What does reading the Bible look like in your family? Do you set aside time to read it together?
Families are often loud, messy and imperfect, and perhaps you’ve been disheartened by the gap between your expectations and the lived reality of trying to read the Bible together. Don’t give up!
Here are ten things to try before, during and after family Bible time:
Your minds might be full of all kinds of stuff distracting you. It might help to jot down things you’re stressed about remembering, or any ‘to dos’, for later so you can focus and be in the moment.
What are you thankful for today? What is bothering you? Do you need help with something? Could you do something to help someone else in the family after Bible time? You can have these conversations at any time during the day, such as when you’re traveling home from school or during dinner time.
It can be difficult to read the Bible together if you’re feeling angry or upset with each other. Do you need to talk anything over? Do you need to say sorry or forgive anyone? Do you all need a group hug? This bit can’t be rushed. It’s very important.
God speaks to us through his word. It’s always good to pray, asking him for help to hear what he’s saying.
Spending time reading the Bible, thinking, talking and praying isn’t a race or competition. The point is to spend time with God, not to complete things in a set time. If you don’t cover everything but you’re having a deep conversation or tackling things that are important, there’s always tomorrow to continue.
There’s no such thing as a silly question. Make sure everyone feels safe to share their thoughts, feelings and even doubts about what you’ve read and to ask any questions they might have.
It’s OK if you don’t understand something or know the answers immediately. It’s good to model what it looks like to spend time thinking things over as well as how and where to look for answers. It’s also OK to park questions with God and trust him to answer some of them later.
Sometimes we can feel uncomfortable when we read the Bible. It might be that we don’t like the sound of something we read, or we realise that something about us needs to change, or perhaps we need to say sorry to God. This is very normal! Don’t ignore it when this happens but pray about it, remembering that God loves you, cares about your struggles and wants to hear from you.
God wants us to enjoy spending time with him and there’s a lot of good news in the Bible. The more you read it, the more amazing you’ll realise God is and the more joy you will find in his word and his promises.
You can pray about anything, big or small, general or specific and personal. Don’t forget to pray for each other – it’s very encouraging when someone prays for you and special that you can pray for them too.
Author: Esther King, 20 July 2021