How old were you when you first read a story directly from the Bible? It is sad to say, but too many people consider the Bible too hard to read and understand, even as adults. Debunking this notion is long overdue, and one place we can begin is with our children.
I remember as a second grader asking my dad if the words in his college books were the same as the words in my readers. He took me in his lap and pointed out the words I would know that were mixed in with the bigger words. It gave me hope that I could one day read the bigger books. The Bible is one of those bigger books that children should look forward to reading for themselves one day.
Without question, much of the Bible is way over the heads of the very young, but there are passages they can understand with only a little help from a parent or older sibling. Let’s look for a few of them. But first, make sure you have one of the easier to understand translations for children. I am especially impressed with the New Living Translation with its easy reading style. Their Hands on Bible is a wonderful children’s Bible with great ideas sprinkled all through the pages for helping children grasp the concepts. An even easier to read translation is the New International Readers Version which is great for a beginners Bible, though many passages are over-simplified for serious adult readers.
Now let’s consider a few passages that might be easier for a child to understand straight from the Bible. Be prepared to tell parts of the Bible accounts if they get too long for your child’s attention span. Be patient. Your Bible reading time with your child must be enjoyable or it may turn out to be counter-productive.
The easiest passage to find is Genesis 1 which tells about how God created the earth, the universe, plants, animals, and people – everything that was ever created was created by God. Chapters 2 & 3 are about Adam and Eve and are easily understood. Again, retell what you already know if your child gets restless. The passage will still be there for reading another day.
The account of Joseph and his jealous brothers has much kid-appeal. This begins with Genesis 37. You will probably want to divide this up a little, telling parts of it and reading the easier passages. The important thing is to get the child interested in finding and reading the parts that interest him the most. Keep a few sticky markers handy to mark favorite passages so the child can easily look them up later. There are many more passages to read about Joseph in the following chapters. Be prepared to tell more of the story and then look it up together when the child is ready.
I have listed a few more passages to share with children. There is no way to make an exhaustive list in a simple blog post, but this serves as a starting point.
- Baby Moses in Exodus 1:11-2:10.
- God speaks to Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:1-10
- There are several sections about David that a child would enjoy. These begin with 1 Samuel 16.
- Read about Jesus birth in Luke 2:1-20
- Jesus blesses the little children in Luke 18:15-17
- Look for Jesus’ parables
- Use any children’s Bible storybook to help locate the stories, then look them up in your child’s Bible and read them together.
Perhaps you don’t feel you know enough about the Bible to find these passages. It’s never to late to start learning. Two books, The Story, and The Story for Kids, both published by Zondervan, are great for building a foundation for understanding the Bible. The Jesus Storybook Bible by ZonderKids is another great resource for getting an overview of the Bible.
What Bible stories have you been able to share with your children right out of the Bible? How old was your child at the time?
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