From the time our children could sit in our laps, family devotion was a mainstay in our home, so teaching Bible to our children was paramount. But for too many families the sum total of Bible instruction for their children is Bible workbooks that are little more than read-and-regurgitate exercises, and that alarms me. Yes, I did want children to know the facts of the Bible – who killed a giant with a small stone; who was thrown into a lion’s den; and who changed water into wine, and The Action Bible does a splendid job of that. But my experience has been that children need massive amounts of intimate daily input to fully grasp the glory of the gospel, and there is no easier way than through a daily family devotion.
THEN WHAT ABOUT REQUIRING EACH CHILD TO READ THEIR BIBLES EVERY DAY?
That is certainly the trajectory we all want for our children, but how is that working for you personally? Have you ever had times where you ‘read’ your daily chapter(s) while thinking about dinner, the toddler meltdown, or updating your shopping list? Your children have the same struggles.
HOW IS A DAILY DEVOTIONAL DIFFERENT?
With a daily devotional, the Bible reading can be explored in a much more personal manner. You know your children better than any publisher and if the prescribed questions are not relevant to the sins and follies of your child, you can adapt and even drill down further. You can also use that time to point out how the Word is living and active in your own life with personal anecdotes that pertain to the topic at hand.
THEN CAN’T YOU INCLUDE DEVOTIONAL MATERIALS WITH EACH GRADE LEVEL?
No, for the simple reason that many of our favorite devotional materials, in particular Long Story Short and Old Story New are usable for multiple ages and multiple years. And because God’s work in each family is unique, we are much more comfortable exposing you to what we consider the best all-around resources and letting you cherry-pick the most appropriate for your use and your situation.
WHAT DOES THE IDEAL DEVOTIONAL TIME LOOK LIKE?
We are ardent proponents of reading the Bible every day. For the little ones there is the The Big Picture Story Bible, slightly older ones will enjoy The Jesus Storybook Bible, and then they should be ready for Long Story Short and Old Story New. But don’t stop there, add in great theological books that you have enjoyed. When our children were little we read books by John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, R.C. Sproul, Randy Alcorn, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones. We read them slowly, sometimes just a page or two a day, pausing often to discuss the concepts and how they related to our lives, the lives of their friends, and the world at large. Every devotional time ended with a chapter out of a true-to-life story, both Christian and secular, where opportunities again presented themselves to discuss motivations, temptations, and how God’s Word pertains to this situation.