In our home, we think it is very important to read the Bible, but if I’m totally honest with you, with five children, it is a struggle for me to rise early and have time in God’s Word by myself before my kids pile into my room in the morning to wake me up. I do try to read the Word or pray scripture right when I wake up while I nurse Jude, but it usually only lasts a few minutes before someone else cracks open the door and asks to come in. Sometimes I feel like the second my eyes open, the kids are alerted that Mom’s awake and they must ambush her. I try to remind myself that someday I will miss this (maybe).
I will say that I do love being in the groove of studying God’s Word. It’s worth the struggle to crack it open. It is the only book in the world that is alive!
God’s breath comes out of each page infusing us with wisdom, guidance, and love.
I know my gas tank needs as much filling of this each morning as possible before the day gets going and life pulls all of it’s demands out of me. If you’re like me, how do we remedy the fact that we know we need God’s power to get us through the day with patience and love, but struggle to find the time to read it?
One of the ways I’ve found is to read the Bible out loud to the kids while we eat breakfast. No, it’s not that quiet, reflective time in the Word by myself, but it fills me up in a different way.
I get to see my kids eyes opened to the power of God right in front of me.
I try to prioritize reading out loud to them for about ten minutes while we eat breakfast and then we discuss what we read together. It’s not long, it’s not technical, it’s just reading and discussing. I ask questions like, “should Abraham have obeyed God in the call to sacrifice his one and only son or not?”, and “although God stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, who actually did sacrifice his one and only son”? I love seeing their eyes light up as they give me their answers and opinions.
Now, before you continue in picturing these perfect morning Bible sessions at my house, let me take a paint brush and color in the parts you may not have in your picture yet…
Let’s see…I’m rushing to get every one seated at the table before they finish eating and are off and running to the next thing. Once I start reading, I’m corralling the two-year old back to the table about a dozen times as her God-given design is to never sit still. Simultaneously, one of the older kids is usually up and down getting Jude more food in is high chair as to stop him from screaming. Although eventually he doesn’t stop screaming which is my signal to be all done. And, as of recently, Coco the bird is sitting on the table in front of me eating crumbs and whistling “The Adams Family” over me. No joke. Not sure whose idea it was to invite him to the breakfast table.
It’s not a perfect picture. But, it’s totally worth it to me when we are cleaning up the dishes and I hear the kids dialogue with each other about what it must have been like for Isaac in the moment his dad was tying him up to be sacrificed, and how relieved he must have been when all of a sudden an angel spoke and told his dad there was a sacrifice that God provided instead.
These conversations are important to me because I know they are leaving life long impressions on their hearts.
Currently I am reading the kids the book of Acts out of my Bible, and we just read about the first martyr, Stephen, in chapter 7. We read about how he said he could see Heaven open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God right before they stoned him. This particular morning, I read the Bible to them in the play room while they played with toys because I didn’t get to the breakfast table in time to read. We discussed what that may have meant that Jesus was standing. The Bible says in other verses like Ephesians 1:20 and Hebrews 10:12 that He is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus even said of Himself that we will see Him seated at the right hand of God in Heaven. So I asked, “why was He standing for Stephen”? We discussed how we show honor to people by standing, or maybe Jesus was so emotional about seeing Stephen being stoned for His sake that He couldn’t help but bolt to His feet. We then wondered about how often He is seated on His throne in His rightful place and how much He is off playing with the kids in Heaven. We discussed many other ideas which led to other questions and ideas, and so on. All while they tossed a ball around and played with toys. I love the wonder that the Bible opens up, not only for children but for us adults too.
These are conversations I love having with my kids. I wouldn’t trade them for anything else.
This is one of the many reasons we home school. I don’t want rushed mornings. I want mornings together, and time to read God’s Word to them. If the mornings aren’t a good time for your family, then try the evenings before bed. If I don’t get to it at breakfast, then I try to read to them at lunch or any other time we are all together, but first thing in the morning seems to be the best for us.
It helps me start off my day encouraged and like I did the most important thing already.
So, I would like to share with you some of our families favorite Bibles and devotionals. Some of them I have read to the kids in the mornings, and some of them they have read on their own, but all have enriched the kids Bible knowledge.
“120 Bible Stories” is my favorite one. I’ve been reading this to the kids for five years. I usually read it in order, one story from the New Testament and one from the Old Testament. When we finish it, then we start again. What we love about this one is the pictures on each page are paintings that are very realistic. The kids are glued to the pictures while I read and I like that it helps them identify with the characters because they look realistic instead of like cartoons. There are questions at the end of each story to ask your kids as well. I highly recommend this Bible.
I like “The Children’s Illustrated Bible” because it has realistic illustrations as well as pictures of Israel peppered throughout that pertain to the story. My kids really like looking at all the pictures and they spur a lot of conversation about Israel and what life was like during Biblical times. Because of this, I would say this is my second favorite one.
We like “Friends With God Story Bible” because the illustrations are really good. It is also written differently in the fact that the stories are told from the perspective of the person. So, Abraham tells his own story from his perspective and so on. There are also character qualities woven within and questions after each story to ask the children to reflect on. I have found on several occasions my oldest daughter reading this to my seven-year old at night because they both really like it.
“My ABC Bible Verses” is not a Bible but every page has a Bible verse on it for your family to memorize together. There is a Bible verse for each letter of the alphabet. I keep it with whatever Bible we are reading so that we can open it up and recite a verse together on days where I have a little more time.
My two year old likes her own Bible board book, “My Favorite Bible Storybook For Little Ones”. It has a handle on it for her to carry around, and has hidden flaps to open on each page to keep her hands busy.
This “Jesus Calling” is a devotional that your pre-teens can read on their own. My son was ten when he read through it at bedtime and he really enjoyed it, and I’m going to have my daughter who is ten begin reading through it as well.
The illustrations in “For Such a Time as This” are absolutely beautiful. My ten-year old daughter keeps this book in her room. Every story is about the women of the Bible and is told from their perspective. She really enjoys it.
“The Big Picture of What God Has Always Wanted” is a really great book for explaining in a simple way the entire Gospel so I wanted to include it. It explains to your children why Jesus had to come to redeem us and how all God ever wanted was a family. I highly recommend making this a regular read with your kids.
Although not a devotional, “Heaven is for Real” is a great book for getting kids thinking about Heaven. Told from the perspective of a boy who went to Heaven, my kids enjoy when we read through this together and looking at the pictures. It is a great spring-board for conversation about all the wonderful things and people awaiting us in Heaven.
Well, I hope this list will help get you started with some good Bibles and devotionals to read to your children or grandchildren. Or possibly as a gift to your niece or nephew at their next birthday, or maybe the perfect baby shower gift. Whatever the occasion, the investment will not be a waste! Get those kids started early with a love for God’s Word. You are sowing seeds that will produce a harvest!
Please let me know some of your favorites too! Blessings to you and your family!