Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Children's Bible Study Pattern

We are blessed to gain wisdom from godly men and women further along in life than we are. The pattern of Bible study we use for our children comes from a couple whose grown children all seem to have a good relationship with the Lord. We've adapted it to our family's schedule and needs and are able to read to our children 4-5 days per week. Of course there are no guarantees and this isn't the only good pattern available, but it seems to work well for us for now.

My husband and I choose a book of the Bible to read through with our children, alternating New and Old Testament books. The Bible we use is intentionally translated for children to understand while still being a faithful translation. We've used storybook children's Bibles in the past, reading through the "entire" Bible (it's a storybook, not a complete Bible) to our children 3 or 4 times already. Well, even with the storybook we skipped a few selections. My husband grew up with this version and I found this version gives a good overall understanding of the history of the Old Testament. My husband liked his version so much growing up that he had it practically memorized before he reached kindergarten and our 4.5 yr old daughter often chooses the second version for me to read during storytime--even though we have many, many other picture books available in our home.

We started reading from the International Children's Bible just a few months ago and took a break from our new routine for our Advent Jesse Tree readings. But even so we're on our third book already. The Bible is subtitled by the editors according to the sections they think go together, and those sections work fairly well for our family to read one section each day. We started with the Gospel of John, read the book of Ruth (our daughters wanted me to finish the whole of Ruth in one day but I extended it to four), and are now working our way slowly through 1 John. After the day's reading I ask each of them what they heard. 1 John is of course harder for them but with coaching and practice they can give me one line that they understood. That's enough for the preschool level. We review what is read about 4 times: verbally to me immediately after I read to them; visually in their "prayer journals" where I sketch something related to the Bible reading and they color it; verbally again to their dad using prompts from me and connecting it with the sketch they colored; and a final auditory review the next day when I remind them of what we read last time before reading the next section aloud to them.

This works well for us and gives our children an introduction to Bible reading. Once they learn how to read we'll decide whether to stay with this pattern, give them the same pattern of reading but expect them to read the Bible themselves, or start a new pattern such as reading through the whole Bible in 1-3 years.

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas, Esther! We are about to start The Jesus Storybook Bible for the second time, but after that I'd like to use something a little deeper. Thanks for the suggestions!