Reading The Bible As A Family: 5 Steps To Get Started

For years I wished that I read the Bible with my kids. And when I say Bible, I’m talking about the real Bible. There were even times that I felt like a phoney for running this blog and still not being someone who actually read the Bible to my kids. Then, I figured out the secret to making Bible reading a normal occurrence in our house, and that is, to simply do it.

reading the bible as a family, how to get started

That’s right, Scripture reading is never going to happen in your home if you don’t just pick up a Bible and get going- that’s the true secret. But as long as I have you here, I’m going to give you a little bit more help getting started than that, because we all need a nudge in the right direction from time to time.

5 Steps To Start Reading The Bible

  1. Choose a place in the Bible where you would like to start. I can’t tell you how long I felt like I needed to start at the beginning of the Bible, but I never started because I didn’t actually want to read the Old Testament first. Moral of the story? Start with what you’re willing to read. We ended up starting at the beginning of the book of Matthew, which quickly gets into the sermon on the mount, which we really enjoyed. You’re not married to this decision, so don’t over-think it.
  2. Choose a time of day this is going to happen. I strongly recommend doing it during breakfast, which has worked very well for us. I find that my children listen very well when I read while they’re eating.
  3. Read short snippets. The Bible isn’t exactly an easy read, so don’t over-do it with children. The point of starting this is certainly not to make your children hate the Bible. Many days, we only read a paragraph or so. My kids are still young, and often even a little bit of reading sparks a lot of conversation.
  4. Use a bookmark. This is a tip from captain obvious, but a tip none the less. This makes it super easy to grab your Bible and pick up exactly where you left off. No fancy bible reading chart needed, no need to look up passages, and no need to “make it” to the end of the reading- your bookmark will allow you to find your same place tomorrow. If things are going South with your kids, that’s enough for today (see tip 3). Side note: I am addicted to these handy dandy magnetic bookmarks! It grabs the page magnetically so it doesn’t fall out, and it has an arrow so you can stick it to the side of the page and point to exactly where you left off. This is great for my mommy brain!
  5. Start today! That’s right. It’s only going to happen if you just do it. Don’t pencil it in or pin it for later. As always with things like this, today never seems like the right day to start, but actually, today is the day. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now the diet… that can wait until tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Avoid Deterrents

For anyone who knows me in real life, my big thing is ridding my life of deterrents. It’s unbelievable what a small deterrent can derail you from, and Satan is happy to throw plenty of little deterrents in your way to derail your family from daily Bible time. An example of a deterrent that plagues my life is stuff on top of the washer. I’ll think I should start a load of clothes, but if there’s clutter on the washer, later seems like a fine time to do it. Deterred. Let’s look at some common deterrents that get in the way of Bible reading and de-clutter the pile, shall we?

Common deterrents that can keep you from reading the Bible:

  • Thinking you need some sort of fancy “system” to get started. Time keeps ticking by while you try to decide exactly how you’re going to tackle the Bible. This deterred me for years. Did I need a check chart? Was I hoping to finish the entire Bible in a certain amount of time? Should I follow the Liturgical readings for the day? Do I need a “curriculum” that goes with reading the Bible for the kids? Etc. Don’t let questions like these stand in your way. Just actually start reading the Bible if you want to read the Bible- there’s no right or wrong way to do this.
  • Thinking you have to follow the Liturgical schedule. Ok, so I’m cheating because I just mentioned that in the prior deterrent, but seriously, it’s a deterrent worth having its own bullet point. Now if you’re going to read the Bible daily you need a place to look up the readings, then you have to find them, then you have to decide: am I doing just the Gospel reading? Am I doing all the readings? What about the Psalm for today? It’s when I get about here in my thought process that my brain gets overwhelmed, and yet another day will go by without Bible reading. If you are simply reading in order from wherever you started, there will be a bookmark, so all you need to keep reading is to pick up the Bible and make it so.
  • Thinking you’re unqualified to read the Bible. The Bible can be a tricky thing to understand, but it’s ok if your kids have questions you can’t answer. It’s good to tell your kids that you need to look things up and get back to them- let them see this process. This will set an example to your kids to go searching for answers. And if there are words and/or names you don’t know exactly how to pronounce, do your best and move along. No one is grading you on how well you read the Bible.
  • Overthinking which translation to read, or thinking you need a different Bible. Sigh. Why oh why do we let all these deterrents take root in our brains? My personal favorite translation is the RSV, but I generally find the NAB to be a bit easier for children to understand. No matter what, don’t let this deterrent stop you. Just pick up the Bible you have and read from it.
  • Thinking you’re not the kind of family that reads the Bible together. Trust me, all you have to do to be the kind of family that reads the Bible, is to read the Bible.
  • Thinking hubby has to be involved. It’s great if your husband wants to be a part of family Bible time, but don’t let it stop you if he doesn’t. I grew up with a dad that was completely uninterested in all things religious until I was an adult, and my mom didn’t let it deter her. I’m very grateful for that.
  • Spending too much time on your computer. What are you still doing reading this post? Go grab your Bible and get started! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Comments

  1. This is an excellent post and very encouraging. We actually started reading scripture by using the gospel reading in the Magnificat and sometimes also read the meditation,if they’re still with me! I agree that reading during a mealtime works really well. We’ve done it for years and found that it makes meals much more peaceful when Dad isn’t there.

    • Using the Magnificat is another excellent idea! Nothing to look up, super easy, right there and ready to go. Glad to know I’m not the only one who reads to my kids while they’re eating, and YES, it does make meal time a lot more peaceful! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Have you heard of Saint Mary’s Press Catholic Children’s Bible? It is a great resource for families! And it is a “real” Bible so it teaches Bible literacy to young readers. It also has optional corresponding iPad apps so that is a bonus for my kids ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Living With Christ is what our family uses – like the Magnificat (I think), it gives the daily readings so you are in sync with the readings from the church – and it’s very portable and easy to use!

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