Recently, a friend was telling me about a poll they conducted among the parents at their church. One question asked about whether the parents read the Bible regularly with their kids at home. They were surprised to find that only about ten percent of families did. Anecdotally, I’d say that seems a pretty fair representation of churches more widely. There might be all sorts of reasons for this. Perhaps the number of Christians who regularly read the Bible on their own is already low, and even less are likely to additionally do this with their children. I think busyness is a huge contributor; many families find they have packed their schedules so full that time for Bible reading is crowded out. Perhaps there is a sense parents feel that they ‘contract out’ faith instruction to their church. You send your kids to a piano teacher to learn piano, to a tennis coach to master their serve and to kids’ church to learn about Jesus. It may also be that parents lack confidence to open the Bible themselves and explain it to their kids. Whatever the reason, the Bible still makes clear the responsibility that lies with Christian parents to be the chief means by which their children are taught the Bible. They are to impress God’s Word upon their children (Deut 6:7), tell it to the next generation (Ps 78:4-7) and bring children up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4). So, what can we do to help parents take seriously this responsibility they have in their children’s lives?
I think one very easy way is to gift a family a resource they can use to make this job easier, and I’d like to recommend a great one! In the last few years, one of my favourite resources for reading the Bible with our kids around the dinner table has been Chris Morphew’s Best News Ever (The Good Book Company). This is a book children in the tween age group could use on their own, but we found it worked brilliantly as something we read aloud together as a family. The book divides Mark’s Gospel into 100 sections, often of only a few verses each. We found this to be a very easy amount to read with our kids, who were at the time in the 4-14 age range. After reading the verses there is a short devotional or reflection and one or two questions to ask your kids. This is followed by a short prayer you could pray together. I reckon it takes ten minutes tops to do the whole shebang and it worked well across the entire age range of our kids. Chris Morphew has a real gift for making biblical truth understandable for children (he also has a range of books for tweens that are excellent).
Whether you are looking for something to help facilitate Bible reading with your own kids, or you’d like to encourage and equip another family to do that, I think this book is a great help. It’d be great on a church bookstall. Once, when our children were very young, we had an older ministry couple for a meal. Rather than bring me chocolates or flowers, the wife brought me some Christian books for my children. It was such a thoughtful gesture, and one I reckon she’d be very happy for anyone to pinch! Having a few copies of Best News Ever in your cupboard ready to gift could be one way to bring something even sweeter than a box of Cadbury Favourites.