A few weeks back I was up early reading through the book of Hebrews. Our oldest daughter, Dela (6), happened to get up early too. She’s a professional snuggler, so her typical M.O. is to climb into my lap regardless of what I’m doing and just sink in.

Except this morning was different.

This time she looked at me with curiosity and asked, “Daddy, what are you reading?”.

“The Bible, sweetheart.” By God’s grace I sensed an opportunity. “Do you want to join me?”

“Yes”, she nodded.

So we spent the next 20 minutes discussing what it means to read God’s Word and why it’s important. She’s at a very inquisitive age—but not so early in her development that she doesn’t comprehend my answers. It was a great talk. I was also able to show her how to hunt down verses via the Table of Contents in the front of her Bible.

We ended up in Matthew 5, reading together, and highlighting Matthew 5:13:

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

We talked about what it means to be “salt of the earth” and how we can follow Jesus’ words in our daily lives. It’s a conversation I won’t soon forget, and I get the feeling it’s just the first of many we will have around God’s Word.

A Gift to Behold

What a gift it is to introduce our children to Jesus! Whatever age, whatever stage, we get the privilege and responsibility of teaching them the things of God, discipling them in Christ, and watching them grow.

Many parents reach out to us asking where to start and how to disciple their kids. I’m certainly not perfect in this, but here are some pointers for you to consider:

1. Start in the Gospel of John!

John writes in a way that kids tend to connect with—with stories, dialogue, and straightforward language. Don’t feel like you have to read huge pieces of scripture in a sitting.

2. Meet them where they’re at without watering down the text

Believe it or not, small kids don’t need watered-down scripture! They have a way of rising to challenges in moments like what I’ve described above. They can handle hearing the full text, but they will definitely need you to explain it to them in terms they’re familiar with. If you have older children, ask them open-ended questions about what you’ve read, giving them room to respond thoughtfully.

3. Connect one idea to daily life

It helps retention to get practical. Ask, how what you’ve read teaches you to trust Jesus more in your daily life. How can it be applied to a recent event in your lives? Try to articulate as specifically as possible, asking them open-ended questions along the way.

4. Pray with them, inviting them to pray out loud.

Regardless of their age, our children need to be reminded that they can talk to God themselves and that what they pray matters. As you pray, think of it as a response to what God has said in the passage you’ve read for the day.

5. Don’t over-complicate it!

As a last pointer, it’s helpful to remember that you don’t need to over-complicate the above process. Find a routine that works for you and tweak as necessary. The main objective is to read God’s Word together, discuss how it shapes you, and to ask for God’s help in letting it do so (prayer).

The primary parental prerogative

Our greatest joys as parents happen as we show our children Christ. May we embrace and experience the full joy of our primary parental prerogative: to instruct our children in the things of God.

"May we embrace and experience the full joy of our primary parental prerogative: to instruct our children in the things of God."