If you asked the people who know me best to describe me, I am not certain that “Passionate” would be at the top of the list. Heck, I’m not even sure it would make the list, but there are some things that I am passionate about. I am passionate about God. It took 30 years before he called me into his family, and I sometimes feel like I am working double time to make up for that, but I am passionate about my Lord and Savior. I am passionate about my wife. God has blessed me with a woman I don’t deserve who gets a whole lot less than she deserves in me. I am passionate about my kids. They are one of the most important things in my life, and would do almost anything for them. And, I am passionate about serving the kids in my local church. I am passionate about leading kids to Christ and helping them to follow him through developing a biblical worldview.
That, of course, means that I am also passionate about the Bible. Here’s an article I wrote a year-and-a-half ago on the importance of God’s Word. I love to read it. I get fired up about my Bible because it teaches me about my Lord. I love to tell people about it, and I love to teach kids from it. It hasn’t always been that way though. I remember a couple of times as a kid when I picked up the Bible and resolved to read it cover to cover. I got about half way through the “begats” of Matthew, and I was toast. I would ask myself how anyone could actually sit and read this stuff. It would be more exciting to watch grass grow! Now, I can’t get enough. For the last several years, I have read through my Bible multiple times each year, not because I have to – but because I get to.
Now that I am a parent and a worker in children’s ministry I am faced with a daunting task, how do I convey my excitement for and about the Bible, and all that it contains, to the children who I influence – both my own and those in our ministry. In this article I will look at 10 things you can do to help kids catch a sense of excitement and intrigue about their Bibles.
10 Way to Get Kids Excited About the Bible
1. Let them see your excitement.
Let’s face it, excitement is contagious. How else would explain the “Stadium Wave” phenomenon that still rears its ugly head at sporting events. People get caught up in the moment. They get caught up in the excitement. Children are no different. Let them see you reading your Bible and enjoying it. Make certain that they hear you talking about the exciting things you’ve found in the Bible. Let them sense your excitement at the things the Bible has taught you. When they ask questions, refer to the Bible for answers. Let them see your excitement about the Word of God, and they are likely to feed off of that.
2. Hold your Bible.
When you are teaching kids, make sure that you physically hold your Bible. Whether or not you refer to it during your teaching, the mere fact that you are holding it implies to the kids that the story you are telling them in from that book. If they are interested in the story you are telling (say, David & Goliath), they are more likely to seek out the Bible to see what other exciting stories might be in there.
3. Teach them how to use it.
Some kids avoid the Bible because it is just so daunting. Take the mystery out of it. Show them how it is organized. Teach them where it came from and how it is arranged. Show them how to look up a verse. Teach them how to use a concordance. Help them to memorize the names of the books of the Bible. Show them the maps at the back. All of this will turn the Bible from a frighteningly thick book into a useful tool in the hands of a child.
4. Explain where it comes from and what is.
The Bible is not just any ordinary book. It was given to us by God. Children need to understand that what they have in the Bible is a recounting of the history of the Creator’s interaction with his creation. Furthermore, they need to understand how they fit into that story.
5. Give them a place to start.
Some people, including children, never get started into their Bibles because they just don’t know where to start. Challenge them to start reading somewhere. Figure out what interests them and suggest they start there, or pick a specific book and have them start reading it in small segments. The book of John is a great place to start.
6. Show them how it can be useful to them.
It is more than just a bunch of cool stories. It is the very words of the God who created everything they can see. When kids are playing video games (at least my teenager is this way), they love books full of cheat codes that show them the hidden levels and how to win the game. The Bible is just that kind of cheat book for life. Apply the Bible to real life circumstances and trials in a child’s life, and show them how to apply biblical precepts to the situation.
7. Encourage them to memorize it.
The Bible tells us that we should write the Word of God on our hearts. Kids should start memorizing scripture as soon as possible. Start with some core fundamental verses like John 3:16 and work on those over and over until they start to know God’s Word. Kids are capable of memorizing scripture before they are even capable of reading it. Playing music based on scriptural passages is another great way to help them memorize Biblical passages.
8. Find out what excites them and show it to them in the Bible.
The Bible is a cool book, and we should let kids know that. What other children’s book has God raining fire and brimstone from the sky, action and adventure like the flood and soap operas like the story of Esther or Ruth? There is something in there for everyone. Find out what interests an individual child and encourage them to read that story.
9. Use it in your class regularly.
Jesus should be at the center of everything we do in children’s ministry, and the Bible is what tells us about him. Therefore, make sure that the Bible is central to what you are teaching. Don’t just tell kids that the story you are telling them is from the Bible, put it in the context of the larger biblical story and tell the story from the Bible. When you use a verse as part of your lesson, read it directly from your Bible, not just your notes. Let the kids see and hear that the Bible should be central, and a guiding force, in everything we do.
We should do everything we can to get kids excited about God’s Word, but our efforts pale in comparison to what God Almighty is capable of. Accordingly, prayer is critical is your efforts to teach kids about the Bible. Pray that God would grow a sense of excitement and wonder about his Word in the hearts of your children. Pray that he would give them a burning desire to study his Word, and pray that he would help them to write his Word on their hearts.