What to Do When Your Child Doesn’t Like Reading the Bible

  • Meg Bucher Writer and Author
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“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

It’s not the end of the world if our children don’t like reading the Bible. Like is a fickle word, and they are growing up in a world that hands them a trophy before they ever step out on the field. The larger and more important question is do they know the Bible? Do they see the word of God lived out in their lives, and know who Jesus, the Living Word of God, is? Children learn from lives rooted in the love of Christ. Jesus is the living Word. They may not like reading the Bible, but if we are following Christ, they are witness to Him, undoubtably. “This basic Christian attitude, which is a result of being forgiven in Christ, along with being kind and compassionate,” NIV Study Bible Notes explain of Ephesians 4:32“brings others what we have received from God.” 

We learn from experience, and hardly any of our experiences are exactly the same! But our God never changes. He is our Rock. We can find hope and direction in the unique relationship we have with Jesus, as individuals and parents. He has purposefully placed our children in our care. God’s faithful and compassionate hand is on each child’s life.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/metamorworks

Pray. Pray. Pray.

pray without ceasing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Pray about it. Talk about it. Live it. Pray for everything. Prayer is an excellent habit to set with our children. It doesn’t have to be fancy or formal. In fact, better if it’s not! “Thank You, Jesus, for protecting me from that car!” when we have a close call on the road, or “Jesus, thank you for my new friend!” Teaching our children to be conversational with God draws them to Him, and eventually to His Word.

I’ll never forget slumping down against the pantry door with my daughter, both of us crying and trying to pray. I still remember that moment, because of the way God answered us then, and continues to answer today. God hears us, He sees us, and honors our intentions to lead our children to His feet. We learn these truths from the word of God, and we can pray the word of God over and with our children. Counter each worry with a prayer, and each victory with a praise. Pray for them, and pray with them, even when they are young. Teaching them how to come to God for wisdom is as important as guiding them to the Word to listen for His answer.

Prayer is the most powerful weapon we wield as Christ followers, yet it’s often buried under a pile of worries and fears. We can pray for our children’s hearts to be softened to God’s word, and for them to have a genuine desire to read their Bibles. When they are little, we can create a routine for our children to pray and read Scripture, in the hopes even when they are older they may carve time out for Jesus on their own. This is our prayer! If they don’t like to read the Bible, even when they are little, try not to honor it with a reaction. Keep trying different formats and platforms, and keep praying for God’s divine interference!

Photo Credit: © Getty Images

mom outdoors on patio chair reading bible smiling at daughter

Set the Example

Good habits set great stages for our children. Mine know that I sit and seek God each morning before they wake up, and they know why! They know me! They might not have developed the same habits yet, and I think that’s OK. It was easier when they were little, to sit them down and include a devotional reading in their bedtime routine or morning breakfast time. Now they are older, and busier. “Many kids simply don’t have an example and aren’t sure how to read their Bibles,” Lori MacMath, owner of ICDevos and Children’s Director and Camp Adventure Coordinator at Vintage 242 Church in Dallas, Georgia stated. When our children witness our habit of meeting God in His Word, it plants a good seed Christ will assuredly water.

Paul told the Ephesians to be kind to each other, tenderhearted, and to forgive. In a manipulative world, we can show our children what genuine kindness is. Forgive others before they have a chance to apologize. Let children off the hook for simple mistakes and apologize to them after losing patience or overreacting to something they said or did. I often have to apologize for not paying attention to my daughters when they are talking—they talk a lot! But instead of pretending to hear and nodding along, I apologize and ask them to back up and re-tell parts I missed. It means a lot to them.

Tenderheartedness means to have compassion. To relate to and understand, perhaps put ourselves in their shoes, or give them the benefit of the doubt. When I think of all the mistakes I have made in my life, from the elementary school playground and into adulthood and motherhood, it reminds me to have compassion on my daughters. Jesus has had compassion on me. We can’t convince our children to like reading their Bibles if we don’t like reading ours! Through every stage of their lives, we can do one thing consistently: seek Christ Jesus ourselves! When we do, He will faithfully provide relevant moments to relate what He has taught us to our children. When we continually, faithfully and obediently plant seeds of faith, we can trust Jesus to water those seeds to bloom beautiful fruit.

Let Go

Early Christians had to break a lot of legalistic habits. They were used to an extensive system of religious rules required to earn God’s favor. I read the Bible aloud in class at the Christian school I attended as a youth, and prayed when we were told to pray. But as I grew up, I had to eventually make my faith my own. Jesus met me, and He’ll undoubtably meet my children, and yours. The choice will be theirs, just like it was ours, to follow Christ. There’s only so much we can do as parents to ensure our children will enjoy reading the word of God. Even when we’ve laid good groundwork, our children still have to make their faith their own.

Anyone can come to God through Christ. We can’t make our children digest Scripture, even if we designate time for them to read their Bibles. Only God can change a human heart. Pray for Him to soften theirs and seek Him in His Word. No single person is the same. No one relationship with Jesus is identical. We can do everything we’re able to lead them to Him, and then we have to let go and let God. We never stop setting an example, talking about Jesus, and praying for our kids. But there does come a time, I believe, when we need to start letting them reach for Jesus’ hand on their own. We can have faith they will find it! And that He has big plans, good plans for their lives! Being a mom has taught me that I don’t ever know enough, and always need more of Jesus! Thankfully, He is a raging river that never runs dry! Glory up!

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/digitalskillet

Prayer for Our Children to Enjoy Reading the Bible

Father, 

You know our children better than we do. We love them and are so thankful to be their parents! Praise You for Your perfect plan for our lives, and theirs. It’s better than we can imagine for them, yet we still worry! Help us to react to worry and fear with prayer. May our lives teach our children how to find You, and speak of Your love for them. Jesus, softened their hearts to you and create a desire in them to read and live out Your Word.

We pray they understand the story of You, Jesus, from the beginning to the end of the Bible, and Your great love for them. It isn’t what we do and memorize that changes us, it’s the divine and supernatural Living Word that meets the marrow of our bones and mends our sinful hearts. May they know You deeply, Lord. Write Your Word on their hearts. May they shine bright for you.

In Jesus name,

Amen

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Anastasiia Stiahailo

Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ as an author, freelance writer, and blogger at Sunny&80. Her first book, “Friends with Everyone,”  is available on amazon.com. She earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters. Besides writing, she leads a Bible Study for Women and serves as a Youth Ministry leader in her community. She lives in Northern Ohio with her husband, Jim, and two daughters.


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