One of my favorite things to do is read Bible Stories with my kids.
I grew up going to church, but Bible reading didn’t really happen at home. I loved the flannel-graph stories that my Sunday school teacher told, but these stories were usually theme-based and told out of order. As an adult, when I started taking Bible college classes I realized I couldn’t tell you if Abraham lived before David or if Jesus lived before or after Saul. I honestly didn’t have any clue!
Even more importantly I didn’t truly understand how those stories applied to my life. Yet as parents, we can help our kids see themselves in Bible Stories. We can help them to understand that the lessons aren’t just about people long ago, but they also apply to us today. Here’s how:
1. Ask kids what they thought about the story.
What stands out to them? Remind your child that unlike a lot of storybooks these stories are real. They happened to people a long time ago. Then ask, “What do you think this Biblical character thought about this event?” Help your child try to picture himself or herself in that person’s place.
2. Act out the Bible story.
Our family leads a children’s church where we act out Bible stories, and often we like to do this with our kids at home too. When a child pretends to be Moses with an Egyptian army in pursuit and the Red Sea in front of them, then it helps kids understand the worries and fears the people must have had.
3. Point out Biblical characters’ emotions such as fear, anger, joy, and sadness.
Help your child to see that everyone has emotions. Even Jesus got angry sometimes, such as when he flipped over the tables of the moneychangers at the temple, showing that God’s house was a house of prayer not buying and selling. Emotions aren’t bad, it’s what we do with them that’s bad. Jesus’ anger showed he was protecting his father’s house. When a child can see a Biblical character’s emotions the child will be able to understand themselves and their own emotions better.
4. Highlight Biblical characters who learned to depend on God.
If there’s one thing about being human it’s that we all need help. We all need to turn to God to be with us in our struggles. Show your kids the needs of biblical people and how they did, or didn’t, turn to God. Let children know how they can turn to God for help even during hard times, too.
One of our favorite Bible storybooks is Read and Share 5-Minute Bible stories. Five-minute Bible stories will help little ones understand God’s love. Read these stories often and allow your kids to see themselves, their emotions, and their needs within the biblical characters, and it’s amazing how their faith will grow!