When people are willing to study the Bible, they can do great things for God. Such was the case for a young man who accepted Jesus as his Savior during the late 1880s. Moved by the Holy Spirit, He wanted to learn the Bible, but when the minister stood up and said, "Turn to 2 Timothy 2:12," he couldn't find it. Thumbing through the Bible, he finally looked in the table of contents for the page, but by that time, the pastor was already talking about something else. Embarrassed, unhappy, and frustrated, the young man developed a fiery passion to learn God's Word. Because he was willing to seriously study the Bible and obey its truths, he became a famous preacher who led millions to Jesus Christ. That young man was Dwight L. Moody.
Although family devotions are an important aspect of homeschooling, are your children also learning how to study God's Word on their own? According to Switched-On Schoolhouse® 4th Grade Bible and the LIFEPAC® 4th Grade Bible Unit 4 Worktext from Alpha Omega Publications®, the best way for a child to learn how to study the Scriptures includes the following:
Read the Bible - Observation
What does it say? Forming the habit of reading God's Word should start from a young age. Because daily Bible reading is to your child's spiritual life what daily eating is to his physical life, an organized and systematic intake will give your child the strength and wisdom he needs to grow more like Christ.
The morning is usually the best time to encourage your child to read the Bible. While his mind is fresh and alert, he can find a quiet place to be alone and digest the truths of Scripture. Sitting up at a desk free of clutter will help him concentrate better than reading while lying down on his bed. Young children should start small and read five to ten minutes, gradually increasing in time as they grow older. To help your child become accountable and more disciplined in his Bible reading, make a colorful poster graph to help him track and record the time. Use stickers, markers, or other craft supplies to track and log his progress.
Learn from the Bible - Interpretation
What does it mean? Three things your child should look for while reading the Bible are promises, commands, and principles.
Promises - There are many promises in the Bible, but your child needs to understand if the promise applies to him, a group of people like the Jews, or the future. Next, instruct your child to ask himself, "Do I have to do something to receive this promise?" Many promises have qualifying actions that involve obedience. For instance, 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Meanwhile, other promises simply come from the love of God. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourself: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).
Commands - Most children are only familiar with the Ten Commandments found in the Old Testament; however, the Bible is filled with many commands from God that tell what to do or not to do. As your child reads verses like "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right" (Ephesians 6:1) and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 19:19b), have him write down commands that will better his life if he obeys them.
Principles - The message of the Bible is timeless because its truths apply to all mankind. Principles are the truths from Scripture that help your child find his way in life. When a principle gets into your child's mind, he'll learn how to make wise decisions. Jesus said, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:17).
Think about the Bible - Application
What is God saying to me? Sometimes children have the misconception that the Bible was written just for adults, but nothing could be further from the truth! Although there are concepts a young homeschooler can't grasp, there are far more he can discern with God's help. Show him how to apply the following:
• Start each Bible study with prayer, asking the Father to keep him alert as he reads.
• Read expecting to learn something new from God.
• Keep a pencil and paper handy to write what he has learned.
• Highlight passages that are important to him. Mark portions giving a promise in blue, commands in red, and verses with principles in green.
• Memorize favorite verses to help him find victory over sin.
- 1. Copy the verse on a card.
- 2. Read each sentence or phrase saying the reference before and after.
- 3. Say the verse aloud from memory.
- 4. Tell the verse to someone else.
- 5. Re-study the verse later.
What about you? As a Christian homeschool parent, what methods have you successfully used to help your homeschooler study the Bible? Share your comments below.