How To Read The Bible Aloud For Children

Holy BibleBible reading is one of the most important activities you can do with children. I believe that every Sunday school session, family devotion and children’s church meeting should include a time of Bible reading.

Since the Bible is God’s Word, we should do our best to listen to it.

The Big Problem: Can Kids Understand?

Children become discouraged when they don’t understand. Most kids experience a knowledge gap when the Bible is read aloud. Sometimes it’s the vocabulary, sometimes it’s the concepts, and sometimes it’s just the way the text is read.

Let’s be honest – Most children have a hard time comprehending the Bible when it is read aloud. Every week in church, many children are only learning to check out mentally while God’s Word is read.

Don’t give up. I believe that all of this can be overcome, and children can learn to appreciate the public reading of the scriptures. The benefits are much bigger than the challenges.

Another Problem: Will Kids Be Bored?

It’s contrary to their nature to listen while the Bible is read. One dogma of modern children’s ministry is to “keep the kids moving.” While this is true in general, there must be times when the children learn to be still and listen.

Reality check – nearly everything about reading the Bible aloud is counter cultural. Children have been groomed by our society to demand entertainment. All those hours watching television, or playing video games have trained their minds. This makes the simple reading of the Bible a strange and potentially boring activity.

Some children will be bored, but this should not be the only factor that directs your ministry. The benefits of hearing God’s Word are much greater than the potential drawbacks. These problem can be overcome, especially when care is taken to lessen its effects.

Some Practical Tips For Reading The Bible To Children

1. Teach about the importance of listening to God’s Word.
Have you ever told the children how blessed we are to have the Bible? God was very good to give us his directions, we must learn to value them.

2. Use a consistent translation that is appropriate for children.
We use the ESV, which is on the harder end of readability for children. I will sometimes go to the NiRV on more difficult passages.

3. Choose short passages that emphasize action.
The Gospel of Mark is full of action and short units. These make it an ideal place to start reading aloud to children.

4. Use expositional reading.
Be willing to pause and explain the hard parts. I prepare a marked copy of the passage by underlining difficult words and making notes in the side margins.

5. Practice the passage you will read.
“Always be prepared” is a great motto for children’s ministry too. Read the passage aloud several times. It will make a big difference.

6. Model excitement and interest in the Bible.
Children will learn as much from your attitude as from what you say. If you believe that God is speaking in the Bible, then act like it.

7. Read dramatically and with good storytelling techniques.
This comes from being prepared. Make eye contact as much as possible with the children. Pause to build suspense. Use your own body language to add character to the reading.

Do you read the Bible aloud for children?

Have you had trouble getting kids to listen to the Bible? How did you solve that problme? What practical tips can you share? The comment section is open – I’d love to have your feedback.


Comments

  1. Phyllis says

    When reading aloud from the Bible to my class I use a lot of expression and sometimes movements with my hands, or other body parts, the kids seem to really take it in, I get excited so they get excited, it is fun to watch their reactions and facial expressions. I use my KJV, but when I come to a word I know they will not understand, I stop and repeat the sentence with a word that means the same that they can understand. I love to do this, and it keeps their attention.

  2. says

    Very good post! I too have come across this challenge while teaching Junior Church!

    We use the KJV at our church and it has some words and phrases that are not used much anymore. For me, and I think my class would agree, this challenge has been fun to overcome! I don’t see a problem with stopping where we are, emphasizing an uncommon word or phrase, work on defining it in today’s vernacular, and writting it on the board to be used for the question and answer time after the lesson!

    Sometimes, in the explaination, I get to use markerboard drawings to help keep attention and to drive a point or definition home! Usually the Bible lessons end up being a great opportunity to teach kids new vocabulary which should help them in reading scripture on their own!

    Sorry for the long comment, I just love this stuff!

  3. says

    I am reading aloud from the bible every morning between services at church outside the front door and in the corner of our parking lot. We have set up a microphone and a chair just like we do for our Bible Marathon held once a year at our city hall in Flagstaff AZ. Everybody loves a microphone and we encourage kids to read for just one minute! anybody can read for just one minute. We are just starting will let you know how its going.

  4. Gerald (Jerry) Landis says

    I learned to read by reading the Bible with my parents
    as a child. My father asked me, “What book do you
    want to read?”

    My choice was the Bible!

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