I love reading to my kids. Buying books for them is my one vice. I so want them to love to read and to turn to books for entertainment before anything else! As trite as it sounds the book I want them to love the most is the Bible. As a child the Bible can be a daunting and overwhelming book. I want to introduce the Bible to them early so they will always love it!
Here’s a few of my Bible-reading-and-loving tips for kids:
1. Start them early
The church I interned at in college did a lesson in the BABY class at church. It consisted of songs like The B-I-B-L-E while passing a Bible around to let the kids slobber on it. They encouraged the kids to hug the Bible. It sounds weird but it was showing the kids that the Bible is a special book worthy of our love!
2. Use Storybooks
I usually dislike Bible storybooks. They never tell the whole story, they have terrible illustrations and gloss over important themes. But when your kids are super little, you just can’t read them the full account of Joseph from Genesis! It’s confusing and honestly, a little boring! You need storybooks! You just need to make sure they are books that teach the Bible and not just tell a story. Here are some of my favorites:
The Jesus Storybook Bible is by far THE best storybook for kids. If you don’t own this book, you really need to buy it. I have written about it many many times (and even interviewed the author, Sally Lloyd Jones!) because it has really helped me grow in my understanding of the Lord! It’s full of great illustrations and even better–stories that lift up Jesus’ name and glory.
3. Get them a Real Bible
My daughter is in kindergarten and her Christmas present this year is going to be a “real” Bible. The full blown version with her name printed on it! We have a few other Bibles around the house she considers her own (The Adventure Bibleand a Backpack Bible) and she loves to hold them, pretend to read them and have me read from them. I want her to know the real words and see the sheer volume of God’s Words to us.
When buying a “real” Bible, consider two things:
First, decide on the version. Translations of the Bible are (sadly) highly-controversial. But my main goal is to get my kids to know, love, memorize and understand the Bible. So, I like the NIRV because it’s on a 3rd grade reading level, as opposed to the NIV which is a 7th grade reading level or the NASB which is on an 11th grade reading level! (See more reading levels.)
Second, consider the layout. Kids Bibles love to add all sorts of fun and exciting charts, pictures and sidebars. But as beginning readers, especially, books need to be laid out simply. Don’t buy a Bible with columns (which MOST Bibles are!) which can be confusing to read. Instead find one that fills the whole page, just like a real book.
Once you get a Bible, whether it be a huggable one, a storybook or one with all 66 books, the most important thing to do is read it! Keep them within reach–by the bed, next to the couch or on the kitchen table. Make it easy (and normal) to reach for the Bible and read!