Do you ever struggle with how to study the Bible at home with your family?
I mean, should you even do it? What if you get it wrong? What if you really don’t know how to study the Bible at home with your kids?
What if you haven’t even read the Bible yourself? Isn’t that what church and Sunday school are for–so they can tell you what the Bible means?
Study the Bible?
According to a fall 2016 study by Lifeway with a sample size of 1000 Americans, 11% of Americans have read the Bible once and 9% of Americans have read the Bible more than once.
Not quite 1 out of 10 Americans have read the Bible all the way through two times.
The Barna Group conducted an American Bible Society survey of American adults (The State of the Bible, 2013). The findings? 100% of Protestant adults say there’s a Bible in their home. Two thirds of Protestant adults report reading the Bible several times a week. Yet, one third of those couldn’t identify the first five books of the Bible, half identified John the Baptist as an apostle, and a quarter didn’t know Paul’s original name.
Most of us don’t really know God’s Word.
It’s OK if you haven’t read through the Bible, either on your own or as a family. You can do it. You should do it. If you’re a disciple of Jesus Christ, you’re commanded to do it. Let’s talk about how.
How to Study the Bible at Home
When I really came to understand that I was not only supposed to study the Bible at home, but also teach it to my kids, I had a minor panic attack. I mean, I’d never read the Bible all the way through. How was I supposed to teach it? What if I got it wrong? I had read portions of the Bible a number of times. But the prophetic books? Not really.
That was over 15 years ago. I didn’t go to school for a Master’s degree in theology (though I sure considered it!), but I did take the call to disciple seriously. First, I had to educate myself. Today I write about the Bible for hundreds of thousands of kids. Isn’t life funny?
I’m going to give you three steps that will allow you to study the Bible at home with your family. Listen to this video–or read below.
Study the Bible at Home
1) Read the Bible. The Whole Bible.
Nothing beats knowing Scripture yourself. Did you know that if you read 12 pages a day from a non-study Bible you can read from Genesis to Revelation in 90 days?
You can read the whole Bible through in 90 days by reading roughly 45 minutes a day if you’re a slower reader like me. What can you give up for a half-hour or so a day? Do you watch television? Can you go to bed a little later or get up a little earlier?
As you read, look for the major themes of the story and pay attention to what the Bible tells you about God’s nature.
Done reading? Read it again. The only way to really study something is to go through it.
The Word of Promise Audio Bible: New King James VersionThe NIV Listener’s Audio Bible: Vocal Performance by Max McLeanNIV LIVE, Audio CD: A New Bible ExperienceHoly Bible (King James Version)NIV, Audio Bible, Dramatized, Audio CD
2) Study the Bible.
We parents are pretty busy people. But most of us have some time in the day we can listen to a sermon or lecture. Do you commute to the kids’ school, to work, or to run errands? Do you make dinner? What about the time you spend getting showered and dressed, or your exercise time? I use those times to listen. I started out listening to our local sermon station on the radio. Not every city has a sermon station, but you can find great resources on the internet. There are great resources available, too, to help you learn more about the Bible systematically, and as you have questions.
- Sermon Audio is an incredible resource. It has over 800,000 free sermons available. You can search by topic, speaker, Bible reference, or date. Alistair Begg, RC Sproul, Paul Washer, Voddie Baucham, CH Spurgeon, and John MacArthur are some of my favorite preachers to listen to.
- GotQuestions.org can be a great place to look for answers to your questions about the Bible.
- Ligonier Ministries is another great place to look for guidance. They have daily resources available for a donation of any amount, $5 Fridays, and free resources as well. In fact, Ligonier’s Crucial Questions series is free in ebook format. There are 20 books available covering basic topics. These are great to share with your older students, and a terrific way to educate yourself.
- I suggest you get yourself a great study Bible as well, and maybe some commentaries. Look up referenced verses from the category you’re reading. Check out what the notes say about the passage you’re stuck on. Look up the geography and history of the place and period you’re reading about. Slow down and really understand what you’re reading.
ESV Study BibleNIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of ScriptureThe KJV Study Bible (Bonded Leather) (King James Bible)Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies)Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies)Crossway ESV Bible Atlas
3) Teach the Bible.
One of the best ways to learn is to teach. I suggest using a curriculum and being systematic about your study.
In our family, we study using Bible Road Trip™ in the mornings and my husband reads a chapter (usually Proverbs or the Psalms) to us at dinner every night. Easy, right? My kids have been through the Bible several time, and through Proverbs about a gajillion times.
Teaching will help you learn as you go. You’ll be solidifying what you learned in your study, and digging deeper to be certain you get it right!
Studying the Bible is a lifetime pursuit, and there’s no better time to start than today. Knowing God’s Word well will help you feel confidant as you teach your own children what Scripture says — and what it means.
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