable. That’s why I ask them to write a verse and an answer a day. And its also why I ask them to bring me their work at least weekly, and try to have a brief discussion with each of them.
5. Unity. One advantage of this is that we will all be reading in the same part of the Bible (my wife and I included). Whatever else we read, we will all have read these verses as a minimum. That means we can all talk about the same passage of Scripture at meals, etc. I hope this will give our family a spiritual unity as we journey on together.
As some friends felt that twice a day readings were too much, especially for kids going out to school in the morning, I also started posting a second set of Bible study notes that have one reading per day. These will go through a book or two from the New Testament, then a book from the Old Testament, then back to the New Testament, and so on. I’ll also leave some space on these notes to write down matters for prayer.
All this has to be bathed in prayer if it is to be a spiritual blessing to the children (and to me). I don’t want it to degenerate into a legalistic exercise where the daily and weekly routine just becomes a boring drudging “ought-to.” However, God does use the reading of Scripture to make sinners wise unto salvation. My hope and prayer is that eventually my children, and all our children, will no longer read because of external pressure or habit, but because they want to, because they have a passion for the Christ that the Scriptures testify of.
And if you want to explore this subject further, here’s a great post from Brian Croft on pastoring our children.