Today I’m sharing with you one of my favourite ways to lead morning Bible time on weekdays. It can be thought of as a “rabbit trail” style, simply because it is an “as-we-read-through-a-passage-we-interrupt-it-to-discuss-topics-that arise” style. I like this method because it is SIMPLE, requires no effort of preparation other than what relates to what God has taught me in His Word, and it is full of meaning for teaching the Scripture to a wide-range of ages (currently 2-20 years of age). I can use this method when I am tired, when I have a child on my lap, as well as when I am energetic and ready to bounce into the day’s activities.
Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear [literally reverence] the LORD. Psalm 34:11 NLT
Here is an example from this week to explain how this works for us:
- Preparation to teach the Scriptures ALWAYS starts with knowing both the Author (God) and the passage of Scripture you will be teaching. You won’t have spiritual understanding into the Bible if you don’t personally know Christ and as a teacher, you need to first be a student of the Word of God yourself. To read more about this, please see this post here.
- Daddy had already prayed before going out to work at his job although not everyone was at breakfast by the time he left. Sometimes he also reminds us of a memory verse or similar.
- The kids and I gather in the living room for Bible time usually after breakfast and morning chores. (That means we don’t sit on laundry waiting to be folded.)
- Dandelion (his webname) wanted to learn more in the Book of Isaiah lately so we read chapter 1. Some chapters in Isaiah are longer ones so I usually split those into more than one day’s amount of reading. But chapter 1 is a nice length for my group.
- One to two children sat on my lap. I actually didn’t read anything – one of my daughters read it instead. Our children/teens often take turns reading (not a scheduled thing) once they can enjoy reading aloud a chapter (we use NIV ’84 or NKJV) smoothly and clearly/loud enough, which for our family, is around age 8 and up. (I could pass a Bible around so that the reading is shared among a few readers but usually I don’t. Rob sometimes does that though in the evenings or on weekends.)
- I interrupted her – often and on purpose. (My kids are used to Mommy doing that so they expect it.) This allowed us to discuss the vocabulary or context or background or related Bible story right at the same time rather than trying to remember and refer to it later. I do this to make sure the meaning of Scripture is kept as we read. What sorts of things did we discuss for that chapter? See below! 🙂
- As we finished the chapter, I reminded them of a verse that is a common memory verse, encouraged them to learn it, and at least highlight it in their Bible. In this chapter, it was verse 18 which I recited a couple of times slowly, pausing at the keywords “snow” and “wool” and the colour words – even our 5 year old liked to fill in the blank when I paused, showing that he was paying attention! We talked about the meaning of the verse for a wee little bit, mentioning about the lamb sacrifices and the sacrifice of the Lamb of God Who not just covers our sin but takes it all away. I mentioned a bit about the Wordless Book song although we didn’t sing it this time. (Sometimes I might sing a short song with them though.) I don’t give a memory verse for every chapter but I try to mention one sometimes. (And we don’t always have a memory verse chart going with rewards but on occasion we do have that for fun.)
- After prayer time together (everyone can talk to God), I helped my 5 year old find the verse so that he could colour it in his Bible. Since it relates to salvation and the gospel, the colour we use is yellow. (My kids learn how to colour-code Bible verses. We use pink for worship and music, blue for verses about Jesus, green for Christian growth principles, purple for describing the Word of God, and orange for anything else. Most of us use normal wax crayons for highlighting.)
The sorts of things we discussed briefly as we read through Isaiah chapter 1:
“Hold it a moment – What kind of animals did your sister just read about?” (This sort of easy question tells me if they’re listening. 🙂 ) “What is a donkey known for?” (stubbornness).
What does ____ mean? (Vocabulary meaning or synonyms) – “brood”, “penitence” (repentance), sacred
I summarized the imagery listed of trials – the people of Israel were suffering greatly but weren’t getting God’s point of judgment for sin or mercy if they would repent and turn back to Him.
I applied the idea that it is important that when we (us) go to worship God at church, it should be for real and not for “show”. Having just celebrations and traditions for the sake of having stuff to do is empty but if we do things to truly honour God in our hearts, then it’s meaningful to Him and to us.
I asked a few “puzzlers”…
“Can anyone remember where in the Bible we’ve heard about this?” We figured out what Bible story involved “Sodom and Gomorrah” (the one about Lot). Asked a few questions about that story like “What did Lot’s wife turn into?” (a pillar of salt)
…Where will be the “City of Righteousness”, “the Faithful City”? (Listen to the next verse for the answer if you can’t guess.)
…What is a “sacred oak”? (both some people back then and today worship trees/creation instead of just the Creator, yet they thirst for true spiritual satisfaction which can only come from knowing the LORD.)
You can notice from the above that there were a number of topics that we discussed briefly, fitting to a wide-range of ages of interest. This is what I mean by following “rabbit trails”. The “trails” are already there; I don’t have to search for it ahead of time (or follow a lesson book). Nor do I follow every trail in a passage. But it is fun and helpful to follow some trails, giving the context, and some meaningful application to learn more of Who God is and how He wants us to live. This method is one of my favourites of teaching the Bible to my children on a weekday.