Breaking in your Bible:

IMG_20131023_184011_741During the fall months, many congregations present Bibles to children. Here is an article I wrote for our church about helping our kids learn Bible skills.

I have to admit, I am always curious when I go to a Bible study and I see someone with a well-loved Bible. Where did it come from? What do they write in the margins? How long have they had it? In honor of our upcoming Bible presentation, I am offering a few “tips and tricks” to break in those brand new Bibles:

  1. Help your child learn to navigate the Bible: Remind them that the Bible is really a collection of 66 books.  Practice finding our Bible readings from Sunday school or worship. Here is a neat trick if you want to find Psalms: Open your Bible right to the middle.
  2. Don’t start at the beginning:  How many of us have reached for the Bible with the intention of reading it all the way through only to fizzle out before the end of Genesis? Encourage kids to start with one of the gospels, like John, who emphasizes the love of God.
  3. Make your Bible your own: Provide at least one Bible that your child knows they can write in.  In Sunday school, we use stickers to mark things we have read, things that make us wonder, things we like, and things we don’t like.  Highlight verses that have been read or memorized. Consider putting a sticky note or tab to mark the beginning of the New Testament.
  4. Use the digital Bible:  There is nothing like a paper Bible, but we live in a world where we can access the Bible online or through an app 24/7. is just one of many sites that allow us to search for key passages and look at multiple translations quickly.
  5. Make Bible reading a family activity: Incorporate reading into dinner time prayer, bedtime or other family moments.  If you need a place to get started, the UMC offers daily devotionals through the Upper Room, Pockets, Devozine and its own mobile app called “UMC.” Think about asking family members near and far share their favorite Bible verses. Mark those in your Bible, too! What a treasure it would be to have a Bible marked with verses loved by grandparents, Godparents, aunt and uncles.
  6. Want a challenge? Memorize the books of the Bible: Music is a great way to become familiar with the books of the Old and New Testament (besides, pronouncing Zephaniah and Haggai is pretty fun). Below is a link to a YouTube playlist of songs I thought were catchy (I can’t vouch for any of the other work by the same artists, but these videos were all screened by me).

Make sure to supervise kids while they are using YouTube and consider turning on “safety mode” to help screen inappropriate content and comments.

Now, let’s go break  those Bibles in!

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