Tips for Bringing Up Your Child in God's Word: Part 3, Reading in the Home

If you knew you were going to see your children just one last time, what would be the last thing you’d say to them? The Apostle Paul was about to die. He was writing one more letter to his friend Timothy. Timothy was a student of Paul, who Paul personally taught and trained to be a pastor. And now Paul was going to die: What did Paul want his last words to Timothy to be about? Here’s some of them:
 
2 Timothy 3:15 From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
 
The last words Paul had for Timothy were not, “Remember the good times we had? Remember what a good teacher I was? Remember all the cool things I taught you?” Paul doesn’t say anything like that. Instead, Paul says, “Remember the good times you had with Scripture, with God’s Word?” What role did Scripture have in Timothy’s life? He grew up reading Scripture, and because that was part of his life, he became wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. In other words he learned from Scripture how God loved him so much, he sent a Saviour into this world for Timothy to pay for all of his sins. So Timothy now has salvation, has eternity with God to look forward to. All because of God’s love for Timothy.
 
And we can say the same thing to you: Maybe it wasn’t from infancy, but remember when you started getting to know God’s Word? What did it do? It made you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. You learned from Scripture how God loves you so much, he sent a Saviour into this world for you to pay for all of your sins. So you now have salvation. You have an eternity with God to look forward to. All because of God’s love for you.
 
Now let’s talk about our children. We’ve been posting videos as a simple encouragement and to provide some principles and tips on how to bring your children up in the Word of God, that is, how to make learning the Bible a priority in your children’s lives. We want to be able to say of our children that from infancy, that from a young age, they have known the Holy Scriptures.
 
One of the challenges, though, to reading the Bible with our children is that we live in a culture where we sometimes don’t do anyreading of any kind with our children. Oftentimes, once our children reach the age of four or five, reading together drops off entirely. This is usually because of one of two things: Either kids, if we expect them to read, are now expected to read to themselves, or, more often than not, reading is replaced with technology. There’s no question that reading in many households is almost entirely replaced by TV shows, Netflix, Disney + or other streaming services, ipad and iphone apps, and computer and video games. For example, some studies say kids age 8 to 18 spend an average of more than seven hours a day looking at screens. If kids are being conditioned to get all their info from screens, and those screens are loaded with tons of competing corporations, companies, and other voices with slick animation and actors and branding, should we honestly be surprised we’re having trouble getting our children to sit down with us and read a bible devotion?
 
So, here’s tip number one: Limit your children’s access to screens. And limit it drastically. And I’m not the only one saying this is a very clear step parents ought to be taking. In a now famous interview, Steve Jobs, when asked whether or not his kids love the iPad, replied: “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home" (New York Times).  Steve Jobs, the inventor of the iPad, didn’t let his kids use the ipad he invented. What does that tell you?
 
Nick Bilton The author of the article that first published this interview, writes that since his conversation with Steve Jobs,  “I’ve met a number of technology chief executives and venture capitalists who say similar things: they strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends.” For example, Chris Anderson, former chief editor of Wired, current CEO of 3D Robotics, said to him: “My kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists and overly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their friends have the same rules. That’s because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.”
 
So, let me make this clear: The inventors of the technology many of our kids are using do not think our kids should be using it. So, limit your children’s use of it, and limit it a lot
 
Here’s tip number two: If your children are thirteen years or younger, start reading with them every day. Not only is reading-aloud (or listening to audiobooks together) overwhelmingly linked with vocabulary development, writing mastery, deeper focus, and academic success, it is a wonderful way to bond with your kids. (You can see our links below that summarize these benefits in a simple PDF as well as a full podcast).  And Dads, this is for you because your impact here is profound. A dad’s interest in his children’s education, particularly reading aloud to them, has been found to have more influence on a child’s educational success than family background, the child’s personality, or poverty. So start reading aloud to your child. Do this for 60 days. Researchers tell us it takes 60 days to break the addiction to screens, and researchers also tell us that, as long as there aren’t other issues that need to be addressed, like learning disabilities, it takes about 60 days to engrain a habit like reading together. Maybe you’re thinking: 60 days is a long time! And I’m not going to lie to you, if your kid is addicted to screens and social media, the first few weeks will be painful. But just ask yourself whether it’s worth your child having a love not only for books, but also for the Book of Books, the Bible.
 
Do you need suggestions for what to read them? Just see the link below for awesome book lists for all ages as well as a simple survey you can fill out to have reading recommendations, tailored specifically for your kids and family, sent directly to you. And once reading aloud is a habit, adding in a bible story or a family devotion to this time will feel natural. You can see the link below for recommendations for great devotional reads for all ages.
 
And let’s just wrap up by remembering Paul and Timothy and thanking God for what he’s given us. What was Paul ultimately reminding Timothy of? That Timothy was saved. Timothy was wise for salvation. All of Timothy’s sins were fully forgiven, Timothy was now a precious child of God, and heaven is Timothy’s home. How about you? You’re wise for salvation, too. You’re saved. All of your sins are fully forgiven, you are a precious child of God, and heaven is your home. We thank God he gives us and our children a certain future with him.
 

Written by Pastor Thompson and Christine Thompson


Links: 

The Tech Wise Family: An essential reader and practical guide for understanding the profound impact of technology in our lives and ways to use it wisely. 

Podcast/PDF: Benefits of Reading Aloud

Book Recommendation Lists
"Take the Free Quiz" for a Personalized List: Text QUIZ to 33777 or Click Here 

Devotional Reads