Portrait of an Old Woman Reading, c.1630-1635, Gerrit Dou (1613-1675), Public Domain
Let's be honest, shall we?
There's been a recent realization in evangelical communities that for too long we parents have abdicated our responsibility to teach the Bible to our kids. We've relied on Sunday school, church, or even Christian schools to do our job for us.
And it's not working.
According to an American Bible Society survey of American adults conducted by the Barna Group (The State of the Bible, 2013), 100% of Protestant adults said there's a Bible in their home. Two thirds of Protestant adults reported reading the Bible several times a week. Yet, one third of those couldn't identify the first five books of the Bible, half identified John the Baptist as an apostle, and a quarter didn't know Paul's original name.
Most of us don't really know God's Word.
How do we disciple our kids when we don't know the Bible well ourselves? That's the question I asked myself when I realized this whole discipleship deal was on me. I'd never read the Bible all the way through. How was I supposed to teach it? What if I got it wrong?
That was nearly ten years ago. I didn't go to school for a Master's degree in theology (though I sure considered it!), but I did take the call to disciple seriously. First, I had to educate myself. Today I write about the Bible for hundreds of thousands of kids. Isn't life funny?
Here are three steps to take so that, in less than six months, you can comfortably lead your family in Bible study:
1) Read the Bible. The whole Bible.
Nothing beats knowing Scripture yourself. Did you know that if you read 12 pages a day from a non-study Bible you can read from Genesis to Revelation in 90 days? It will take you roughly 45 minutes a day if you're a slower reader like me. What can you give up for a half-hour or so a day? Do you watch television? Can you go to bed a little later or get up a little earlier?
As you read, look for the major themes of the story and pay attention to what the Bible tells you about God's nature. When you get done, read it again.
Not a big reader? You can find audio Bibles for purchase, free online, or at the library on CD.
2) Study the Bible.
We parents are pretty busy people. But most of us have some time in the day we can listen to a sermon or lecture. Do you commute to the kids' school, to work, or to run errands? Do you make dinner? What about the time you spend getting showered and dressed, or your exercise time?
I use those times to listen. I started out listening to our local sermon station on the radio. I was surprised a couple of years ago to realize that not every city has a sermon station. With the internet, though, there are some wonderful options.
Sermon Audio is an incredible resource. It has over 800,000 free sermons available. You can search by topic, speaker, Bible reference, or date. Alistair Begg, RC Sproul, Paul Washer, Voddie Baucham, CH Spurgeon, and John MacArthur are some of my favorite preachers to listen to.
Ligonier Ministries is another great place to look for guidance. They have daily resources available for a donation of any amount, $5 Fridays, and free resources as well. In fact, Ligonier's Crucial Questions series is free in ebook format. There are 20 books available covering basic topics. These are great to share with your older students, and a terrific way to educate yourself.
3) Teach the Bible.
One of the best ways to learn is to teach. I suggest using a curriculum and being systematic about your study. That said, however you teach the Bible, just do it! In our family, we study using Bible Road Trip in the mornings and we read a chapter together at dinner every night. Easy, right?
Studying the Bible is a lifetime pursuit, and there's no better time to start than today. Knowing God's Word well will help you feel confident as you teach your own children what Scripture says — and what it means.