Family Bible Study with Young Children “Without Going Crazy”

by Stephen Goode

What I am posting is the response to a great question I recently received from a parent who desires to teach her children books of the Bible, stories, and scriptures, but she doesn’t know where to begin. This is a common problem in many Christian homes and I thought I would post the response. If you are struggling with where to start in having a children’s family Bible study I hope this helps.

The parent wrote to me saying:

Hi Steve…I love reading your encouraging words here!
I wanted to ask you a question….where can I get some resources for some kids games to help me teaching Bible verses, stories etc…I am so clueless. They are getting tired of me singing verses because I can’t carry a tune and they lose interest very quickly!!!! If you have any ideas on resources, I appreciate it!!

Parent

You are asking great questions. In fact I am tasking my wife April with writing the book on this one. In the mean time I will commit to write a “how-to” article on the topic.

To get you started, plan the time you will do it each week and stick to it. We have ours on Sundays, but plan yours around what will be the best time.

1. Plan your time and talk it up with the kids! They will feed off of your excitement! They will also feed off your nervousness, so stop!
2. Plan the actual time you will be together step-by-step, anticipating that it will never go perfect. You have young kids, you know this.
3. A typical order of your time will start with the kids, and you singing songs they picked out. Do a couple they really like and more if they enjoy this. I like using this time to teach them actual hymns because they don’t get the same dose anymore at church.

A Suggested Order for your Bible Study Time

  • Books of the Bible. A craft time we have used is making a notebook for each child with the names of the books of the Bible. They get to cut them out and glue them into their notebook in the correct order. You only do a certain number each time and then once they are glued you say recite them. Start out small and then increase at the child’s learning rate. Do it for the ones who can’t read too, if they will participate. Most times they will because they do not want to be left out and their big brother or sister are doing it. This caught us by surprise when our three-year old started reciting the entire Old Testament books in the correct order.
  • Songs. start out with the kids, and you singing songs they picked out. Do a couple of songs they really like and more if they enjoy this. I like using this time to teach them actual hymns because they don’t get the same dose anymore at church. The kids also enjoy it and it is a way to preserve a part of our church history.
  • Have your Bible Story time. I have one I recommend called Egermeier’s Bible Story Book. The reviews are all 5 stars from parents. It was written in the 1920’s in common language and is formatted to be a story at each reading, and has many more stories than the typical Bible story book. They are also in the correct Biblical order. So you would read your story which will stimulate new and challenging questions! Don’t be surprised if you learn more than they do. It’s awesome!
  • Prayer Time. Go out and purchase a notebook you will call your “Prayer Book.” ; Each week you will take the prayer requests of your children and things you are praying for as a family. Put the date on each time. Don’t be surprised if your kids repeat a lot of the same ones. I used to get frustrated over this personally, but realized it is how they learn. Everyone gets a chance to pray in our family and we usually do youngest to oldest because of the attention span thing. We like getting on the floor and kneeling as a family even though at my age there are a few more creaks and groans in the knees.
Thoughts on our Family Bible Study

This is a very typical Sunday family Bible Study time. We have done this since Savannah has been born, and Savannah is 4 and Noah is 8. Some things we have learned is don’t get frustrated with the behavior of your younger child during the Bible Study time, and that even when it appears they are not listening, THEY ARE… ;

Don’t get caught up in thinking it must be flawless or perfect or you will go crazy or much worse, not try it. The whole time should take around 20 minutes at best, but don’t be surprised if it sometimes goes longer.
I hope this helps give some of you new ideas in how to have a Family Bible Study time.

What about some of you reading this? What are some ideas or things you have tried that did or did not work?