At what age can a child begin to study the Bible? Good question. Of course we read to our children Bible stories from the time they are born, maybe even before. But when can we begin to sit with them and study the actual Bible? I don’t have an exact answer but I believe children are capable of learning more and a lot earlier than we expect them to. When a child is reading well enough that they can read from the Bible, that’s a great time to start, if not before.
God’s word is powerful. The book of Hebrews tells us “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (4:12). David loved God’s word so much, he wrote an entire Psalm about it (119). He learned that hiding God’s word in his heart helped him in his battle against sin (119:11). We also know that hearing the word of God is essential for faith, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
Whether it’s something you do once a week, once a day, as part of homeschool or as part of family devotions, it’s important to sit down with your child and study God’s word together. Even if all you can do is focus on reading through a book of the Bible together, a chapter at a time, do so. As you read, stop and discuss words they do not know and explain what is happening. Study it in advance yourself so you are prepared for discussion.
We have a Bible curriculum that comes with our homeschool curriculum but it is not as deep or thorough as I would like. As a result, we have tried a few Bible studies designed for children in elementary school. Because my son is in second grade, he and I do the study together. I have him search for the passage and read it to me or follow along as I read. As he matures in his understanding and ability to navigate Scripture, I will give him time alone to work on it.
A few of the studies we have enjoyed:
1. Starr Meade’s studies titled God’s Mighty Acts in Salvation and God’s Mighty Acts in Creation. These books have short chapters, perfect for short attention spans and for older children who want to read it themselves. The one on salvation takes the reader through the book of Galatians and the one on creation goes through the days of creation, showing the reader how God is revealed through nature.
2. God’s Names (Children Desiring God): This is a favorite of ours which takes the reader through a study of 26 names of God. My son still remembers many of the names we learned during this study.
3. Kay Arthur has an entire series on inductive Bible studies for children. These books are more involved and as thorough as her adult studies. We have only been through the one on prayer (Lord, Teach Me to Pray for Kids (Discover 4 Yourself® Inductive Bible Studies for Kids), but it is wonderful. She has a book on how to study the bible and then separate studies on books of the Bible such as James, John, Genesis, Esther and more. I wrote in more detail about the study on prayer in this post here.
And good news for my friends today! I have a copy of God’s Mighty Acts in Salvation to give away to one reader. Simply leave a comment below and you will be automatically entered. Random.org will select a winner at random on Monday, November 5 at 8:00pm EST. Update: Random.org selected Helene as the winner of the book giveaway. Congratulations!
I desire for my children to grow to love God’s word and feed on it as the manna that satisfies their soul. Because nothing else could ever fill and satisfy. And it is to this end that I pray.
I would love to hear about your favorite Bible studies that you use with your children. Please share!
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