The Word of God is the most important book for our children to learn. In it your children will find the way of salvation. In Ephesians 6:4 and in Deuteronomy 6, we are commanded to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and diligently teach the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 states, "From childhood you have known the sacred writings, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." Through this passage God is making it clear that the Word of God has something to say about every area of life. Not only does Scripture reveal the way to heaven, it also provides a standard by which we must live our lives, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Since the Word of God is such a priority and since we have the freedom to teach it and apply it to every subject as homeschoolers, we must be faithful and diligent in teaching the Word of God to our children. The Scriptures tell us that "to whom much is given, much is required." In America we have been given much freedom and easy access to the Word of God, unlike many nations of the earth. Therefore, God will hold us to the highest standard in the teaching of the Word of God.
Here are ten simple tips for teaching the Word of God in your household that my family has adopted over the years with our seven children.
- Read the Bible Every Day During Family Devotions
It is important that a parent, preferably the father, leads the family in reading the Word and communion with God. Our children need to see the tremendous priority that we place on knowing the Word of God and worshiping our Savior. If friends come to visit for dinner don't forsake devotions. If you come home late from work, still do devotions. Your children will begin to see that God is real in your life and they will have incentive to do the same.
We will read several verses or possibly a chapter in Scripture out loud to the children. I will ask them questions in the course of the reading to ensure that my seven children (ages 4-14) grasp the meaning of each of the verses. I also want to make sure they are listening. This cannot be a time of boredom and falling asleep, so the parent needs to read the Scriptures with real feeling and energy in their voice. The message needs to be delivered in an urgent manner, not simply in a monotone and routine delivery.
- Read Bible Stories with Pictures to Your Younger Children Frequently
We have a whole series of Arch books, which have many pictures and rhymes which describe the story. I often read these books to my children from one and a half to at least seven years of age, at least three times a week. I do not read the rhymes, but instead describe the story ad lib, in order to provide a greater depth of teaching. I can also adjust the content while still showing the pictures, to bring it to a particular level of the children I'm teaching. Oftentimes, to make it more interesting, I turn off all the lights and use a flashlight to read. This helps the children stay focused and to look forward to reading stories with Dad.
- Have Your Children Memorize the Word of God
Children have amazing memories that we often underestimate. Our four year old, John, can learn Bible verses very easily. We have our children enrolled in an AWANA program with a local church which meets every Friday night for two hours. Although there may be other programs available, we find the AWANA program to be an excellent way to provide incentive to training our children in the Word of God. I am convinced that the more Scriptures our children commit to memory and the less they watch television, the more our children will be wise and committed to the Lord. I know that as I struggle with multiple sclerosis, which is getting worse, I find that many hours of each day, the only way I can keep walking or working is when I bring to my memory passages from the Word of God. So many times, the only way I can get through is riding on the Word, holding on to its promises, and declaring its truths. Our children need to know the Word, because there will be many trials and tribulations that they no doubt will have to face in their lives.
- Have Your Children Watch Bible Videos
There is so much trash on videos and on television these days. These types of videos promote worldliness and distract our children from God and his truths. The worst that could result is that it would lead them astray. Therefore, my wife and I are very careful about what our children watch on video. The majority of our children's videos are Bible videos by Hanna-Barbara, NEST videos, the "Just for Kids" videos by Steve Green, Donut Man videos, Moody Bible science videos, or videos from the Institute of Creation Research. We also have the entire books of Matthew and Acts on video with the Scripture passages pronounced word for word by the actors and actresses. These videos are a good way for mom to keep the children busy while she's preparing dinner or working on some project after their schooling is complete during the day.
This way Mom and Dad can be confident that our children are receiving solid, godly instruction rather than exposing our children to the dangers of humanism, materialism, and immorality that are often subtly carried on television programs.
- Assign Each of Your Children Daily Reading in the Word of God in the Morning When They Get Up
All of my children who can read are to read the Word of God each morning and write down one Bible verse that they have read with a sentence or two explaining its meaning to them. Then, once a week, they show me their notebooks so I can make sure that they are spending this important quiet time with the Lord each morning. For the younger children, we give them incentives, such as a breakfast out with Mom or Dad or some other reward for faithfully reading every day for a month.
- Have the Bible as One of the Mandatory Classes for Your Children Each Week
Your children need to understand that the Word of God is just as important as their other classes. There are many tremendous Bible curricula available at each grade level through Christian Light Education, Accelerated Christian Education, Alpha Omega Publications, Bob Jones University Press, Covenant Home Curriculum, A Beka, and many other sources. The Bible is not a second-class subject, so make it a priority in the training of your children.
- Teach Your Children a Biblical Worldview Class in the Higher Grades
II Tim. 2:15 states: "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of Truth." Our children are "arrows in the hands of a warrior." They will be sent out into the world one day and we have to make sure that the arrows are fashioned according to the blueprint of Scripture and can hit their targets. The Encyclopedia of Bible Truths for School Subjects is a fantastic resource for every family since it divides the Word of God by academic subject. For instance, under the subject of literature you will find dozens of verses to help our students understand literature from a godly perspective. Also, the principles are broken down and summarized. Gary DeMar's American Vision provides numerous biblical worldview materials along with David Noble's Summit Ministries and the ministry of David Quine's Biblical Worldview materials.
We all know that the world does not have the answers and that God does. We want our children to know what the Bible says about abortion, marriage, government, business, and all areas of life so that they will have the answers when the world's ways fail.
- Teach Your Children in the High School Grades to Understand Doctrine
We don't want our children like a reed, blown by every wind of doctrine. We want them to be grounded in the "meat" of the Word of God. Teaching our children doctrine enables them to understand Scriptures because many times the truths are spread out over the whole Bible. Organizing them by topic into doctrine helps them to fully understand what God is teaching through his Word.
- Be Certain to Put the Word of God into Practice
Have your children help the poor and reach out to neighbors by offering to rake lawns, clean houses, and paint fences. Regularly review I Corinthians 13 with them, so they will remember to always act and speak with love with their siblings and with others. Have your children speak with kindness and do their chores "decently and in order." Teach them the Proverbs so they understand how to be diligent and not slothful. Have them understand that "whether ye eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
Another way to help them to understand how to apply the Word of God is to have them participate in family evangelism. They can pass out tracts to people at restaurants, help share the Word of God with neighborhood children, and distribute Bibles to others. This will help them to realize that their souls and those around them are the most important things on this earth. They need to be "fishers of men" as Christ commanded and to fulfill the Great Commission by sharing the Gospel with those within their reach.
- Most Importantly: Live the Bible Yourself
If you don't live what you're teaching your children, they will see you as a hypocrite and can rebel and turn away from the Word of God. Be sure that you walk closely with the Lord each day, beginning with the time of communion where you pray to him and read his Word so you can hear his voice. It is hard to have you children walk closer to the Lord than you are. Nurturing your own soul is number one and in the process, you will be the most important and best influence on your children. As a Gideon who distributes Bibles and shares them with people I meet in the highways and byways, I found that they have an excellent summary of the Word of God in the beginning of each Gideon Bible that expresses the utmost importance of the Word. The Gideon Bible states: "The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, and its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.
"It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, and the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.
"Christ is its grand subject, our good the design, and the glory of God its end.
"It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment and will be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents."
Teach your children the Bible well and God will bless your family.