A Pastor told me recently that his focus for his church is getting the people to read their Bibles. They started a campaign over the past two years that took the church through five sections of the Bible – from preaching, to small groups, to individual readings, the church went through the Gospels, Acts and Paul’s Epistles, the Prophets, the Pentateuch, History and the Writings in the Old Testament.
He shared with me that having people in the word of God daily impacted how they lived their lives. He noticed that a change was on the move within the hearts and behaviors of the people.
For example, one woman, in her sixties, was living with her boyfriend. They had been living together for years and were quite comfortable in their sin. They attended church each week, which was a good thing, but they neglected to read the Bible, and continued, without a pang of guilt, to live their lives contrary to the word.
Then she joined in the Bible readings with the church.
Reading 1 and 2nd Corinthians, she was convicted that her lifestyle with this man was a sin. She had a choice: marry him or move out. She moved out.
The key was this: It wasn’t until she began reading her Bible that she learned what was pleasing to God and what was not.
Beforehand she relied entirely on the sermons. If the messages never spoke to her present situation, she did not realize her behavior was a sin. But now, she was reading the word daily, and her life changed dramatically.
Changing Your Child’s Life
Just like this woman turned away from her sin and aligned her life to the word of God, we as parents can help our children do the same.
Someone commented on a blog I read that parents living out their faith in front of their kids is enough to inspire them to have faith in Jesus. While this is a good start, it’s not all that is needed. It takes more to help kids know Jesus and to understand what pleases Him, and what does not.
God commanded through Moses that the parents were to “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.” God did not stop here. He didn’t just tell the parents to live out their faith in front of their kids. He gave them more.
God continued, “Impress them [God’s word] 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 your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-9).
“Impress them” means to make a mark. God did not say “inspire them,” He said to make a permanent impression on them. One of the most vital things you can do with your kids that will give them a lasting faith in Christ is read the Bible to them, and more importantly, teach them to read and enjoy God’s word on their own. Just like the woman I described earlier experienced conviction about her sin, your children will experience the same.
Likewise, their faith in God will increase dramatically. After all, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
Lifeway Research did a study on how kids grow in their faith. According to Eric Geiger, who summarized the top 5 things parents did that increased a child’s faith, points out the long-term impact reading the Bible has on our kids. He puts it this way:
“Kids who regularly read their Bible are much more likely to walk with Christ as adults than those who do not. More important than a family meal, more important than the school the child attends, more important than the church or the kid’s ministry or the youth group, is helping children fall in love with reading their Bibles.”
The challenge with parents today is they are distracted by the here and now; it’s easy for them to forget that we are to raise our children for eternity. Now, I’m not belittling school, extra-curricular activities, or your duty to provide for your kids, but in the midst of all these temporary important things, don’t neglect to feed your child’s soul. It’s their soul they have to live with forever!
Misconstrued Truth is Nothing More than a Lie
Our culture saturates itself with misconstrued truth. Partial quotes from the Bible mixed with the culture’s misinterpretation of it twists God’s word; any truth twisted is nothing more than a lie.
Our children are growing up in these lies; they believe they are true.
Not reading the Bible has become an epidemic in the church. It’s messing up the spiritual growth strategy God laid out before us.
It’s important to teach our children to be Berean Christians. A Berean Christian reads the word for themselves; they search the scriptures looking for the whole counsel of God. They don’t just rely on what someone else says; they study the word on their own.
As parents, it’s crucial that we imitate Paul and “not shrink from declaring to [our children] the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27).
Hope over Anxiety; Faith over Fear
Reading the word of God with your kids and teaching them to read it every day has the power to lessen their anxiety and fear in life. Hope and faith are waiting to meet them. Why would we ever want to avoid doing this for our kids?
The Psalmist tells us the benefits of God’s words:
- Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. (Psalm 119:24) Our greatest counselor when facing hardship and problems in life is found in the word of God. God’s truth can reveal answers to our problems.
- My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! (Psalm 119:25) When our life is discouraging and disappointing, the word of God gives us a fresh new start.
- You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. (Psalm 119:114) When all seems against us in this world, we can always count on hope in God’s word. It powerfully pulls us from the pit.
- The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. (Psalm 119:130) There are times when we don’t know the answer to life’s challenges. But God’s word shed’s light into the darkness.
As parents, we want what is good and best for our kids. Let’s commit to reading with them from the word. You say you don’t have time? Start with one verse or short passage a day. Take ten minutes. Everyone can find ten minutes to spare. It will be the best ten minutes of your family’s day!