Dynamic Bible Readings for the Whole Family

{Thank you to Bailey M. for this post!}

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, & is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Arguably, making the daily readings a priority in your family is one of the most important things that you can do as a parent. When doing the readings, we want them to have the biggest impact possible, so that hopefully these thoughts and principles and stories can live within us, in an exciting and very real way. So, when we came across this evening program by Brother Neville Clarke (see link below), we thought it would be beneficial to share some of the tips and ideas that helped his family become more engaged in the daily reading of God’s word.

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 3:15)

To build a storehouse of biblical information while a child is young will guide that child to make Godly decisions as a young person, as a husband or wife, and someday as an elder in the ecclesia. We know well the verse that says, “Train up a child in the way that he should go: & when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6) If we are not filling our minds with the Word of God, then its likely that we’re not basing our decisions on the scriptures, these words of Paul are then being spoken to us;

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection…. having a form of godliness. but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

These verses cannot be talking about the world, because they do not desire to have a form of godliness. But if we aren’t reading the bible daily and filling our mind with God’s influence, we will only be professing a form, and thus we will be decision making based on our own natural tendencies. Daily reading & study thereof is so incredibly essential in the life of the disciple.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

“…rightly dividing the word of truth. What does the bible say? What does that mean? And what does that mean in your life? And what I’m going to suggest is that that requires good bible reading. And bible reading begins at home. It begins with the family. It’s not done in the ecclesia: on Wednesday nights or on Sunday mornings, it really begins at home.” – Brother Neville Clark

Brother Neville also suggests that as parents, or even teachers, it’s important that we find the answers to our children’s questions. We may not know the answer the first time, but if we don’t have the answer by the second time they ask us, they likely won’t ask us a third time. And as much as we’d hope they would ask the elders in the ecclesia, they’ll usually just ask their peers. We need to have answers for our kids, so that they believe that the bible does have answers to their questions. We pray that overtime they will seek out these answers, having full confidence that the answers are indeed there. Daily readings as a family is also very helpful for purging inaccuracies and preconceived ideas – read with care. So much good can be done with this bonding time at the close of the day.

We encourage you to listen to Brother Neville’s class on Dynamic Bible Readings for the Whole Family (see below), but to summarize, we have listed some of the techniques he mentions in his class below.

Enjoy!

To listen to this class, you can click the link here!

 

Interactive Ways to Engage the Whole Family in the Daily Readings

Schedule

Evenings in any family can be busy. It can become very easy to lose track of time & push the readings later and later into the night. It is very important to have your family focused and attentive during the readings and thus Brother Neville suggests a few key things:

  • Everyone should be preparing for the readings a little before the start time. Try to have your materials out & ready, your bath towel (see below), & be sitting up straight & ready for the reading of God’s word.
  • It is better to focus and thoroughly learn from one reading than to rush through three mechanically & learn little.
  • No matter what, you should have a set time that readings end. This way if there is homework to be done, or lunches to be made, or bedtimes to meet, everyone knows they can attend to these things after the readings. Brother Neville suggests an 8:00 pm stop time, regardless of when you start. Each family will be able to establish one that works for them.
  • Having visitors over for the readings can, of course, be an exception, conversation can and should carry on beyond 8:00 pm.
  • Try to keep the end time earlier, so that the readers can be attentive & awake for this very important task.

A White Board

Brother Neville describes a wall in his living room that has been designated for a bible readings white board. This white board has been through many things throughout the course of the lives of his children and has brought about some very helpful methods of teaching!

When your children are younger, pictures can work wonders in helping them understand what it is that you are reading about. Battle scenes with little soldiers, or kings & queens with golden crowns, pictures can really bring the story to life for anyone. But having the ability to draw in relation to the readings for everyone to see can be beneficial for every age. For example, understanding what Israel looks like and being able to draw a map of it will help you immensely as a bible student. Brother Neville suggests memorizing the bodies of water: the med, the red, & the dead.

There are so many helpful ways to use a white board during the readings, here are a few of the ones he listed:

  •  Timelines – Everyone should understand the 6000 year place, having a general idea as to when the flood came, when King David reigned, when Christ came, etc. Timelines of the kings, prophets, and epistles could be helpful as well.
  •  Chapter break up – Break ups of the chapter can be easily found in the heading of each chapter in the KJV bible or any study bible. Go through as a family & decide if these are accurate.
  • Questions – A good way to not let your children’s questions go unanswered is to have a section of the white board dedicated to questions that you may not have an immediate answer for.
  •  Bible Marking – As your children grow older, their ability to bible mark will grow as well. But during the younger stages, it would be beneficial to help them understand what to put along side fundamental verses, such as first principles or proof verses. The white board is a great place to do this. This leads us into our next section…

Bible Marking

Blank Bible Margins: “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.” (Proverbs 14:4)

As your children age, pictures & stories might not be as attractive to them. Instead, bible marking is a fantastic way to keep them involved and interactive. What an amazing wealth of knowledge they will have in their bibles if this is practiced from a young age! The white board is a great place to have all of the following visible for all to bible mark;

  • Maps
  • Timelines
  • Chapter Breakdowns
  • Key Words/ Phrases
  • First Principles & Connecting Verses

There are also a few things to keep in mind when approaching the Bible Marking stage. Here are a few:

  • Wide Margin Bibles are a nice gift for children approaching their teen years.
  • One note per reading is a great goal.
  • If too young, children can bible mark on inserts.
  • With important doctrines, try writing out the phrasing on the board first, so that when the children read it in their margins later on, they can understand exactly what it is saying. The older kids can decide on their own, but this will help the younger ones. You essentially want them to be able to answer the door with the confidence to read their notes to whoever may be asking about the hope that is within them.
  • Pencil is a growing writing utensil, you can change the note as you develop in your understanding.
  • Materials that might help: pencil, ruler, pencil crayons, micron pens, notebook, eraser, a small board to rest your bible on, and of course, a bible!

Chocolate Night

Before Brother Neville’s children were old enough for CYC, Friday night was chocolate night. Every Friday evening, following the readings, they would break out the chocolate and enjoy it together. This can be any kind of treat – but chocolate is a pretty great idea.

Know Questions

Know Questions is a Christadelphian resource designed to create conversation around the readings. For every reading of the day, there are a number of questions to quiz the family, both young and old. The young children can each read out a question for the family to answer or even come up with some of their own questions. Again, a great way to get everyone involved.

You can also have some expository books available in your living area to help answer some of the questions you might not have the answer to. Story of the Bible & the Green Expositors are a good option!

Act out the Story

Bring the bible readings to life by acting out the readings as a family! All this requires is a towel, along with some creative voices, and you have a production. Brother Neville describes the whole family running to get their bath towels before the readings, wrapping them around their heads, their legs, or their waists, ready to play their part in the story. This, as I’m sure you can imagine, had all of the kids ready and excited to do the readings! You have made the readings fun.

 

There are so many fun and dynamic ways to bring forth the best fruit from this daily activity, we have only named a few! We encourage you to find more and share them with others, that we might all bring up Yahweh’s heritage to better know and glorify Him.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

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