Three Surprising Ways Bible Reading with My Kids Has Changed Me

The following article is by Jon Nielson, author of Bible Reading with Your Kids: A Simple Guide for Every Father.


Bible Reading with Your Kids - Jon Nielson - Book CoverI’m sure I’m not the only one who finds regular time with my family in the Bible a challenge. There are plenty of distractions and reasons why reading the Bible with my three young kids is hard. But I’m convinced that the best thing I can do for my children is expose them to the Word of God (and ask the Holy Spirit to change their lives). In fact, I was so convinced that I wrote a book on the subject, called Bible Reading With Your Kids.

And as I’ve persevered and tried to make Bible reading with my children a regular habit, I’ve been surprised that God has been using this to change me. While I was convinced it would be beneficial for my children, I never imagined how God would also shape me through this. Here are three ways God is changing me.

I am growing in my understanding of the Bible.

Any good teacher, in any subject, will tell you that one good test of true comprehension of a complex concept is whether or not you can explain it with clarity to a young child. While it’s challenging to read the Bible and explain it simply to young children, it has forced me to work hard at comprehending biblical stories, ideas and teachings with pinpoint clarity. By God’s grace, this has forced me to work even harder in my own understanding of God’s word, which has been good for my heart and mind.

I am developing as a teacher of God’s word.

Some of us might never be public preachers of the Bible, but all of us are to be involved in word ministry in the context of the body of Christ, the local church (Colossians 3:16). As I’ve committed to reading the Bible with my children, and explaining it to them clearly along the way, I’ve found this has grown my confidence and ability to do word ministry with adults too. As I engage in ‘God talk’ with my kids and articulate gospel truths to them, this has helped me to have ‘God talk’ with other adults more naturally. When it comes to personal evangelism, I am more confident and at ease.

I am constantly being encouraged by my children in ways I never imagined.

I have found that since reading the Bible regularly with my children, I am finding deep delight in discipling them. I am loving the sweet conversations with them about the the things of God, as they form questions and wrestle through theological thoughts. I love watching them discover new and beautiful things about God, his grace, and his glorious redemption of sinners. There is a new dimension of friendship opening up, a spiritual friendship between my kids and I, and I pray this will continue to grow and flourish as they get older.

Let me encourage you, if you’re someone who also struggles with reading the Bible regularly with your children, to go for it! Now is the time to begin. Recalibrate your expectations and allow yourself grace. There will be some tough times; young kids can have trouble focusing, and we’ve certainly had our nights when Bible reading times have been rough! But keep persevering. It’s worth it. Expose your kids to God’s word daily, and commit them to him in prayer, trusting him to open their hearts to his gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit, and you might be surprised at how God uses this to change you too.

If you’re finding Bible reading with your kids a challenge, or are even unsure how to start, here are eight tips from my book Bible Reading With Your Kids for Matthias Media, that will help.

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Leadership Resources exists to equip and encourage pastors around the world to teach God’s word with God’s heart. Learn more about our work, our approach, and see how your church can make a worldwide difference with God's Word.

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