Encouraging the Next Generation to Read the Bible
Jesus exhorts us to, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19.14 ESV). That’s why it is a huge part of the ministry of the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) to reach out to the next generation with the Word of God. This past summer, CBS partnered with summer camps across the country, making the “Adventure for Life” Bible available to children and teens. For some of these children, the Bible they received at these camps was their first-ever copy.
We too, have a part in helping the next generation get to know Jesus through the Bible. Here are some simple suggestions on how you can encourage children and young people to read and love the Bible:
- Get them a Bible, specifically a children’s/youth Bible as a gift. At 9, Song Yi Lin came to know Jesus through an illustrated Children’s Bible. It was a Christmas present from her new neighbours. (Read her story) Instead of giving toys, clothes or money for Christmas or birthdays, why not consider giving a Bible as a gift?
- Mention Bible verses in your conversations. This is a great way to help them see that the Bible is relevant. For example, when your children want something, teach them about prayer and faith, quoting Bible verses such as Matthew 7.7 and Matthew 21.22. List down these requests together and follow up whenever you can (like during meals or when you’re in the car).
- Read a Bible story together. Whether you’re a parent, an aunt/uncle, grandparent, godparent or a friend of the family, whenever you get together with children in your circle, invite them to read a Bible story together. Give them a part to read and ask one or two follow up questions about what they have read.
- Make Bible reading fun. In this age of technological advancement, there are many free resources online which you can use to help children enjoy Bible reading. Check out biblekids.ca/ (runs on desktop only) or Bible for kids app by YouVersion (runs on any mobile devices).
- Show them. Like it or not, children watch us – how we speak, how we react to situations, and how we live our own advice. If you’d like your children to read and love God’s Word, show them (Tweet this). Let them know that you read the Bible regularly. Let them see how you live God’s Word daily. One story tells of four clergymen talking about which Bible translation is the best. The first three talked about their favourite translation and its merits. When the fourth clergyman was asked about his, he replied: “I like my mother’s translation best.” The other three expressed surprise. They did not know his mother had translated the Bible. “Yes, she did,” he replied. “She translated it into life, and it was the most convincing translation I ever saw.”