I grew up in a Christian home. But I didn’t learn to deeply engage with the Bible until I was an adult. I learned so many things that shaped my faith. I learned to have a quiet time, to pray, the importance of serving in my church and fellowship with other believers. These are great and necessary! My faith would not be strong without them. But I needed more. I needed to engage with the Bible and question it until I could see that it holds up to my questions.
It was just easier to let teachers and preachers feed me, than to spend time searching the scriptures for answers. I sometimes wanted to just keep going when I read a passage that didn’t make sense to me rather than take time to investigate to see how the Word would hold up. Have you ever felt that? On the surface it doesn’t quite line up with what you’ve always thought the Bible said, but rather than look into it, you just turn the page?
Now I know that in each of those instances, the Bible can hold its own. I want my children to know that it can stand up to their questions! God did not leave plot holes in his book. Take a second and soak in how amazing that is. A book written over thousands of years by dozens of men, holds up.
How can I teach my kids to engage with the Bible?
1. Engage with the Bible yourself
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I read or study my Bible every day. Period. If I oversleep and get up at the same time as my kids, they know that they will see me get them breakfast and then go to the living room with my coffee to have my quiet time.
If we encounter a situation where we need to decide what to do, I tell my kids what the Bible says. I remind them that I know what to choose because it’s in the Bible.
My kids see me learn Bible verses. I have an app on my phone for learning verses, and I downloaded it to our Kindle for them. We have talked about important it is to memorize the Bible. Not only do we memorize verses, but we expand them to full chapters. Love the Bible wholly with your heart.
2. Teach it
We read the Bible in a way that we don’t read any other book. It is full of stories, poetry, historical teaching and so much more. Some books have a narrative that flows through the entire book in a unified story. Some are stories and other types of literature mixed together. Also, Some are full of theological teachings where every sentence is packed full of wisdom and nuance.
Talk about how different parts of the Bible are different from each other and how each part is so important. Tell them how the Psalms have helped you through difficult times. Show them a story in the Gospels that convicted you.
Read together and ask them for questions. Ask your own questions to them. If you don’t know the answers, look them up together. Pick a theme verse to be your family verse and memorize it together. Ours is Micah 6:8.
3.Encourage them to engage with the Bible on their own
This is the part I’m so excited to share with you today! For a couple years now, it has been on my heart to create a resource for teens and preteens to use to learn how to interact with the Bible on a deeper level. I want to help them learn how to approach and study the Bible. As I watch my own kids grow spiritually, I want them to have the resources they need to learn how to approach the Bible.
I wrote the Engage: Bible Study Journal for Teens to give youth a simple method to learn how to study the Bible on their own. This guided journal will teach readers to take more time with a passage. How to look for the main idea of a chapter, and where the passage fits into the big picture story of the Bible. Readers will be encouraged to pray scripture from what they have read and apply it to their lives.
The journal begins with examples of how to use this method to study the Bible. It then moves on to a practice chapter where readers can try out the method with some examples provided. Readers will be encouraged to begin by studying the Gospel of John. This is a great way to begin to study the Bible to get a foundation of knowledge.
Who is this journal for?
I tried to design this journal with the intent that it be simple to use and easy to understand. That doesn’t mean that the Bible is always immediately easy to understand. But it teaches teens that the Bible can hold up to their questions and that it’s okay to ask them. Any teen who is willing to read the Bible as part of a quiet time, can use this book.
You can order the Engage: Bible Study Journal for Teens here!