One of the most important shared roles you have as a couple is grounding your children in their knowledge and understanding of Bible. You are giving them the foundation they need to flourish in their relationship with Jesus. Having Scripture plant in their hearts and minds will guide them for years to come in making wise, God-honoring decisions.
We are thankful that our three children have made choices for Jesus. While we have made our share of mistakes as parents, here are a few things we believe we did right in teaching our children the Bible.
1. We made church a priority.
For us, attending church on a regular basis is a value and we made sure it was a non-negotiable for our kids, too. Who knows what God may have for them in a teaching, song, or conversation on any given Sunday that could be a defining moment in their spiritual formation?
Increasingly we see families make church attendance a matter of convenience. If it fits our schedule, if we weren’t out too late Saturday night, if we happen to be up…THEN we’ll go to church as a family. Parents who treat church like this are setting an example for their children that treats a relationship with God and Christian community as optional. Make the commitment together to make church a priority.
2. We read Bible stories and had nightly bedtime prayer.
When our children were young we got a children’s Bible story book (My First Bible) and went through it until the cover fell off and the stories were practically memorized. This gave our kids a familiarity with Bible stories and increased their comfort in understanding an “adult” Bible when they grew older.
We also prayed with our children at bedtime as a couple. We didn’t worry about their posture in prayer (one child sang her prayers while standing on her head in bed!), but we made sure that each evening ended with a focus on talking with God. The practice of praying with our children carried all the way into high school, when they independently wanted to have their own time to read and pray.
3. We helped them memorize relevant Bible verses.
Before our children could barely form a sentence, we would say Psalm 4:8 over them, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, will make me dwell in safety.” Whenever they would be afraid or anxious at night, we would come in and quote this verse with them. Over time, they would pray it out loud—applying the Bible to their situation.
Another verse we had them learn and apply (with limited success!) was Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” This provided a check in their spirit regarding the type of speech they used toward one another.
4. We studied with our children.
As our daughters got older, Heidi would do one-on-one Bible studies (like Beth Moore’s studies) or applicable book studies such as And The Bride Wore White by Dana Gresh about purity. Brad took 1 ½ years with our son to read through The Case for Christ as well as a couple of books on Biblical manhood.
As parents, you don’t have to be experts in the Bible to teach your children the Bible. You have to be intentional, get the right tools, and stay consistent and united in your efforts. As you do, you will raise children who can rightly handle the Bible and you will build your marriage.