Monday, December 10, 2007

Bible Reading - Learning from Children

The ESV Bible Blog recently posted "8 Ways to Get More out of Your Bible" from the Blazing Center Blog. "The 8 Ways to Get More out of Your Bible" post was originally mentioned by Tim Challies. It reminded me of a posting by Dr. Mohler in November entitled "And For Older Children...Respect Their Desire to Read and to Learn." I have always thought that Christian adults could learn a lot from Christian children. I think if we modify Dr. Mohler's suggestions for maximizing the reading experience for school age children we will find the suggestions helpful to us.

"1. Read at a specific time set as part of the ritual of the child's life."

We as adults need to set aside time for our Bible Study and make it a habit.

"2. Read in a clear voice and avoid both excessive drama and a lifeless reading. A listless and lazy reader will lose the child's attention, but an excessively dramatic reader will make the child grow accustomed to drama -- often at the expense of thoughtful content and retention. You want the child to be fully drawn into the story, but you also want the child to be thinking about the story and its meaning."

We as adults need to be attentive to what we are reading in the Bible.

"3. When reading a Bible story, help the child to find the actual text of the account in the pages of the Bible."

We as adults need to read the Bible itself -- not just Commentaries, Devotionals, etc., and to know that the Bible is God's perfect and sufficient Word.

"4. Place the story in its context within God's plan and within the Bible. Help children to understand how every word of the Bible is fulfilled in Christ and finds its meaning within God's plan to redeem His people from sin."

We as adults need to keep our daily Bible reading in context with the overarching themes of the Bible.

"5. Recognize that many of the stories of the Bible teach a clear moral lesson -- a lesson that children clearly need to learn and take to heart. At the same time, recognize that these accounts are never merely morality tales. Point your child to the big picture."

We as adults need to note the clear moral lessons, but at the same time, we need to recognize the big picture.

"6. Never read down to your children, treating them as dull. Instead, give them a substantial story, lay out the narrative, and then trust that they will want to learn and to push themselves toward understanding. Then, be the human agent of that understanding by explaining the story with patience, creativity, and insight based in the fact that you know both the story and the child or children hearing it."

We as adults should never sell ourselves short. If we do not understand a passage we should avail ourselves of available resources for clarification.

"7. Be as honest as the Bible in revealing the strengths and weaknesses of God's people. Children need to know that God loves us in spite of who we are as sinners, not because of our supposed worth. Children need to learn moral honesty and to know that all (even you, dear parents) are sinners."

We as adults need to be honest with ourselves and admit our sins, but also know that we all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. We need to know that in spite of our sins God loves us and has made allowance for us through the sacrificial atonement of Jesus on the cross.

"8. Ask your children questions about the story to measure understanding, and make sure to see if they have any questions. Ask questions the next morning, during the day, on the playground, in the car, and when the child is in the bathtub. Encourage conversation about the Bible and Bible stories."

We as adults need to spend time reflecting on what we have read in the Bible.

"9. Ask older children to help with the reading and to grow accustomed both to reading for themselves and to reading aloud. There is much too little reading of the Bible aloud to the congregation in many churches. Let the recovery of reading aloud the Word of God begin in your home."

We as adults need to read the Bible aloud at home so that we are comfortable reading it in church settings

"10. Finally, teach them to pray the Scriptures, talking about the story just read and its biblical text as you pray. Pray that God will apply His Word to their hearts, thank God for His Word and for His love, remind them of Christ and His promises, and entrust them to God for the night and for eternity."

We as adults need to pray before, during, and after our Bible study that God will apply His Word to our hearts. We need to thank God for His Word and His love and entrust ourselves to God for the night and for eternity.

"No moment invested in teaching your child the Bible and reading Bible stories is ever wasted time. If your reading of a story is interrupted by circumstances (or by a child who has lost the fight against sleep), just pick it up the next time and move on. Enjoy every moment while your children are at this precious and promising stage of life."

We as adults should realize that every moment we spend reading the Bible and Biblical materials is well spent. If we backslide and fail to study the Bible one day or several we should not let it deter our study, but we should immediately pick up where we left off.

Thanks for helping a 39 year old child Dr. Mohler.

May I lead the way for my family through my example of daily Bible Study and may I spend time in Bible Study daily with my family.


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