Feeling stuck on how to get your kids to read the Bible more? Join host Jerrad Lopes as he shares how dads can help their children read the Bible more, based on their specific age.
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HELPING YOUR KIDS READ THE BIBLE MORE
Jerrad: When I was in 6th grade I grew up going to this small church in Northern California little town called Lodi kind of sandwiched in between Sacramento and Stockton and believe it or not there are Christians in California sometimes when I speak especially when I go speak in the Bible Belt and I tell them I'm from California and that I moved from California to Portland they're just like what there's no possible way [2:08] that you could be a Christian I thought there were no Christians out there there are Christians and believe it or not God is moving all over the country and world and sometimes in the darkest places where we think that God is not moving because we hear things on the news or because we have our preconceived ideas about a certain location the reality is man God loves to invade dark areas of the country of communities and of your heart so yeah be encouraged by that so I grew up in this little town called Lodi California and I went to this church called Bethel Open Bible Church shout [2:40] out to that little church I don't know how they're doing I pray that they are doing well and that it’s healthy and thriving but I went to that little church and when I was in sixth grade they had this program called cross-training and the pastor was so cool man this pastor had such an impact on me I don't think he knew he had an impact on me I would have very short conversations with him I looked up to him a ton and so after I was a weird kid I would like sit in the front row of church and I’d watch him and I’d tell my mom I want to like get the same outfit he was like 70 I don't know how old he was but you know I'm a little kid and he's an older man and and I wanted to dress like him and act like him I just I really looked up to this guy [3:19] so I don't know how those penny loafers looked at in fourth grade 6th grade or whatever I don't know if he were penny loafers that's beside the point the point is I would talk to him after church on Sundays and he would always just give me like these one little piece of nugget of advice you know one little nugget of wisdom I don't know if I could consider him a mentor we didn’t I don't remember ever really spending a bunch of one-on-one time with him but he would take the time to kind of give me one little piece of advise her or one nugget of wisdom after church on Sunday and one of the programs that he had at the church was called cross-training and he did this for 6th graders and there was a small man there was probably 10 of us 12 of us I have a terrible memory but [4:00] it wasn't a big group and so every time you entered into 6th grade at the beginning of the year he would do this thing called cross-training hed tell the whole church about it and it was basically you had to memorize a bunch of verses I can't remember exactly how many I want to say 60 plus verses but I'm not totally sure it was a lot of them a lot of versus I've talked about this before I think I’ve brought this up in years ago in a podcast and some one of you guys reached out to me and asked if I had those I don't unfortunately I don't know all the verses I don't have a list of them but anyway so I was going through in sixth grade and I was going through like learning these verses [4:36] and the prize was the way that he set this up was if you could memorize all these verses throughout the year at the end of the year if you could say them by memory to a teacher one of the teachers in your Sunday school teacher at at the church if you could say it to her then and you can say it all by memory then they would actually give you a free pair of shoes he would take you to the mall and you got to pick out a pair of shoes which for a kid back then dude especially me I didn't grow up with any money my family it didn't have money and so a new pair of shoes that you could just go to the mall and pick out this was a big there was no such thing as like Amazon or online stores or anything like that so having the ability to go to the mall and to pick out any pair of shoes you wanted was like a that was a big deal so really cool way for this pastor to get young kids going into there I'm sure he had a lot of strategy behind it when I was a young kid I didn't think through all this stuff but the thought that it was sixth grade like right as you're entering into Middle School some of the hardest years of your life he is trying to train kids to memorize the word of God and I just thought that was so cool so I ended up doing it memorized these with a group of other kids a bunch of us did it and we said these verses by memory [5:46] and we got a pair of shoes that I wish I would have had a picture or remembered what shoes I got probably some basketball shoes or something but the point is those verses that I took the time to memorize throughout the year those I can still say majority of those by memory they have stuck deep into my heart when I think about that I think about one time I can't remember if we had somebody on the podcast it's been years now I told you I have a bad memory so I can't remember if this was a guy that we had on the podcast or if I just heard this somewhere else but I remember hearing a story where somebody was arrested in the Middle East we had somebody on our podcast talk about this he was arrested in Iran for sharing the gospel and he was in prison for a long time he was actually an American citizen so I can’t remember if it was him or somebody else but somebody said that they one of the most profound experiences they had is that they had memorized the word of God because when they were in prison they didn't have access to a Bible and this was overseas and I was trying to think like do we have Bibles in American prisons I don't know I've never been I guess that's not something I want to know but I assume you can get a Bible in prison in america if you been to prison hit me up let me let me know but anyway in the Middle East they don't give you a Bible if you are in prison and so this person was saying you know they had memorized the word of God it was deep in her heart and that was the only time they could hear from the Lord [7:05] was the scripture that they memorized and so as they're in prison they're reflecting back and meditating on the word of God even though they don't have the word of God in front of them and so I was thinking about that and about how even as a kid in sixth grade I'm learning all these scriptures and as I'm going out and into middle school and then eventually the high school into the real word real world I don't have a Bible with me at all times when I had the word of God like implanted deep in my heart and as things come up which they will because this is real life man and stuff happens and hard things happen and you get angry and you're tempted you have all the stuff going on and you don't just you cant at all times just whip out your Bible but you do and I think this is what the writers of the scripture say and what they mean by meditating on the word of God having it planted deep into your heart you also have to think back in the day when Bible was written there was a mass printing [7:56] everybody wasn't walking around with massive Scrolls reading the scriptures you had to memorize it you had to hear the stories of God the scriptures the word of God and to memorize it and hide it deep within your heart and I think there's some advantage to that of actually memorizing the word of God because there are going to be things that happen in your life and you will either attack those things you will either have faced those things with your own conventional wisdom the wisdom of the world somebody else's advice or with the word of God and so I just think there's something really beautiful and something really important about memorizing the scripture and hiding it deep within your heart now I would guess I would just ask you right now like how many how much of the Bible do you have memorized a lot of us think about you know am I reading the Bible regularly am I studying the Bible is this a discipline that I'm I'm getting better at or trying to get better at [8:47] but I guess I guess I would just ask you how much of it do you have memorized if I were to ask you right now to like quote some scriptures and listen I've told you now 3 times in this episode I have a terrible memory its hard for me but it's possible dude you can memorize songs and lines I could probably quote you the whole movie of Dumb and Dumber right so yeah know there are things that stick if you try hard enough and if you work at it enough and so I guess it's a challenge to me and I would challenge you how much of the Bible do you have memorized and how much of it can you say off the top of your head I want to talk a little bit about what it looks like for us to teach our kids how to read the Bible for them to become lovers of God's word but before we do that I want to just first why is the Bible so important here's a couple things the first thing is if we don't learn who God is in the scripture the Bible is not about you you've heard that you know that you for the analogy if you grew up in church I remember this in the church world they would say b i b l e you know the Bible that stands for basic instructions before leaving Earth which is basically I've heard people say this is owner's manual this is the instruction manual which is fine you know those are kind of cute pithy little phrases but sometimes what happens when you talk like that is [9:58] you start to make the Bible become about you and you read the Bible through the lens of you are the main character of the story and the Bible is an instruction manual to help you become your best and that's not it dude that's not what the Bible is about the Bible from the very first pages has all the way through to the very last pages the Bible is the story of God the story of Jesus and God's grace and Redemption of the world but he is the main character of the story you even think about people who are heroes the giants of the faith the ones who you know had major chunks of the scripture written about them the truth is they live and they die and the Bible keeps going on because the Bible is not about them it's not about David and Goliath it's not about Moses it's not about Noah it's not about Jacob or Daniel or Elijah it's not about any of these people the Bible is about God and so when their life ends literally the story just keeps moving on and so we can't think that the Bible is all about us like we can just pop open the scripture and we read how do we have a better life the truth is the Bible is about God and it tells us who God is and what his reputation is like and that's how we should approach the Bible the scriptures when we read the Bible who is this God what is he like what's his character like what's his reputation because if we don't if we don't learn who God is [11:17] we will make up who we want him to be so want you to like hear that one more time let that sit you're mowing the lawn you’re driving the car you’re in traffic right now whatever you’re doing you might have tuned out for a second so let me just bring you back so you can hear that if you don't learn who God is specifically through his word you will make up who you want him to be and dude I don't care how mature you are in your faith how long you been doing this whole church thing or Christianity thing do not convince yourself that you are not susceptible to that lie or to that truth the truth is if you don't study God's word and learn who he is and what his character and reputation is like you will make up who you want him to be and he will start to sound God will start to sound a lot like you you will be able to justify your sins you will be able to start to convince yourself that you were right everybody else is wrong because God looks a lot like you he votes like you he thinks like you he likes the people you like he doesn't like the people you don't like he's mad at your enemies in the same way that you're mad at your enemies [12:24] and so the truth is man we just need to go back to the word who is this guy that we're trying to follow what's he like I want to be more like Christ well what's Christ like I don't know really until I read the word and often times even now decades into my faith journey I will read the scriptures and continually be confronted with oh man the words of Jesus the message of Jesus the call of Jesus is harder than I thought it was or that I want to face he is even deeper he is even more complex and he's even more challenging than I was imagining him to be when I wasn't actually reading his words and seeing what his reputation is like that's pretty much without fail every time I read the scripture so if we don't read the Bible we don't learn who God is and then we end up making them out to be who we want him to be I really believe there is a spiritual battle when it comes to reading the scripture you guys know me I don't want to like overhype things or over I don't want to say things to be over dramatic overly spiritual and I also don't want to underplay it and I don't want to under spiritualize things but there just seems to be some kind of spiritual battle that's happening when it comes to reading the scriptures I can sit down with all the intention to read the Bible and then I'll find 15 other things that I could spend my time with 14 of them [13:46] are completely pointless and make no sense for the kingdom of God I just feel like there's one thing about trying to get into workout habit or a better diet habit and all that but there's something deeper happening when it comes to people trying to get into the word of God and to sit down and read the word of God I don’t know man again I don't want to over spiritualize it but I don't want to under spiritualize it either I do think there's something deeper happening and stopping and I think that it's true you read verses like Hebrews 4 verse 12 it says this “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow; and discerning the thoughts and the intentions of the heart.” [14:29] that's true dude I can read a lot of books I can learn a lot of information I can list a lot of podcasts about cool things and interesting facts but the scriptures are going to discern my thoughts in the intentions of my heart it's going to pierce my soul and so I'm not sure if I'm totally honest I'm ready for that in many ways it's like counseling well it is because you're going to the great counselor as the scriptures call the Holy Spirit you're going to the one who knows you fully and so the scriptures as even 2nd Timothy 3:16 Says might reveal something in you I'll just read that verse “All scripture is god-breathed or is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching for reproof for correction for training and righteousness that the man of God may be competent equipped for every good work” when you sit down it's going to reveal things in you it's going to bring up things in your soul that you didn't know were there it's going to convict you and challenge you it's going to to teach you and correct you [15:31] and train you but dude how many of us long to be righteous and competent men that's what the end of the verse says it's good all scripture is breathed out by God and is useful for training in righteousness that the man of God may be competent equipped for every good work dude how many of us long to be righteous competent men do you feel like a righteous man do you feel like a competent man when it comes to spiritual leadership if you don't maybe we need to spend more time in the word of God because it is breathed out by God and it is useful it's profitable for teaching for correction for training us in righteousness this is Jerrad’s verse helping us become competent men to be equipped for every good work that God has called us to do and so I do think there is some kind of hesitation for a lot of us to get into the word because it's deeper than just getting more knowledge some of us approach the scriptures well what's the say in Greek and what's it say in Hebrew and have you read this translation you know sometimes we do that we just we stay in our head but the truth is dude you read the scripture long enough the Holy Spirit is active it's breathe out by God and he's probably going to start piercing your spirit your soul he's going to start this turning your thoughts and your intentions and it's hard to sit down and do that [16:47] but we have to remember God is a good God he’s a gracious God he is training us for righteousness sake that we become competent men able to do the work that God has called us to do you think about Psalm 119 verse 105 which says “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" dude how many of you are wondering where is God calling me how many of you right now feel like I don't know what am I in the spot where I'm supposed to be in life like am I doing the stuff that God wants me to do am I even like living out the life that God would want me to live out right now what are the next steps for my life Bible says the word is a lamp unto your feet a light unto your path if you’re confused you feel like you're walking in darkness and you’re not sure where to go [17:34] maybe we open up the scriptures God reveal to me who you are who you are calling me to be train me in righteousness God this is your story what part do you want me to play in your grand story of redemption God light my path maybe that's a prayer you need prayer right now God I want to study your word I want your word to be a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path God give me clarity where there's darkness think about verses like Isaiah 40 verse 8 that says the “Grass withers and the flowers fade but the word of God will stand forever.” dude how good news is that man I was watching the news the other day I get sucked into the news man I was telling my brother-in-law this the other day I’m having a really hard time balancing if been completely ignorant just putting my head in the sand and not knowing anything because the truth is if I just go live right now life and I listen to no news whatsoever don't listen to podcasts don't read any news articles don't watch any news and it just interact with my neighbors in a grocery store for the most part I can keep my head in the sand although that's getting harder and harder because the reality is it's affecting our world on a pretty daily basis really practically but I'm wrestling with do I just put my head in the sand to be completely ignorant or do I watch the news and try to stay up to date with all the craziness that's happening in our world [18:55] and it's really hard for me but I was watching the news the other day and I'm trying to like stay up to date on things that are happening but you know that I can get addictive and you're like you're watching this and you're trying you forming opinions I'm watching this and I'm realizing how many things come and go like some story that I was like super interested in last week is gone like just flew out of the media nobody's even talking about it anymore it seemed like I'm the biggest thing last week now we're not even talking about how true is that every week there's a new headline there's a new thing there's a new hashtag movement and everything's always coming and going and so I was watching the news and I was thinking about and all these things come and go but the word of God it doesn't fade it stands forever the grass withers the flowers fade the news headlines come and go but the word of God stands forever you know what's crazy is Amazon and literally canceling books they're removing certain books off of their platform if they don't agree if they're misinformation or whatever some craziness they’ll just take people's books which is insane I don’t want to get into that but it's insane that they're doing that so they’ll take people's books down if they don't agree with them but you know what book continues to be on the top sellers list for now the Bible still if you go to like the top 100 books right now [20:11] you're going to see the Bible on there people are still reading the Bible and that's been true for decades and generations like hundreds of years now the Bible continues to sell because it doesn't fade dude the truths of the word of God do not fade what God is breathing out is still useful for teaching and correcting and training men and women and righteousness for every good work and making is competent for the work of God and revealing to us who this God is it’s still a best-seller so even though news headlines come and go you know things come and go articles come and go like hashtags come and go to the word of God does not go let me give you two more verses and then I’m going to talk about specifically what is it look like to lead our kids into reading the scripture Psalm 119 verse 9 says “How can a young man keep his way pure by guarding it according to your word” dude if you're struggling with purity get into the word of God John 8 31and 32 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him if you abide in my word you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” man if you are looking for freedom if you're looking for truth in the midst of a world that is offering all kinds of crazy and disheveled and contradictory information if you are longing to be a true disciple of Jesus abide in the word of God so what does it look like to teach our kids to get into the word of God it's hard for us to be in the word of God sometimes it feels even harder for us to get our kids in the word of God [21:42] I learned this principle through Phil and Diane Comer who wrote a book called raising passionate Jesus followers and Phil's been on the podcast before his son John Mark Comer who you've probably heard that name before he's here in Portland he's been on the podcast a few times that here on the DadTired podcast and so I learned from Phil and Diane Comer they have a parenting conference that I went to and they talked about getting your kids in the word of God and they broke it up into three sections I thought was really helpful so section one for your kids and you think through ages zero to 7 ish years old there's no magic formula here it's all kind of based on principle but ages zero to 7 years old you think about what does it look like to read the word to them okay so your kids you know your 4 year olds not going to sit down and read the Bible most likely maybe some 4 year olds are but most of them aren't going to sit down and read the Bible so what does it look like to get your kids in the word when they're 0 to 7 ish years old while you're reading the Bible to them for us it was the Jesus storybook Bible some of the scriptures you read to a four-year-old straight out of the Bible it's hard it doesn't make sense you know majority of it would be really confusing for a young child to read let's just be honest okay so there's a beautiful book probably the book I recommend the most for young kids is we give it away as gifts anytime somebody has a baby we give them this book for our friends but it's called the Jesus storybook Bible wonderfully done it makes sure that Jesus is the center of all the stories and you're starting to introduce the scriptures the stories of God the retelling of the Bible to your kids you’re starting to introduce them to the scriptures and to what you with the point of the scriptures is and that’s Jesus so if you have young kids 0 to 7 years old ish I would read them the Jesus storybook Bible that's how I would get started in introducing them to the scripture so you can just think first section is reading the Bible to them 7 years old to 11 ish years old again every kids different their maturity levels different but just kind of generally if you think 7 to 11 ish years old you want to read the Bible with them so early years you're reading the Bible to them as they're growing up a little bit they start to learn how to read now you're reading the Bible with them [23:54] there’s two good resources that I really like as kids start to learn how to read they can also read the Jesus storybook Bible that's great get them to start to read it now you're not just reading it to them but you're reading it with them you're helping them learn how to read maybe you're listening to them read it as you sit there so you can have them read the Jesus storybook Bible but as they get a little bit older The Action Bible is a really cool Bible it's kind of broken up into comic book form so it looks like a comic book you know a lot of kids like this maybe around fourth fifth sixth grade we’ll start to read this there's also another great company we've had them as a podcast sponsor in the past Kaleidoscope I'll put all of these resources in the show notes for you so that you don't have to try to memorize it and you can just click it but Kaleidoscope they are essentially a cross between a children's story Bible and adult translations it reads more like a book but it's telling the stories of God and so again it's not adult translations yet but it's not as young as like the children's storybook Bible so Kaleidoscope Bible stories they have a book for all the books of the Bible or they're working towards I think getting a book for all the books of the Bible and so that's a really great way for 7 to 11 ish years old so again young ones you're reading the Bible to them 7 to 11 ish you read in the Bible with them [25:09] and then 11 ish to adulthood into young adulthood you’re reading the Bible near them meaning they should be reading the Bible on their own they should be getting more and more comfortable if you been doing this teaching them how to read the scriptures on their own but you're still near them because they're going to have questions they're going to want to talk through things they’re going to want to wrestle through things just like you would as you read the scriptures and so be near them they might be reading in the room or in the kitchen while you're on the couch on the couch or in the kitchen cooking or whatever but you're near them you're making sure that you're you're with them as their processing what the Holy Spirit is trying to reveal in them in their own training of righteousness [25:46] that I would recommend the ESV Version which is my favorite version of the scriptures the English Standard Version there is some that maybe you know I'm not a version snob you know just read the scriptures I really like the English Standard Version it's what I teach from its what I study from but they make a children's Bible it's really cool I got my son one when he turned 9 and it is a full Bible it's an adult translation but they just have good like explainer stuff in there from time to time throughout the scriptures a couple pictures and things like that so ESV children's Bible it's a great kind of first big kid Bible for your kids and then also the Bible app or bible.com have great reading plans for preteens and teenagers they can actually go through reading plans that are written specifically for younger as kind of the pre-teen teenage years so hopefully those resources help here's the thing man it would be foolish of us and we know this to try to get our kids to read the scriptures if we're not in it too if we’re not reading the scriptures ourselves if we want our kids to be lovers of God's word we also have to be men who are lovers of God's word that's just the truth they will discern that real quick there's no way you’re going to get your kids to sit down and read the scriptures if you're not sitting down and reading the scriptures and so my challenge to you if you're not currently spending time in God's word every day I want you to seriously consider starting today and so I put together a 31 Day Bible reading plan we actually use this for our family leadership program this is what we have a couple reading plans in there but one of these I’ve put together for free for you guys [27:23] you can get it by going to dadtired.com/bible and what it will do as we will take you through the Book of Luke and through the Book of Proverbs in the next 31 days and so what I've been doing as I've been waking up and I've been reading the Bible in the mornings and I've been having my son join me so he's at that stage where he's reading with me he's old enough that he's reading with me and so they know that when they wake up that kind of have a morning routine of their own they wake up they brush their teeth they unload the dishwasher they get some math homework done and then now what we’ve added is you sit down with daddy and you read the Bible with Daddy and so I'm going through the 31 days through Proverbs and through the Book of Luke so whenever you start this it doesn't matter if you're listening to this podcast 10 years from now or you listening to it the day that it was released I want you to consider downloading that plan right now and reading through the 31 days through Luke and through Proverbs get back into the word of God let it train you for righteousness to help you become a competent man for whatever God has called for you and if you been listening to last couple weeks episodes you know God is calling us to some big things and so we need to be in the word of God men who love the word of God and love to be shaped by the word of God so that it trains us to become the men of God that he's calling us to be [28:37] and so I want you to consider downloading dadtired.com/bible and get that reading plan and then if you would if you have kids who are in that stage maybe read the Bible with them or at the very least whatever you’re learning take some notes and you know just write down one or two sentences at the end of the reading and just say hey man I feel like God might be speaking this to me and then at dinner that night just share it like hey you guys are read the Bible this morning I feel like this is what God was speaking to me what do you think super easy and cool way for you to start to be the spiritual leader of your home to invite your wife and your kids into the journey that God has for you as a man of God and training you so dadtired.com/bible I hope that's helpful zero to seven ish you’re reading the Bible to them 7 to 11 ish you're in the Bible with them 11 ish to adulthood you're reading the Bible near them and you yourself are becoming a man of God who reads and loves the word of God as you want your kids to do the same I love you guys continue to be excited about what God has for us I'll see you next week bye [29:37] hey guys hope you enjoy today's episode just as a reminder we have a lot of conferences and events coming up specifically a dad camp in Texas coming up in September I would love to have you guys join me at that if you go to dadtired.com and click the conferences tab you can see all the upcoming conferences and events that we have coming to your area so make sure you check that out again would love to have you join us at the dad camp in September and Texas go to dadtired.com click the conference's top I love you guys see next week [30:04]