Encouraging Your Children to Read the Bible: 6 Options for Any Age

As Christians we are people of the Book. And as my children grow, one regular habit I want to cultivate in them is Bible reading. We often read the Bible together at dinner time, as well as talk about what we learn at church. The number one way to encourage your kids to read God's Word is to model it yourself. If you are able, do your Bible reading is such a way that they see you doing it regularly. In my case this doesn't work so well, because I get up early and part of my morning routine is reading the Bible. So I make sure that I mention what I read, or casually remind them every once in awhile that I read the Bible in the early mornings.

This year I have decided to challenge each of my kids to read the Bible. The common challenge to read the whole Bible can be daunting for adults, much less kids. I think that is a challenge that we can work up to. So I spent some time over the last few days to create Bible reading plans for each of my kids. Choose the option that best works for your child, but remember – they will develop this holy habit most effectively by seeing you do it.


Plan 1: Pre-Readers and Early Readers

My children were introduced to Bible stories first by me reading them. In this regard, I'd recommend Eugene Peterson's My First Message as well as the Jesus StoryBook Bible.


Plan 2: Young Readers

The Action Bible has been one of our best investments. Illustrated by a former comic illustrator, even I like looking at the pictures. This Bible is heavy on the visuals, but touches on most of the major stories. While my daughter never took to it, both my boys devoured it.


Plan 3: Bible Stories Reading Plan

This is the plan that I have challenged my two youngest children with this year. It goes beyond the previous options which are retellings of the Bible, and now encourages them to read the actual Bible on their own. I have chosen 110 stories from the Bible, with a few sections also covering some of Jesus' teaching and parables. Here is the PDF of this plan.


Plan 4: The Bible StoryLine Reading Plan

If you know your Bible, you know that a huge chunk of it is poetry as well as prophetic oracles. But children (well really, all of us) are especially drawn to stories. My oldest son is a reader, and I wanted to challenge him with something close to a chapter a day. This plan is just shy of that, so that if they miss a day here and there they will not be off track. I'm doing this plan with him this year, and I have enjoyed already the discussion we've had on the chapters. This plan goes through the entire story line of the Bible, with a focus almost entirely on narrative. Here is the PDF of this plan. If you would like to add a little more challenge, encourage your child to also read one psalm per day, and after that one chapter of Proverbs.

As your child (or yourself) begins to read whole books of the Bible (or almost whole books) with this plan, I'd highly encourage you to show them the awesome videos created by The Bible Project. This is a huge project and not every book of the Bible yet has a video, but the ones that are there are top notch. There is nothing else comparable, in my opinion, to these videos. Before your child begins reading a new book of the Bible, watch the video on that book with them first, so that they can see the overall picture of that book.


Plan 5: The New Testament

A good challenge, particularly I think for teenagers and up, is to read the New Testament. There are 260 chapters in the NT, so reading 1 chapter per weekday is more than doable. Encourage them to also take time to read the study notes from their Bible, and again I'd encourage watching The Bible Project videos that correspond to each book.


Plan 6: The Entire Bible

This takes commitment, but is of course well worth it. Before challenging anyone to this, the person really needs to recognize how much reading does need to be done per day, and make a plan for consistent reading. There are numerous options for doing this, with a popular one being a one year Bible like this one. Another option is to turn to our friends again at The Bible Project. They too have a reading plan for the whole Bible that you can find on their Tumblr page. As before, I highly recommend their videos. But I would also HIGHLY recommend a book called How to Read the Bible Book by Book. Only a few pages per book, this reading makes an excellent introduction to each book of the Bible before you read it. I teach the Bible Survey course at ADC, and this along with the Bible is the textbook.


Honorable Mentions

There are some great Bible apps for kids, and 1 in particular is worth mentioning because it is free. It is put out by LifeChurch.tv, and is called Bible for Kids. My daughter loves this app, as it is highly interactive. The other honorable mention is for those who may have read the Bible through before and are looking for a new way to do it – through an audio Bible. In this regard, the Inspired By audio Bible is fantastic. Read by actors, and well produced. I listen to this quite regularly.


Do you know of other good reading plans? Let me know in the comments.


photo credit: A little boy reads a big book with river at background via photopin (license)
Posted by Danny Zacharias.