The Bible is Kinda Scary Because It's Massive
One of the main concerns from parents that we observe surrounds the idea of Bible reading. This is a question you yourself may have recently asked:
"How do I read the Bible with my kid?"
The reason I know this is a concern more than anything else is because most parents themselves don’t know how to read the Bible. It’s okay to admit. The Bible is a big book after all. It contains more than 780,000 words and get this… more than 3 million characters (letters and punctuation). It would take over 217 hours at 60 words a minute to retype the entire Bible.
Safe to say the Bible isn’t light reading. We can also agree that if you don’t know how to read the Bible, it will be arduous to navigate through. If this is how you feel personally when you open the Bible, more than likely you will be fearful to open it up with your children.
With this in mind, allow me to provide a few helpful starter tips for you to apply to your own life when it comes to opening up the BIble to read. It is then (when you have a greater understanding of how to read it) that I believe you will gain more confidence and begin to do it more with your children. This list is by no mean comprehensive. That’s not the point of this post. I just want to get you started.
5 Starter Tips
Read more than one verse. The Bible isn’t meant to be read any other way (except maybe a few Psalms and Proverbs). The Bible is a story. Reading the Bible without context is like trying to figure out what Lord of The Rings is all about by merely reading page 78. Instead of reading one verse, read one chapter. Unless it’s Psalm 119, you should be able to get through it relatively quickly :)
What does the passage you are reading say about God? Since the Bible is about God, then you will be hard-pressed to find too many pages that don’t include anything about Him. Is God’s name mentioned. Are there any key statements that point to God’s character (His love, goodness, justice, faithfulness)? Is there any activity by God happening in the passage?
What does the passage you are reading say about mankind? Since the Bible is for us, more than likely you will be able to find something that pertains to who we are. Does the passage speak into our nature and character at all (created, image bearers, sinful, stubborn, loving, encouraging etc.)? Is there any activity by mankind in the passage?
Look for key words that are repeated. The Bible is a work of literature. Because repetition is a wonderful literary device, expect it often in Scripture. We learn best when something is repeated to us. The Bible does this a lot. For example, in Ephesians 2:5-8, one word shows up four times - grace! The Apostle Paul is making a huge statement. That our salvation comes by way of God’s grace!
Look for transitional terms. Again, since the Bible is a literary work, the use of transitional terms like but, moreover, likewise, and therefore is a common occurrence. These terms so often will help you better connect different thoughts. For instance, asking yourself “What is the ‘therefore’ there for?” is a great way to bridge an impending passage with a previous passage.
[How about a bonus tip because we like you? Don't know where in the Bible to start reading? Try one of the gospels - either Mark or Luke. These will give you an up close and personal experience of Jesus, who is the point of the Bible. After that, try Genesis and Exodus, which present the beginnings of the broader story of Scripture - that Jesus saves sinners.]
A Call To Action
Hopefully these five (er, six) tips will at minimum launch you into (finally) opening up the Bible for yourself and then with your kids as well. You have to start somewhere so just take that first step and watch God go to work. I realize there is so much more to learn when it comes to developing a proper hermeneutic (the study of Bible interpretation). That will have to wait for another (more lengthy) series of posts in the future.
For now, have fun reading and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Oh and watch the video below...