Are you acquainted with a family that’s busy? You probably know the kind, running to appointments and practices and events and meetings and and and… Perhaps you do, or perhaps it’s you, but either way, one important thing that can get forgotten under a pile of busy family To-Do’s is spending time as a family in the Bible: Family Bible Time. (Skip to the TL;DR)
Why Family Bible Time?
I’ll break it down for you in a short list, because we’ve already established that you (or your friend *cough cough*) are one busy person.
- The Bible is important. Really important. It’s God’s word passed down through generations to you, and Lord willing, your children’s children. Shouldn’t we spend time getting to know Him and the story He has unfolded over time for mankind?
- Talking about apologetics with our kids flows naturally through and from communal Bible time. Some of us don’t know where to start with apologetics and, quite frankly, we’re overwhelmed to the point of not starting. Opportunities to share faith defending truths and knowledge arise through discussions as a family about the Bible, and apologetics really ought to begin with the Bible, shouldn’t it?
So What Do I Mean By “Family Bible Time”?
I don’t want this to become a post that prescribes for you the way your family’s Bible time should go, and I am certainly not an expert, but I will briefly describe what our family’s Bible time looks like. Maybe having a peek at how other people approach Bible time will be useful to you. Here we go:
- Each family member takes a turn picking a passage to read. (On Sundays and Awana nights, we skip, so with 4 members in our family it works out to each person being responsible about once a week)
- First, they remind us what we heard/learned last time. (This also encourages us to pay attention, because we’ll have to remember what we heard!)
- Next, the person reads their passage.
- Afterwards, they tell us what they’d like us to notice/remember for next time.
- Parents contribute observations, applications, ask questions, or point out ways this might tie in to something that happened recently. (Some of our questions are open-ended and some encourage the kids to draw correct conclusions about the text)
- To close, the person who read prays for the family, the coming day, and about some aspect of what they read. (We don’t enforce that order, but as we prayed that way, the kids picked up on it and followed suit)
My husband got the ball rolling on this for our family (headship initiative, woot woot). It’s only a commitment of 10-15 minutes a day- depending on the passage someone chooses and whether we get fired up about it- and we keep it loose to just see where conversation takes us.
We find answers for questions we don’t know, don’t condemn questions, and take time to correct wrong understandings. The point is for us to learn a little something, take initiative for our learning (by rotating whose turn it is to ‘teach’), and to make the Bible a bigger part of our family dynamic. By way of encouragement, I’ll share that our children are both English language learners, aged 9 and 10, so don’t worry if you think your kids aren’t getting it, you’re doing a good job just by trying and providing opportunities for the Lord to work.
A Few Bonus Benefits of Family Bible Time
Spending time as a family in the Word:
- Makes you accessible to kids who have questions
- Carves out time to address hard truths or concepts in the Bible
- Creates a habit for reading and exposition early on
- Clearly demonstrates the Bible’s importance, even in the busiest schedules
- Encourages our kids to form thoughts and questions and to interact with us in a warm conversation that isn’t “Do this. Do that. Didn’t I tell you to…?” driven
- You’re sitting together as a family talking about God!
This is not a prescription for your family or a firehose of ideas. Think of it as a general exhortation and encouragement to introduce, reintroduce, or continue spending time as a family in the Bible. Keep it simple and keep it loose, and figure out what suits your family dynamic. Basically, just get started and see where the Lord leads you,