Bible study with kids is our top priority as parents. In this post, we will answer all of the questions, plus share 8 tips for making it an amazing experience.
We teach our kids how to brush their teeth and tie their shoes. We cheer them on as they take those first steps and coach them as they learn to ride a bike. Teaching is at the very core of parenting and that’s exactly how God designed it.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:5-7
Teaching kids the basics of life is certainly important, but teaching them about God should be at the top of our list, because it’s the one thing God specifically calls us to teach!
If we are being honest though, we have a lot of questions about this process. How do we teach kids about Jesus? Where do we even begin? How do we keep them engaged?
How do I teach my kids about Jesus?
Let’s start at the beginning. Is there a method or secret for teaching your kids about Jesus? Nope. Absolutely not. In fact, any book or method will fall hopelessly flat.
Kids learn about Jesus most naturally when He is woven into everyday life, just as Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says! Here are some examples:
- Sing songs about Jesus.
- Tell your kids about His goodness in your life.
- Point out the things He has created.
- Pray with your kids.
- Take them to church.
- Read the Bible to your kids.
- Do a Bible study with your kids.
Naturally, it will be hard for you to talk about Jesus if you don’t know Him yourself. So be sure that YOU are keeping up with your own personal Bible study time.
One thing that transformed how I read the Bible was realizing that all of Scripture ultimately points to Jesus. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, Jesus shows up. The Old Testament continually points to His coming. And the New Testament clearly teaches about His life and mission on Earth.
Time spent in Bible study with kids should equip them to read the Word with a desire to see Jesus throughout its pages.
This naturally leads us to a question. If the best way to learn about Jesus is to read the Bible, then how do we teach kids to study the Bible? Let’s dig into some practical tips for doing just that!
How do I teach my kids to study the Bible?
If you keep Jesus as the focus on your Bible study time, you’ll be far less likely to feel overwhelmed by the idea of doing a Bible study with your kids. Remember, it’s never about getting all the right answers, checking off the right boxes, or even feeling like your kids are 100% engaged. It’s about seeing Jesus and knowing Him better!
Whether Bible study with kids is new to you, or you’ve been doing family Bible studies for years, these tips will help keep you on track and can encourage you to keep going!
1. Lead by Example
If you haven’t noticed it yet, our kids want to be like us. They mimic the things we do and say (whether we want them to or not!). This is a blessing, but it can also be a curse. If Bible study is going to be important to our kids, they need to see that it’s important to us. If they don’t see Mom/Dad doing their own Bible study, there’s less chance they will want to do it.
Allow your kids to see you doing your own Bible study. Show them where you sit to spend time in the Word. Give them a glimpse into your prayer journal. Talk about what God has been teaching you!
2. Know Your Purpose in Studying the Bible
Do you think it’s possible to read the Bible for the wrong reasons? 100% yes! In fact, sometimes good leaders encourage us in a way that leads to exactly that. We are taught to go to the Bible because we are “supposed to.” Or we are taught to go there to get our lives straight.
Of course, the Bible is the perfect place to help you get your life straight, but if that’s all you get out of it, you’ve missed the one BIG thing. The Bible is God’s story. It’s about Him, not us. Is it a great rule book for life, as some may say? Yes, but don’t minimize it to just that.
It’s the very source of life. It’s the ONLY way to truly know God. So instead of going to the Bible to look for what it can do for you, go to learn WHO God is and WHAT He has already done for you!
I teach my kids to ask this question:
What does this passage teach me about God?
3. Pray and Ask God to Help You Study
Only God can make His Word come alive to us as we read it. That’s why we want to pray and ask God to open our eyes and our hearts to what He wants to teach us through our Bible study. Teach your kids to start their time with God by first praying.
- Ask God to open your eyes to the truth.
- Ask God to open your heart and help you listen and obey Him.
- Ask Him to show you more of Himself.
- Ask Him to help you understand what you are reading.
Need more help with prayer? Check out this post on how to have a family prayer time.
4. Teach Kids to Think About What They Are Studying in the Bible
Bible study involves reading but doesn’t stop there. Help your kids understand and think about what they read.
Reading the Bible always leads to a choice: “Am I going to allow God’s Word to change how I live my life, or am I going to ignore it?”
This is one of our top goals when writing a Bible study, which is what makes them a favorite for many families. You can check them out here.
5. Start Early and Be Consistent
They may not understand everything or be able to sit for long periods of time, but beginning this practice early will help your kids understand the importance of daily setting aside time to learn more about God.
Read these 3 things every kid needs to be taught about devotions. You’ll also find tips for how to work with your kids at every age level!
By the way, if your kids aren’t young anymore or you don’t feel you’ve been consistent, today is a new day! There’s grace for new beginnings.
6. Make Bible Study FUN for Kids
Don’t imagine that studying the Bible has to be something done in a suit and tie while sitting at a formal table! Engage your kids with the study by having them do more than just sit and listen. If they are old enough to read, GET THEM THEIR OWN BOOK! (More on this in tip #8.)
Look for resources that have your kids read the Bible themselves, write, draw, and answer questions. Also look for fun ways to engage with the teaching, like memory verse cards, bookmarks, and stickers.
7. Manage Your Expectations
Put down the picture-perfect idea you may be tempted to have about Bible study with kids and remember that life is messy. People are messy. Kids are really messy. They don’t always listen. They talk when they’re not supposed to. They pester their siblings. And they’re prone to rebel…just like us. Expecting interruptions and imperfection will set your own heart up for greater success and less frustration.
Remember, it’s up to you to teach and guide.
It’s God’s job to win their hearts.
8. Don’t Settle for Second-Hand Christianity
My pastor used to say, “Your mama’s faith isn’t enough to get you into Heaven.” We ALL know this truth. But sometimes we still fall into the trap of doing things that hinder our kids’ ability to take ownership of their faith. In fact, it’s easy to let a few of these things slip in even if you are trying really hard not to.
Second-hand Christianity Traps to Avoid:
- Giving your child the answer, instead of taking them to the Word to find it themselves.
- Having Dad/Mom pray each day and never involving the kids in SAYING the prayer.
- Using resources that tell you what the Bible says or how you should think about it.
- Settling for corporate learning (reading a study out loud or doing it “together”), instead of letting each child engage at his/her level in their own book and Bible.
If we want our kids to cultivate a lasting relationship with Christ for themselves, we have to avoid these traps. And yes, that means we have to be hands-off a little more than we typically like! Sometimes I’m guilted into thinking that I’m a bad mom because I don’t read the Bible FOR my kids or do the dishes FOR my kids.
But in the end, when you empower your kids to do these things for themselves, you give them the keys to a successful life.
Here are some ways you can make sure your kids are studying the Bible for themselves and avoid the trap of doing it for them.
- ALWAYS take them straight to Scripture to answer a question. Let it be God’s words and not yours.
- Get them a Bible of their own. (Suggestions for kids’ Bibles here if you need them.)
- As soon as they are old enough to read, teach them HOW to have a quiet time, and encourage personal study.
- Instead of going through a Bible study line by line and doing it together, let them complete a day on their own, then come together and talk about it.
What Should I Teach My Kids About the Bible?
How we treat the Bible, the amount of time we spend with the Bible, and what we teach our kids about the Bible will forever shape the lives of our kids. It’s a topic we want to take very seriously. But please don’t let it overwhelm you. God is faithful to help and guide us as parents. He equips us to teach our kids and fills in the gaps we leave behind.
Here are some things you want to be sure your children know about the Bible:
- The Bible is 100% true, as written.
- It is relevant today.
- It doesn’t have any mistakes.
- The Word was breathed-out by our perfect holy God, who again, doesn’t make mistakes.
- God’s Word has all of the answers you need for life.
- It’s God’s incredible story of creation, corruption, and redemption.
How Do I Find the Best Bible Studies to Do With Kids?
Keeping in mind what we’ve learned so far, when you do a Bible study with your kids you want to look for these things:
- Age-appropriate reading and writing level
- Focused on getting kids in the Bible for themselves and not in retelling the Bible in other words
- Inviting and engaging graphics (because let’s face it–we all like cute things!)
- Text that kids can do on their own, but that also leads to family discussion
- Theology that focuses on God’s character and our need for the gift of salvation, as well as sanctification through Christ
I’ll be honest, I had a hard time finding Bible studies for kids that fit my ideal description. Most were too babyish, too shallow, or too storybook-like. Others were too broad or not independent enough to motivate my kids to study on their own.
So I did what any mother would do. I wrote some myself. Just for my kids, of course. But then my friends found out and their friends found out and well, you know, the rest is history. I’d love to introduce you to our collection of family Bible studies here.
Through practical tools & Bible-based resources, Kim Sorgius is dedicated to helping your family GROW in faith so you can be Not Consumed by life’s struggles. Author of popular kid’s devotional Bible studies and practical homeschooling tools, Kim has a master’s degree in education and curriculum design coupled with over 2 decades of experience working with kids and teens. Above all, her most treasured job is mother and homeschool teacher of four amazing kiddos.