Only God can really put a love for Himself and His Word in a child’s heart, but that does not resolve the parent from a responsibility to seek to make God’s Word attractive to the young ones.
I want to instill in my children a love for God’s Word. I want them to bleed Bible. I take seriously the command of God as given through Moses:
6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6.6-9, ESV.
What are some practical ways of doing this in today’s home?
1. Model a love for God’s Word by letting your children see that you value spending time in God’s Word. This can be a difficult balancing act. On the one hand you want to spend quality time with God which usually means getting alone, away from the children, frequently before they get up in the morning, or after they are in bed in the evening. So in addition to your private time in God’s Word, I recommend spending time reading the Bible in front of your children. If you are on a Bible reading plan, like Professor Horner’s, you might split the reading into two times: one private and the other in front or your children. Also, talk regularly with your spouse about what you are reading in front of the children. Speak enthusiastically about what God is teaching you through your own Bible reading and study.
2. Read the Bible with them at the dinner table and before bed. Not in a slavish, legalistic, “check off my to-do list” way, but in a vibrant, fresh and enthusiastic way. Mix up your approach. This may sound anathema to some, but occasionally miss. For example, if you have been out late as a family, and the kids fall asleep on the way home, don’t wake them up to have a bedtime devotional. Just skip that night. Be flexible. When you do read with them, be infectious and joyous.
3. Get some musical Scripture CDs and play them when you are going down the road. There are a lot of these types of CDs available these days, so find some you like and play them. I highly recommend SEEDS family worship.
4. Find ways to mention Scripture in your conversations with your children, whether it is a discussion about how to behave in public or a time of discipline and correction.
5. Make sure they have their own personal Bible to carry to church and to be responsible for. Get one that is age appropriate for them. We use picture Bibles for our young ones and now our oldest son has a New Living Translation Bible which he can read and understand.
Can you think of some other ways?