03 Jul Redeeming Summer Reading
Summer reading doesn’t have to be drudgery. In fact, summertime may be the perfect opportunity to develop in your children a keen sense of the enjoyment of God’s word.
At the end of the school year, teachers are rightly encouraging their students to not overlook summer reading. Many schools even have a big book fair in the final weeks of school hoping kids will get plenty of books to read over the summer.
Christian parents can learn from this as well and help redeem summer reading. In addition to various books, how about encouraging your child to prayerfully consider a part of the Bible they want to study over the summer? One of the key things a parent can do with a child is help nurture an appetite for Scripture so the child is self-motivated with their own interest in reading and studying.
“How sweet are your words to my taste . . .”
Ideally, kids would not be force fed Scripture, but rather have their own appetite for it. Psalm 119:103 compares Scripture to a sweet treat saying, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” One of the ways to encourage ongoing Bible study in kids is to start with any part of the Bible they have an interest in. This may include:
1. A book of the Bible.
Starting with a short one is best. For example, one of my sons picked Jonah and another picked Ruth. Older kids may be able to tackle something more challenging. One of my kids chose Ecclesiastes this summer.
2. A section of a book of the Bible.
This might be the Sermon on the Mount, or the 10 Commandments, which one of my kids chose.
3. A theme or topic in the Bible
There is a nearly endless list of options for this, and if your child is named after someone in the Bible perhaps a character study on the people with their name would be one example of something fun. One kid I know from another family got really interested in various warriors in the Bible and so he chose to study the most noteworthy soldiers in Scripture.
The Bible is a massive feast and we can partake one bite at a time.
When the kids are younger, getting them to read their section of Scripture in multiple translations and looking at some basic notes from a good study Bible might be a good start. As kids get older, consider giving them a commentary they can handle. The key is not to discourage or overwhelm them. The Bible is a massive feast and we can partake one bite at a time.
Lastly, check on how their study is progressing. Ask them questions about what they are learning and how it is going. As they get more clarity and confidence, have them share over dinner what they are learning. This can help them begin learning how to teach the Bible in an informal, loving, and safe environment. The hope is that this sets in motion a life-long habit of studying the Bible because they enjoy it and want to.