How to Have a Family Bible Study That Draws the Kids Closer to God
Beginning a family bible study is one of the best and simplest ways you can grow your children’s faith and biblical knowledge. With all the fantastic bible resources available these, diving into the living word of God with a family bible study has never been easier.
When your children see you in the word, experience you bringing them into the word, and caring about what the words in the Bible mean for your lives, they are drawn closer to God and tethered more tightly to their parents.
A family bible study benefits your children, yourself, and the family as a whole unit!
Family Bible Study Tools You’ll Need
*authors note: many of the tools listed below perform similar functions. I have only listed the functions that I prefer to use each tool for. You should feel free to explore the fullness of their capabilities and use them how you like.
Family Bible Study Tool #1. A Study Bible.
One of the most straightforward and low-cost ways to do a family bible study is with a study bible like this. These study bibles are full of commentary and context and priced reasonably.
The study bible is laid out with the actual Bible printed on the top half of the pages and commentary on the bottom. The commentary provides context on the author of the piece of scripture you’re reading, culture during that history of time, and more.
You can do an intriguing and fun family bible study with a study bible alone.
If you’re anything like me, though, you love learning what the meaning of a word was in the original Hebrew and subsequent Greek.
Family Bible Study Tool #2. Translator.
For translating words, the website biblestudytools.com is a fantastic source.
To use Bible Study Tools, choose a verse you’d like to study and enter it in at the top, as seen here.
Find the word in the verse you’d like to know more about on the next page load.
The next page you see will show you the word’s meaning on the right, and where else in the Bible you can find the same word used in other verses. It helps to understand the purpose of a word when you see it used in other passages.
Family Bible Study Tool #3. Keyword Search.
My favorite tool for looking up a specific subject, topic, or keyword in scripture is biblegateway.com
The interface and layout are easy to read, has a great flow, and makes keyword searching simple.
In the image below, I did a keyword search for the word obedience. You can see it gave me an extensive list of scriptures that contain that word.
Now that you have a few good tools in your belt let’s start studying the Bible as a family!
Family Bible Study Step by Step
Step 1. Choose a book or topic.
The Bible is so full and rich; it’s hard to go wrong, no matter what you decide to study. The important thing is that you pick a topic and study it until you are confident in your knowledge of it.
My preferred places of recommendation for family bible study are Genesis, Matthew, Acts, Romans, Proverbs, and Psalms.
Children NEED a firm grasp on apologetics. They will be challenged their entire lives on the validity of creation. Studying the book of Genesis is a favorite in our home, and I am always willing to go back and study it again and again. Creation is the beginning, and our families must have a solid understanding of how it all began and the truth of where we came from.
Matthew is the first book in the New Testament and a great place to study for people new to the Bible or those wanting an introduction to Jesus. In Matthew, you’ll find the story of the virgin birth, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
The book of Acts is about the early church. These people are the first to carry all Jesus had done to the world after His ascension. Acts provides us with A LOT of information on how to live our lives as disciples of Christ. It’s a great book to study, though I would strongly recommend using a study bible for this book.
I love the book of Romans. A lot of people do. You may hear people studying Romans refer to themselves as being on Romans road. Romans focuses on obedience and faith. Perhaps this gives a clue into why I like it so much. It’s applicable and instructive!
Ah, the Book of Proverbs. Yet another that I love dearly! The book of Proverbs, in a word, is the authority on wisdom. The Proverbs make a great study because every single thing you’ll learn can be applied to your life and will provide tremendous benefit and value. In fact, if we all lived our lives committed to walking out every Proverb, I’m certain we’d all be far better off!
The Book of Psalms is much like a beautiful Hymnal. Psalms was written by various authors, one of which being King David. In Acts 13:22, God calls David “a man after my own heart” It’s no surprise that David sang praise to God often. Studying the book of Psalms is a great way to practice a spirit of worship and praise in your home.
Alternately from choosing to study a book of the Bible, you can choose to study a topic. Creation, Obedience, Joy, Servanthood, Leadership, Tithing, and much more can be the focal point for a family bible study.
When choosing a topical family bible study vs. studying a book of the Bible, I recommend using the website tools listed above.
To study a topic: do a keyword search for your selected topic using biblegateway.com, write down 4 or 5 of the passages recommended, then study each of them in your study bible to achieve an understanding on the topic.
Be sure to consider your child’s age when selecting a book or topic. The Bible is as raw and real as life gets. It’s full of war, death, and the purest form of beauty. Tender hearts need to be introduced to things gently. Likewise, budding teens are ready to understand the fullness of creation history.
Step 2. Decide how much time you can invest.
A family bible study will require clearing some time in the family’s schedule. This does NOT have to be an exhaustive endeavor! Studying the Bible as a family for 15 minutes once a week is a great place to start if time is limited.
As you begin to study, you’ll likely find that everyone enjoys it so much, you’ll begin looking for more places in the schedule to carve out time for study.
Family bible study can happen once a week, a few times a week, or every day. If you choose to study the Bible as a family every day, keep the studies brief and engaging. Keep in mind the ages of your children. Young children will get the most out of short studies. Older children have homework and extracurricular activities, so be mindful.
It’s better to set yourself up for success with a family bible study time that is easily doable and work up to more than to bite off more than you can chew.
Step 3. Choose a bible version that you enjoy and can understand.
My teenage son likes to read The King James Version bible. I, myself, prefer English Standard Version. When we study together, we typically use ESV for the sake of the younger children. Then he can go back and read more in KJV if he wants.
Any is fine. What’s important is that it makes sense to you.
Step 4. The author, context, and words are important.
When studying the Bible, the three most important elements to understand are the historical and cultural context the book/passage was written in, the personal story and history of the author who wrote it, and the original Hebrew/Greek meaning of the words.
This is where study bibles do a great job. They are typically full of contextual information about the author of the book you are studying and the cultural relevance in that period of history. From there, you can hop over to biblestudytools.com to find Greek translations for a full understanding of a word used.
Step 5. Family Bible Study Time!
Now that you have all the tools you need, you’ve selected a book or topic to study, chosen a day and time that works, selected a bible version and briefly familiarized yourself with the author and historical context, you can start your family bible study!
Find somewhere cozy for the family to gather. Read the passage(s) you’ll be studying, then open the room for discussion.
Studying the Bible as a family is a GREAT way to open the lines of communication between children and parents on matters of faith.
Your child can only adopt your faith for a little while. At some point, he has to grasp it as his own faith. When that time comes, he needs to be invested.
Allow your child to ask questions. Use the study bible and resources as much as possible, but also know that it’s OK not to have an answer for everything.
The Bible is full of mystery. A significant component of faith is trusting in and believing in that we cannot always see and touch.
Share what the Bible states as fact. Share your thoughts and opinions. And most importantly, just keep the dialogue rolling.
Allow everyone an opportunity to share their thoughts, ask their questions, and ponder what you’ve studied.
Step 6. Pray that it sticks – literally!
End your family bible study time with prayer. Ask God to bury the truth of what you’ve read deep in the hearts of all who were present.
My favorite verse to pray over my children concerning grasping scripture as truth is Proverbs 9:10.
I petition God to teach my children to revere Him that they may have abundant wisdom, both for things of this earth, and most of all, for the things of God!!!
The Most Important Part of Your Family Bible Study
At Mama Duck Parenting, I place a massive emphasis on the relationship between parent and child. Parents have two primary tools at their disposal for parenting. #1 is authority and #2 is relationship.
The connection (relationship) you have with your child is the only tool that will allow you to speak into your child’s life with any amount of influence.
You can teach and teach and teach the Bible, but if you do not have a solid and meaningful connection (relationship) with your child, it won’t produce the same results!
Lastly, the most important part of your family bible study is the time you are investing with your child. I want to encourage you to make the focus of these studies more about the time you’re spending together and less about perfect scriptural analysis.
Your child needs to see the love of God reflected in the way you love him. That is indeed the first glimpse our children get at what a loving God looks like.
Little else has as significant an impact on the success of their lives than how a child is parented.
These family bible studies are an element of the relationship tool. Use it well and use it often!