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Feeding Your Children (So they can feed themselves)

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Feeding Your Children (So they can feed themselves)

A long time ago in a country across the sea, there was a land where the people were starving. The peasants had no way of getting food, and the rulers kept it all to themselves, while never eating a morsel. Then a man named William Tyndale defied the powers of the day and starting handing out food to as many people as possible.

The people of his day had no spiritual food, and the clergy would not give them any, choosing to do all spiritual activities in Latin (even they didn’t always understand it). Tyndale had a passion to put an English Bible into every home and encourage parents to read and teach their children. While talking to a church official, he said, “If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy who drives the plough to know more of the scriptures than you do." God granted his prayer, and there were many boys who knew the Scriptures, and the God of those Scriptures, better than the clergy.

Today, we have an abundance of Bibles, translations, devotionals, prayer books, etc., but the importance of feeding our children from the Word hasn’t diminished. The goal is for your children to learn how to feed themselves in their own personal study of God’s Word without neglecting other spiritual disciplines. However, resources for family worship are not one-size-fits-all nor will they be used for every age, so here are a few resources for you to consider using with your family.

The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm

Recommended: Ages 0-5

This children’s Bible quickly shows the development of the Bible Story. It's simple, uses big pictures, and has few words. It’s easy to stop to ask questions, making it great for toddlers. The stories build up to Jesus instead of alluding to Him throughout the entire book.

The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments by Marty Machowski

Recommended: Ages 4-8

           This Bible presents God’s amazing promises and explains how Jesus fulfills them all! The stories are broken into brief lessons containing Bible references, questions, and a big picture. This can be used as a storybook or for brief family devotions.  

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Recommended: Ages 4-8

The Jesus Storybook Bible is perhaps the most well-known children’s Bible; for good reason! It explains the whole story of redemption with simplicity. The biggest emphasis is God's loving plan and our need for a rescuer. The theology is great and deep: putting more emphasis on God than any of the interesting Bible characters. The stories can get a bit lengthy, so it makes for a good bedtime story Bible.

The Mighty Acts of God: A Family Bible Story Book by Starr Meade

Recommended: Families with Children

This is a family-oriented book, and is written for parents to explain how God is the hero of every story, especially in salvation. It has fewer pictures and actual Bible verses with questions. It’s worth a look if you’re considering a family devotional.

The Action Bible: God’s Redemptive Story

Recommended: Ages 8-12

           The Action Bible presents Bible stories in a dramatic comic format. The artwork grabs the attention and draws children deeper into the story and its characters. While I wouldn’t recommend this Bible for family worship, it’s a great resource to reintroduce children to familiar stories in their personal time, especially boys!

The New City Catechism:

Recommended: Ages 2-Adult; Family Worship

Like every other catechism, creed, or statement of faith the New City Catechism takes Biblical truth and presents it in an accurate, simple format for memorization. Unlike many other catechisms, the children’s version is simply shorter than the adult’s, so a family can learn the same lesson without having to change anything. The inclusion of songs, prayers, and flash cards can make this resource a great family devotional or discipleship tool.

          

Full Translations

           Once children are old enough to read, they should participate in Scripture reading. This is a step towards feeding themselves with their own personal study. However, I wouldn’t recommend handing an 8-year-old a King James Bible for devotions. Instead, take a look at the following suggestions.

Easy to Read Version:

           This is a nice Children’s Bible for beginners because of the shorter sentences and simple language. As the name implies, it’s perfect for reading verses aloud during family worship.

New Living Translation:

           We use the New Living Translation in Sunday School because it uses a simple, clear translation to explain each verse. It will take difficult words and break them down into understandable phrases.

NIV, ESV, HCSB

           Once your child has a good introduction to reading and studying the Bible, I would recommend handing them one of these translations. These are Bible I use on a regular basis. They focus on presenting God’s Word in a translation that flows easily, yet they don’t shy away from those big words like justification and propitiation.

The Bottom Line:

           Perhaps you love each resource I mentioned, or perhaps you don’t want to use any of them. That’s ok! The bottom line is: Scripture. If you’re leading your children in a time of family worship (reading, praying, and singing), you’re on the right track! If you haven’t, prayerfully consider setting aside some time and energy to lead your family into the Word. It’s what they desperately need to be a godly child and grow into a godly man or woman.