Family Bible Reading

My household has undergone many ups and downs since the lockdown started.  For us in South Africa, the country went into lockdown in early April, but life had been disrupted for several weeks even before that. School and normal family routines were all thrown into the air.  I’ve tried several versions of new routines: some where I just let the kids do whatever they wanted, some where I was scheduling and managing every hour.  I’ve continued to change and juggle the routine as life continues changing – sometimes on what feels like a daily basis! But one of the things that has come out of all this is a new routine of reading the Bible with my kids.

As a family reading the Bible has always been at least an occasional part of our routine.  But in the last few years with school taking up more time as the kids moved from pre-primary to primary and even now senior primary grades, our time at home to do additional study has fallen away.  And while I know they are reading the Bible at school I am not in that routine with them.  But since the lockdown and having the kids at home we began to read daily together, and I have been amazed again and again by the experience.  

My kids all enjoy reading, so I wasn’t really surprised to find them excited at the idea of reading together.  But what I have been surprised by is their ability to read even some of the stranger or more violent parts of the Bible and then follow up with insightful and useful discussions.  We spent June reading through Revelation as we led up to New Church Day on June 19th.  We have several picture books which helped to give a more concrete understandings of some of the stranger creatures and scenes described.  But each day my kids were eager to read more, to understand more, to find passages they recognized, and to discuss the strange beasts and the terrifying plagues.  I remember reading through Revelation as a child and feeling confused but enjoying it, but I don’t remember expressing the enthusiasm my kids regularly share with me.  

When I decided to make daily Bible reading a part of our routine I expected the kids to hesitate or whine.  But I have been thoroughly enjoying my time to connect with them and watch their enjoyment as they find new Bible stories to wonder over or light up as they read a verse or a story they’ve learned about before.  It is an experience that I’m already holding on to as a bright spot in these stormy times.

About Abby Smith

Abby is a person. She works at being an emotionally intelligent person whose main focus currently is being a happy and loving mother to four kids and wife to Malcolm. Born and raised in a General church minister's family, she has been exposed to the Bible and the Writings since childhood but is enjoying reading and understanding these books as an adult more and more. The amazing knowledge about love and wisdom and all of the emotions that follow have truly made her a happier and more self-assured person.

11 thoughts on “Family Bible Reading

  1. I love this Abby! We love reading the picture Bible now, but it’s not a routine. Cool to think what could be in store for us, with older kids especially. Thanks for sharing!

  2. “Bible Reading” or “Family Worship” was something we tried to do everyday. It often fell to me as my husband was working a lot of evenings. This coming together to worship the Lord and read from His Word was often special, often challenging, and changed as the kids grew.

    Some practical observations from experience:

    In the beginning, one parent or the other read aloud with questions and discussion about the story. After awhile, as reading was a skill everyone had or was acquiring, everyone read. We found the ‘best’ way to do this was for each reader to read two verses. This way, they had to be more attentive as the reader changes were more frequent. (When dividing the verses in a chapter by the number of readers, some of the readers would zone out until they figured out when their turn was coming up. Great for math skills. Not so great for paying attention to the Lord.)

    And I found, especially when the family was older, that having worship directly after supper was best – when everyone was getting up from the table and before scattering for homework or projects or other activities.

    Back in the day, this worked for us. Every family is unique, and wonderfully so. How wonderful, Abby, that your family is finding a routine that works for you all! Thanks for sharing.

    1. I really like the idea of getting to the point of them taking turns reading! I remember doing that growing up, but hadn’t applied it now. I’m definitely going to try that – especially now all my readers have their own Bibles to follow along together.

  3. This is really cool, Abby – it’s wonderful that they’re enjoying it so much!

    ….Although my husband and I both grew up in the Church, neither of us grew up reading the Word daily, or having daily family worship, and we have carried this on into life with our (now 13-year-old) son. I began reading the Word – for myself – every day only a few years ago, and I’m really enjoying it, now, but I lament that I didn’t pursue this with my child when he was young — and now, sweet though he can be, I’m quite certain that I wouldn’t be able to persuade him to do it. I sometimes feel like I’ve failed in that regard, thinking that others are better than us because of their more devout lifestyles….. and I have to remind myself that we’re each on our own path, and that there are no coincidences. I hope that he’ll find and enjoy reading the Word down the road, as I did, but it’s pretty well out of my control, now, as best I can tell (–short of forcing him, which would not have the desired effect!). I wonder what the good is that is coming/will come of this? Hmm.

    1. The ebb and flow to these kinds of habits is really interesting to me. I do remember phases when I felt like between church and being the minister’s family TOO much family worship felt annoying to me. Now I love how much Bible reading we did, but I do think that it can be overwhelming if it’s too much. When he comes around to it I could see the novelty being a draw. I do think that is a part of it for my kids right now, but I’m hopeful it lasts.

  4. Thanks for sharing this discovery with your children, Abby.
    I remember reading to you and your siblings when you lived in Sarver, PA. I was taken by your listening … the rapt attention you gave to my reading. It was remarkable. Reading aloud is definitely a shared event … for the reader as well as the listener. It’s wonderful to hear you are having that experience with your own children.
    May God continue to bless you and your family in your shared reading.

    1. What a fun memory to get to read! And I agree it is such a lovely shared experience to read aloud together and share these stories.

  5. Abby, this is so cool. I wish we’d done more like this when our kids were little. The lockdown and all this strangeness seems to bring some gifts with it. Hang in there, though, for the parts that are not fun. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. I am still surprised and grateful how positively my kids have responded to it. It is definitely something I am holding on to on some days when seemingly everything else is squabbling and irritation and having to work through school…that at least there were a few peaceful moments of reading and conversation about the Lord. It’s such a strange time!

  6. It’s wonderful to ponder what remains you’ll be helping to instill in your children, sharing daily reading of the Word.

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