“From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:15-16, NIV)
In this passage, Paul is reminding his right hand man, Timothy, how knowing the Holy Scriptures were invaluable and helped him to put his faith in Jesus Christ. From his earliest years–infancy, or childhood in other translations–Timothy was taught the word of God. At the beginning of the letter, Paul mentions the sincere faith of Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice, and which now also lives in him (2 Timothy 1:5). No doubt his grandmother and mother were the ones who read the Scriptures to him. It produced faith in Timothy.
What about our children? Does reading the Scriptures to them have the same effect? Absolutely yes! “All Scripture is God-breathed” or inspired by God. It is from God and it has power. It is the truth and it forms our thinking, inspires our faith and corrects our errors. It imparts life. Jesus said, “the words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). God’s very Spirit is in the Scriptures and words of Jesus to give life to those who hear and believe.
Therefore, if we want our children to have faith in our Lord Jesus, we should read the word of God to them. Every day would be best. Pick a time during the day that works for you–before breakfast, or over breakfast, lunch or dinner. Before putting them to bed may be best for you. But make it a priority! Believe that all Scripture is indeed God-breathed and of great benefit to your children.
Our children are bombarded with temptations and wrong thinking in our current society. How are they to resist and to stay on God’s path? Jesus quoted Scripture to overcome Satan’s temptations. Enticed to prove He was the Son of God by turning a stone into bread, Jesus responded by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3: “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Jesus had it memorized, and it gave him the victory in this encounter. Children are actually quite good at memorizing, and there is nothing more beneficial for them to memorize than Scripture. Moreover the word of God is food for our souls!
With our six children, I kept things simple. We picked a book of the Bible and started reading through it every morning. I read what seemed an appropriate amount for them to grasp. We then discussed it, applied it to our lives and prayed that we could put it into practice. Read, pray and obey. Then we continued on the next day with the next passage.
Once our kids had learned to read, each one was given a Bible and trained to read it on their own each morning when they got up. We instilled the habit in them, and I believe they are continuing on with it in adulthood.
Dads, I especially exhort you to take the lead in this endeavor. You are the head of the family, and your example and leadership is invaluable. You do not have to be a Bible scholar. Simply read the passage, discuss what it means and how you all can apply it, and pray a simple prayer. That’s it. The Holy Spirit can and will take it from there. God says His word does not return to Him empty, but accomplishes what He desires (Isaiah 55:11).
I believe that God desires for our children to be saved and to have faith in Jesus. Let’s be part of this process by obeying Him and reading His God-breathed life imparting Scriptures to our children. We will be glad that we did so.