Teaching Kids to Read the Bible
One of the greatest joys of being in Children’s Ministry is teaching the Bible to children. What could be better than that?
Well…I can think of one thing.
What if (in addition to teaching the Bible) we helped kids take ownership of their spiritual growth by teaching them how to read the Bible on their own? In other words, instead of giving them fish, what if we taught them to fish for themselves?
Here are four tips on how to do that.
Recommend a Kid-Friendly Translation
Here at GO!, we mostly use the NIrV. It’s translated at a third-grade reading level so it will be accessible to most of the children in your ministry. I personally used the NIrV when I oversaw a kindergarten through 2nd grade group, and they did great with it. Other translations that are commonly used with kids include the NLT, ESV, and CSB. For preschoolers and early-readers, “The Jesus Storybook Bible” and “My First Hands-on Bible” are great options.
Pro Tip: If your budget allows, keep a stack of Bibles on hand so you can give a Bible to any child who decides to follow Jesus or to those who don’t have one.
Read a Little Bit Every Day
Encourage your children (and their families) to read a short passage every day or even just a couple times a week. It would take ten minutes (or less) to put together a weekly reading plan for your families based on what stories you’re covering in your weekend curriculum.
Encourage Them to Engage with the Passage
Give them three simple questions to ask when they’re reading the Bible.
Based on this passage:
What does God want me to know?
What does this story or passage teach me about God?
What kind of person does God want me to be?
Invite Them to Ask Questions
Invite your kids to ask or write down any questions they have about what they read. If you can answer them, do it! But if you can’t, agree to look for the answers together. Ask knowledgeable people – your pastor, for example, or other leaders in your church. Teach your children that there are no “off-limits” questions. There may not always be ready answers, but teach your children to always seek the truth – and when they don’t know the answer to rest in the mystery of who God is.
There you have it! Four tips on teaching your kids to read the Bible for themselves. What you do on the weekends is amazing – but we both know that what we’re really trying to do is instill a lifelong love for Jesus. Learning to read the Bible throughout the week is such a key way they can come to know and love Jesus more.