Though I’d love to have perfect consistency, honestly, we miss a night here and there.
I like to think of forward progress more than perfection. That’s Sarah and my attitude towards Bible reading too.
Moses exhorts in Deuteronomy 6:7,
“You shall teach [these words] diligently to your children.”
There are myriads of ways to do this but we have to do something.
I posted a blog on ten tips for reading the Bible together and want to unpack a few of the steps. This will delve more into each step. I think you’ll find it practical and encouraging. Here goes.
10 Quick and Simple Steps for Family Bible Reading
1. Ask the Lord for help.
Asking is so basic, but you really need to do this and keep asking for grace. I assume He answers in 50 different ways. The point is acknowledging your need and His power. When you don’t, you tend to attribute it to your own strength and ultimately will fizzle out.
“…God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
“Ask and it will be given to you… for everyone who asks receives…) (Matthew 7:7-8)
2. Ask your spouse for help.
I like for the man to initiate this, something like, “Hey Darlin, I’ve been thinking about reading the bible together in the evening after supper for 15 minutes in our living room. What do you think? Time? Place? Location? It shows that you really are investing time in thinking this through and that you care about her input.
3. Set a time and place.
You can do this anywhere and anytime. Do whatever works for your family. But, there are natural laws that will help or hinder your efforts. If you do it right before bed, or very early in the morning, can everyone be alert enough to participate? Are there natural gathering times like breakfast or dinner?
4. Prepare the troops.
Having a conversation to tell your family what you’re planning to do and why is sneakily powerful. They need to have a window into Daddy’s and/or Mommy’s heart. You can say the Lord’s been leading you to do this. You even might share a place in scripture that talks about it. Giving the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ helps them buy into your vision.
You’ll also need to prepare the little ones with what they can do while you’re reading and discussing. Maybe it’s coloring. Maybe quietly playing with a favorite toy. Having a plan for what they can do in addition to listening is so important.
5. Gather the troops.
The time has come. You’ve got your Bible, you’ve brewed the perfect cup of coffee and are ready to lead valiantly. Calling the troops to attention can be fun, but needs to be real.
6. Pick a passage.
Do this ahead of time. You can start anywhere, but I suggest beginning with either a Psalm or small book like Ephesians or Colossians. It’s always helpful to have a quick “win” for the family like reading through an entire book.
Depending on the age of your kiddos, I would stick to 10-15 verses max. This is not a Bible read-a-thon. I like to read, but am fine with assigning Sarah or one of the kids to read as well.
8. Talk about it.
I say, “Ok, gang, what stuck out to you?” or “What did you hear?” You can get into deeper ideas about inductive Bible Study later, but they might hear one phrase and say “What’s that?” Talk about it, let your wife share, and if you don’t know, say those three daunting words, “I don’t know.” No problem. You can get back to them on it.
Keep it simple here. If there is a truth that the passage is calling you to believe, say, “God, I believe You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. Thank You.” Or “God, You commanded us to love one another. Help us love one another.” You can also have one of the kids pray. They’ll learn to pray by hearing you pray out loud.
10. Do it again.
This might be the biggest move you have to make. As you keep going, you’ll develop techniques that you like and don’t like. When you can evaluate 30 prayer times verses 3, you’ll be able to select the ones that were awesome and the ones that were not-so-awesome.
You may be an empty nester, you might have teens, you might have a newborn babe or right in the middle years with 5 kids under 12. If you have a family then your family was made for encountering God in His Word. He will give grace!
You. Can. Do. This.