Here are a few practical, how-to tips for Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, teachers, and everyone who loves a child, as you teach and apply God's Word to young hearts and lives. May the Lord bless, guide, and fill you with wisdom as you perform life's greatest privilege: presenting the Almighty God to the next generation of receptive hearts.
1. Begin each new book of the Bible by spending one day's learning session on each Bible person, helping your child become acquainted with him or her. A good way to begin is by reading the Bible narrative included in the chapter or telling it to your child in your own words. Be enthusiastic and animated as you describe these very real people, conveying to your child that they actually lived and experienced the same feelings and struggles that we do today. The goal in teaching our children is to enable the people in the Bible to come alive to them and help open their hearts to want to learn more about the Bible and the people in it.
You may choose to present the narratives describing the people of the Bible before, after, or during any of the activities that follow it. Find a time each day when the child is receptive to spending the highest quality time with you, and custom-fit the way you present God's Word to the way your child responds and learns best.
If a child can understand early in his life that Adam, Eve, Abraham, David, and the disciples were people with energy and emotion, too, he will begin to forumulate the desired perception that God's Truth relates to him, and that God unconditionally loves the little unique person He made him/her to be.
Always remember that the wonderful stories and lessons of God's Word are much more alive, relevant, and timeless than the latest fad character, and your child will come to treasure them much more than a passing interest as the lessons penetrate her mind and heart. Remember, too, that instilling God's Word in a child's heart is not like any teaching you will ever do. Each time you share Bible stories and truths, the Lord Himself, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, will be speaking through your willing words as you instruct and inspire your child, and simultaneously, working in her impressionable heart as she listens and participates.
2. If you wish to continue with the same Bible person for several days or revisit a Bible character you've already met, review the narrative by retelling it, or ask your child to tell you about the specific Bible friend. Then ask leading questions about the Bible person, such as for Adam and Eve: "Who was the first man God made? Who was Eve? Where did they live? Did they always do good things?"
3. Use as many activities as you wish related to the people you are learning about, as long as your child remains interested. Your goal is to make learning about the Bible and its people fun for him!
Follow the same format in presenting the stories and Bible lessons section of each chapter to your child. Tell or read the narrative/story and do one or more hands-on activities as often as time allows and her attention span dictates. It is a real plus to stop the Bible learning before she gets bored, leaving her eager for the next spiritual lesson.
4. If you wish, as each book of the Bible is completed, ask your child to draw the name of the book or you may print it for him, or design the name on your computer. He may then color it and tape it to the door or around the walls of his room in a Bible book chain or stick it on the shelves of a Bible "bookcase" outline on a door or wall. This bookcase can be made with masking tape and will help him understand and visualize that the Bible is made up of many fascinating books. In addition, he will be introduced to some of the new-sounding names of the Bible's books. Learning their general location with the whole Bible will be an advantage when he begins to look up verses for himself!
5. You also may want to celebrate the conclusion of each book study with a treat or a small reward commemorating the priceless time you have spent together and he adventures you have enjoyed in learning about God and His Word. The celebration can be simply a big hug, a round of applause for your child's graduation to a new book of the Bible, a trip to the Treasure Box for a treat and trinket, lunch together at the mall, or a trip to the Christian bookstore for a new book or video.
Regardless of the specifics of how you teach, you will be on your way to training a little Bible scholar and helping to indelibly shape his life for time and eternity! What could possibly be more important or rewarding than that?
Excerpted by permission from 1001 Ways to Introduce Your Child to the Bible, copyright 2002 by Kathie Reimer. All rights reserved. Published by Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, Tn., www.lifewaystores.com, 1-800-448-8032.
Kathie Reimer loves teaching God's Word to children.
How do you try to make teaching the Bible to your children a fun experience? What are some of your children's favorite ways to learn more about the Bible? Visit Crosswalk's forums to discuss this topic by clicking on the link below.