11 Tips for Studying the Bible at the Dinner Table
- Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Still, the dinner Bible discussions led by Grace and me have been a huge hit. Every time we sit down for dinner, the dinner Bible is in its place on the table, opened to the section of Scripture we will discuss that evening by one of the enthusiastic kids. We often have some really insightful conversations around the dinner Bible as the younger kids, especially the boys, seem to be able to handle longer and more reflective discussions when their hands are busy as they eat. Also, with the casual conversation over dinner I have noticed that everyone gets an opportunity to speak as we take turns chewing our food, and our dinners last longer than they had before because everyone is engaged.
To help parents learn the Bible and teach it to their own children, we have built upon the preaching of the Word at our Sunday services. For example, we are currently in the middle of a seven month study of 1-2 Peter called Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1-2 Peter (Trial). As part of this study, we have created a Dinner Bible Booklet for parents to do with their children over the dinner table, and a Community Group Study Booklet, for our adult discussion groups.
The following suggestions are offered based upon my experience with our children over dinner, while using the Dinner Bible Booklet, and what we teach the parents at our church to do. These steps are intended to help nurture Bible study with parents and their children:
- Try and eat dinner with your entire family regularly.
- It may be helpful for Mom and Dad to sit next to one another to lead the family discussion.
- Open the meal by asking if there is anyone or anything to pray for.
- A different family member opens in prayer each night, covering any requests. This way each family member learns to pray aloud.
- Discuss how everyone's day went throughout the meal.
- Have a Bible in front of the parents in a translation that is age appropriate for the kids' reading level. Have someone (parent or child) open the Bible to the assigned text in the Dinner Bible Booklet and read it aloud while everyone is eating and listening.
- A parent then reads the word for the day from the Dinner Bible Booklet, and gives the corresponding definition provided in the booklet and/or paraphrases the word's definition at an age-appropriate level.
- Ask the discussion questions in the Dinner Bible Booklet, and if your kids are older (in other words, junior high and up) then you may also consider using the Community Group discussion questions.
- Let the conversation happen naturally. Carefully listen to the kids and let them answer the questions. Fill in whatever they miss, or lovingly and gently correct whatever they get wrong so as to help them.
- If the Scriptures convict you of sin, repent as you need to your family, and share appropriately honest parts of your life story so the kids can see Jesus' work in your life and your need for Him too. (This demonstrates gospel humility.)
- At the end of dinner, ask the kids if they have any questions for you.
First, everyone who attends the church receives a free copy of the Trial curriculum book which is also available online for free. This 200-page book includes my introductory articles on 1-2 Peter, the books Peter wrote, and the role of parents in instructing their children, along with recommended commentaries for deeper study. Included in the free book are dinner discussion questions I wrote to help parents teach 1-2 Peter to their own children based upon my experiences with my children, as well as the Community Group Bible study discussion questions for the entire series.
Second, we have provided a free digital copy of a 12,000 word introduction and overview of 1-2 Peter. This content is available only on our password-protected member's site called The City. On The City, our Community Group Bible studies supplement their weekly face-to-face time together in homes with private chat groups where they can ask questions, dig deeper into Scripture, pray for one another, and serve one another as needed.
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