How to Help Kids Connect with the Bible Outside of Church

Help your kids learn to go to God's Word so His truth is always louder than the world's lies.
6 min read

If we, as parents and leaders, wait until churches reopen to feed our kids spiritually, we are both waiting too long and our approach to discipleship needs to be completely overhauled.

As I write this, we are neck-deep into 2020. Most schools are online only. A few schools are learning in person only. Some are offering in-person and online options. The same goes for churches: open, online, or both.

For a little context, I have a middle school student, a high school student, and a college-in-high-school senior. My wife is also teaching kindergarten from the shed that we turned into an 8’x12’ kindergarten classroom. Not kidding. I’ve got pictures to prove it. She’s amazing!

I work from home. So, long story short, we are all together all the time.

Aerial-View-Of-Mother-Working-In-Office-At-Home-With-Daughter
Image Credit: Tom Werner/DigitalVision/Getty Images

However, our church is one of those that is still online only. The kids can’t attend Sunday school. They can’t attend youth group. And yet, I don’t want them to take a break from growing in their faith!

This might sound blunt, but here goes…

If we, as parents and leaders, wait until churches reopen to feed our kids spiritually, we are both waiting too long and our approach to discipleship needs to be completely overhauled.

These times are crazy. They are hard. In the paragraphs that follow, my prayer is that you will find encouragement, invitations, and options … not guilt and shame.

I am going to seek to answer only 2 questions:

  1. What is the main way to help our kids engage with the Bible right now (and always)?
  2. What are some practical ideas we can utilize right now?

Question 1: What is the main way to help our kids engage with the Bible right now (and always)?

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)

Did you notice the sentence in between “love God with everything you’ve got” and “impress them on your children?” He reminds Israel—and us—that loving God and being immersed in the Word needs to be a part of our lives before we try to instill a love for God and His Word in the hearts and minds of our children.

What are you doing to keep your heart and mind focused on God’s Word right now? Are you hanging out with Jesus in His Word and soaking it in? Are you allowing the Bible to remind you of what is true?

Let me be clear: I am not talking about only studying the Bible.

Bible Study

Bible study is important. However, we need to remember that reading the Bible is primarily relational time, not informational time. We go to the Word to be with God and to spend time with Him. Yes, to learn from Him. But also, to have Him remind us about what is true.

Children-Reading-Scripture-Together
Image Credit: FatCamera/E+/Getty Images

This is something I tell my kids all the time: One of the main reasons we go to God’s Word is to make sure that God’s truth always remains louder than the world’s lies.

As you and I spend time reading God’s Word, enjoying His presence, and saturating our hearts and minds with what is true, we will talk about the Bible—and the Author—with more regularity, joy, and passion.

One of the main reasons we go to God’s Word is to make sure that God’s truth always remains louder than the world’s lies.

It begins with us. But it doesn’t end there.

Question 2: What are some practical ideas we can do right now?

Before making some suggestions, my hope is that you’ll read these ideas as if you and I were participating in a brainstorming session and I simply shared first. Pick an idea (or 2) that works for you. Ignore the rest or put them away for later.

Let one idea spur on several more ideas in your own mind. Discuss more ideas with your team, your spouse, friends, and kids. Let my ideas be the kindling for lots and lots of your own.

Read the Bible together. Or if you are a leader, encourage families in this.

This one sounds simple. I like simple. Take a short book of the Bible (e.g. Philippians, James, Ephesians, etc.). Sit down and read the whole thing. Tell your kids in advance that the “discussion question” for afterward is simply What stood out to you, confused you, or gives you an idea to apply?

You can also do the same thing with a longer, narrative book (e.g. Genesis, one of the Gospels, Acts, etc.). You obviously won’t read the whole book in one sitting, but you can divide it up into chunks of 15-30 minutes.

Read separately and discuss together.

This can lead to some cool discussions. Again, this can work with reading an entire short book or 15-30 minutes of reading in a longer book. Have each family member (or students if you’re leading) read on their own sometime during the day. Then have the What did you see? question to guide you at dinnertime or after.

Parents, tape Scripture on the bathroom mirror.

I have done this one quite a bit over the years. As I read the Bible, I pay attention to verses that speak about who God is, what He’s done, or who we are in Him. I jot those down on 3”x 5” cards and tape them to my kids’ bathroom mirror.

Sometimes we talk about it and sometimes we don’t. Either way, they are reminded of 2 things: the truths of Scripture and the reminder that their parent was in the Word that day.

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Color the Bible.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a popular Bible translation with a link to some Bible coloring pages. I printed several out, gave one to each of my kids, and told them to bring the colored page to the dinner table that night.

They each spent time coloring and reading the verse as they colored. Then we had a great discussion about the verses (and their artwork).

NOTE: If you type “free bible verse coloring pages” into Google, you’ll find hundreds of options in different styles and translations. And we have some listed here for you too.

Parents, listen to the Bible in your car. Leaders, encourage your families in this—or implement the same idea in your classes.

Are you going on a road trip sometime? Even a 30-minute trip across town works for this. Open the YouVersion Bible app, pick a translation, and listen to a chapter or 2. Make the “listening time” about 10-15 minutes. Spend the rest of the ride—or a portion of it—discussing what stood out to you as you listened.

Keep them coming!

What ideas would you add to the list? Bible trivia games? Bible praying? Journaling the Bible? Keep the list going!

Oh … and if you come up with some good ones your family enjoys, shoot them my way. I’m always looking for fresh ways to connect my kids—and myself—with God and His Word.

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  Updated on October 28, 2020

About the Author

  • Keith Ferrin is a speaker, storyteller, teacher, and author who strives to help people realize that the living Word of God is a reality—not a phrase. He holds tightly to the idea that people can believe the Bible is not only true and applicable, but also fun, engaging, and enjoyable.Keith is the husband to one (Kari) and a father to three (Sarah, Caleb, and Hannah). And ... he thinks the world is a better place since the invention of coffee and ice cream (not necessarily in that order).

© 2020 David C Cook. All rights reserved.
© 2019 David C Cook. All rights reserved.
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