Train Up a Child to Read Scripture – Ryan Skolrud


As a parent, one of the most important things you can do is instill healthy habits into your children. Our 4 year old daughter is very much a creature of habit. Her brain wants consistency in almost all that she does.

The most obvious area that I have seen this is with her bedtime routine. Every night we have her floss and brush her teeth (then either my wife or I will go over her teeth again to make sure they ACTUALLY got clean), we put her long blonde hair into either a braid or a bun so that it won’t get extremely tangled in her sleep, then she goes to her room to put on her pajamas and “read” stories to her stuffies while I get her little sister down to sleep. If I ever miss any of those steps, she lets me know it!

Once the youngest is down, I usually come in to find her with books spread all over her bed as she tells her favorite stories to her stuffed animal or princess. We clean off her bed and pick one story for me to read to her. After that story is done, we read a story from her children’s Bible.

I do not know if she will EVER get rid of that Bible. The poor Book has been through the wringer over the last couple years as we have read from it just about every night since we got it. The back cover has fallen off. The spine is getting bent out of shape. The corner of every story has been bent down as a book mark. We have read it cover to cover at least 6 times, starting over from the beginning once we reach the end. She still wants her Bible story from THAT Bible….every night.

For her fourth birthday, my wife’s aunt sent our daughter a new Bible called The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name which I would highly recommend to anyone with children ages 4 and above. (I will try to do a review of this book soon!) We now read this Bible together as a family, usually after breakfast. If ever a day comes that I forget about reading that Bible, she makes sure to grab it and bring it to me on the couch and say, “Daddy! We haven’t read my Bible story yet today!” So, we take the time to read the next story and pray together as a family.

Reading that new Bible has not stopped her from wanting me to read her bedtime Bible story every night from her old, worn out Bible though. It is part of her routine.

It is such a blessing to me that she wants to read Scripture. As a four year old, I know that she does not grasp a lot of the bigger meanings behind many of the stories we read together, but that is where we as parents can help to guide her and train her up. You see, that whole verse in Proverbs says:

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)

Or from the Message Bible:

Point your kids in the right direction—
    when they’re old they won’t be lost.

I want my daughters to see me reading my Bible consistently, to set an example for them of our need to be in God’s Word our entire lives. There will come times where we feel lost or broken and a Scripture can come back to you and completely turn your perspective on the situation. I know that the promises of God can heal and encourage and direct us in our lives. Making sure my children are reading the Word will help to build a foundation for them to remember and trust God’s promises.

To be completely honest, I have never been all that consistent with reading my Bible until recently. My daughter’s consistency and need for routine with reading her own Bible has helped to keep me accountable to reading mine. Its a beautiful cycle. I know that I need God in my life. The best way to hear from Him and see what he wants from me in my life is to read the Word. As a husband and parent, my family depends on me to lead them. In order to do that, I need instructions. I need them daily! The Bible is where I get that instruction.

If you have young children, I would encourage you to look into getting a children’s Bible to read to your kids. Develop that habit now. The two that we currently use are The Eager Reader Bible Story Book and The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers his name. The first is great for children as young as two or three to introduce them to the stories of the Bible. There are a couple simple questions for each story to help the kids engage with the story. The second is recommended for children 4 and up as it helps to relate God’s overall plan for salvation through Christ in every story.

Do you need to get into the habit of reading your Bible yourself? Or maybe you really want to read your Bible and just don’t know when to start. There are so many tools out there to help us in our busy lives and take a few minutes and hear what God has to say to us through His Word. It can be a bit overwhelming!

As I have started to work on my consistency in reading Scripture, I am reading through the Proverbs. They are a group of short, easy to understand bits of wisdom for everyday life. Along with my Bible reading, I am working through A Year With C.S. Lewis. It has an excerpt from his writings for every day of the calendar year. Another great daily devotional is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Both of these books provide one to two paragraph readings that can be easily absorbed in 5-10 minutes.

One modern day tool is the Bible App for your smartphone by Life.Church. It is a free app and free to signup for. They have multiple FREE reading plans and devotionals. There are ones for men, women, youth, by topic, season of the year, or to go through the whole Bible. There are many different translations to choose from. Some of those translations even have audio playback so you can plug your phone into your car stereo and hear Scripture while in your car, working out, etc.

I do not believe Christians can afford to NOT be reading Scripture on a regular basis. There is so much value in seeing the heart of God through His Word. I encourage you to take the time and create the habit of reading the Bible and instill those habits in your children as well!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ama

    March 5, 2016 at 4:18 am

    When your wife was small, I would set her up with different toys she’d not seen for a while and tell her I was going to sit in the living room to hear God speak to me. She would play for a while then she’d join me, sometimes when I had just finished my Bible study, and sometimes she would come in when I’d barely started. Always she had the same question: “Has God spoken to you yet?” As much as I wanted to teach her to love God, I wanted her to also have the opportunity to catch a desire for a relationship with God from me. She’s had many other positive influencers in her walk with God. I am glad I got to be a part of that great cloud of witnesses. By you stepping up to lead your family in the love of the Lord, you are giving your girls and your wife the very best gift possible. I am so glad we were able to hand our precious first born over to a man like you.

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