Regularly Steve and I are asked if we think parents should make their children have personal Bible time. Our simple response is, “Of course. Don’t you make your children eat healthy food?” Our goal is for our children to leave home with an ingrained habit of having daily, personal Bible time by their choice as adults. “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
We want to give them time in their schedules each day for it. We also desire to model it for them. We think we should express our joy and excitement over being in the Word, and teach them to grow spiritually through their nourishment from the Word.
When we say parents should require their children to have Bible time, they might reply, “But won’t that cause them not to like Bible reading and choose not to do it when they are adults?” Hopefully not. It hasn’t been the case with our children. Our goal in feeding our children healthy food when they are children is that they will develop a taste for the healthy food and choose it when they are making their own food decisions.
Since we know that healthy food isn’t as enticing to the taste buds as junk food, we will also be educating our children about the benefits of the healthy food versus unhealthy food. Similarly, we will be teaching our children how to have a Bible time where they are learning and growing spiritually and also sharing with them about those benefits. We will be talking to them and warning them of the pull of the flesh and how that will want to rob them of their spiritual nourishment.
In our home, we didn’t have to mandate daily Bible time. Instead we simply incorporated it into our schedule. It was what we did at the specified time. It was a positive part of our days, so much so, that our younger children were eager for the day when they could read on their own and then get up early enough for personal Bible time like Dad and Mom and their big brothers and sisters.
Fast forward, and we are delighted to see our three married children continue their habit of daily, personal Bible time. The benefits in their lives have drawn them to continue it now that they have families of their own. As a bonus, they are teaching their children (our grandchildren) to have personal, daily Bible time. It’s very exciting for us to see the power of the Word go from our lives to our children’s lives to our grandchildren’s lives.
So back to our opening question. Yes, absolutely, we think it is important to teach children to read their Bibles every day—not that it is an item on a checklist to be marked off. That benefits no one. But rather, it is our daily spiritual bread, the nourishment for our souls—helping us know and discern God’s will, filling us with the fruit of the Spirit, giving us all things that pertain to life and godliness. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Who wouldn’t want that?