My grandmother was a first grade teacher for 39 years. She taught classes as large as 40 kids how to read. Amazing! In her free time, my grandmother also loved to collect samples of different primers that had been used through the years. She proudly showed me these readers one day and explained how the first source of reading for school children was the Bible itself. Many children learned to read for the sole purpose of reading the Bible.
I’ve thought about this fact through the years and love the idea of beginners starting to read with the Bible. But how do you pick the right passages? How can they understand it? And how can you build consistency? These are all valid questions.
Many of the guidelines for great kids’ devotions start with a level of simplicity that we as adults sometimes take for granted. Ten minutes is a great goal for a beginner’s devotion time. Consider the following 4 basics when encouraging kids toward establishing a 10-minute devotion time.
Basic 1: Kids can read the Bible. We take this fact for granted. The fact is that for centuries people did not own Bibles. Now we have Bibles in a variety of formats for all ages and kinds of people. Kids should primarily read the biblical text, not just commentary or stories.
Basic 2: Kids can learn to apply Bible teaching to their lives. God will use the Holy Spirit to draw kids to God, convict them of sin, and affirm the truth. This is where explanation and devotion—which makes the Bible real and applicable to the everyday life of your child—is crucial.
Basic 3: Kids can learn truths about God and Jesus. In other words, our children can also be little theologians. They can talk about God, learn what the Bible teaches, and share the gospel message with others. They can build faith as they spend time with God each day.
Basic 4: Kids can pray to God (talking and listening). Think about it. The Supreme God of the Universe wants to keep an open line of communication with our kids. Teach kids to talk to God and listen.
For additional helps, we recommend our line of kids’ devotionals, featuring 10-minute devotions for your children each day: a Scripture passage, devotion, prayer, and Bible-learning activity or fun fact. Just right for your kids and their daily time with God! There are three monthly magazines:
More for kids ages 4 to 7—Perfect to use together to model personal devotion time until your child is ready to have a devotion time on her own each day.
Adventure for kids ages 7 to 10—For your confident reader to read on his own each day or part of family devotions.
Bible Express for preteens 10 & up—In a flip-book format, one set of devotions for girls, and the other for boys, plus feature articles that will speak directly to your preteen’s daily life.
You can order or learn more at lifeway.com/devotionals.
William Summey is the Publishing Team Leader for ParentLife, kids devotionals, and short-term products. He is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Vanderbilt University. William lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Christy, and two boys