Biblical literacy in adults today is anemic at best. We know that on average, American adults own a total of seven Bibles, but rarely read them. Statistics tell us that only 25% of church-going adults read their Bible regularly. And of those who do choose to read the Bible, many Christians never even read eight or more books (I’ll let you guess which represents the current generation). What does this mean for the kids we are bringing up in the faith?
A recent study published in Transformational Discipleship found that the #1 indicator of spiritual growth in the life of a believer is Bible reading. Not surprisingly, a recent study found that the #1 predictor of a child’s spiritual condition as an adult is directly related to how much they read the Bible. As kids ministers who reach a broad range of children and their families, we need to ask ourselves, “Are we prioritizing the Bible in our ministry?”
A.W. Tozer once said, “Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.” If this is true, many of us are living the Christian life without the fullness of the complete Word of God. There are 66 books in the Bible, yet most adults gravitate to only a handful. If we truly believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then we must prioritize reading all of the Scripture. This hold true for the children we lead as well.
Why do we hold back from teaching kids certain books of the Bible? Some of us feel ill-equipped to teach about them because we’ve spent such little time reading and understanding them Or, we feel like a certain book may not be appropriate for a child—whether it’s too difficult to understand, doesn’t apply to them, is too gory or graphic, or even contains sensuous material (hello Song of Songs!). One can certainly argue there is a timeline for when certain stories and Scriptures are revealed to children of young ages. However, it would be a mistake to withhold part of God’s Word because of our own comfort level.
So then, what shall we do?
- Commit to spending time in books of the Bible that we may not normally read. We should ask God to teach us more about Him as we read and study, and request for Him to reveal something special that we can present to kids in an age-appropriate way.
- Consider finding a plan that will help us teach all of Scripture. Review curriculum that has been developed through research that provides age-appropriate lessons for children to learn the whole Bible.
- Pray that children and families would fall in love with God’s Word. After all, the Bible is His love letter to all of us.
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of Lifeway Kids. She is a Baylor graduate and offers a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and publishing. She is the author of Kids Ministry that Nourishes and Life Verse Creative Journal, which she co-authored with her teenage daughter. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children reside in Nashville.