This post expands the thoughts about how a mom can prepare to teach God’s Word to her children on a regular basis. You might feel hesitant, overwhelmed, or just wanting some ideas for this area of your life. So I will share with you what this looks like for me personally below 🙂 :
Teaching? It is true that you can learn all together sometimes. But God also enables Christian parents to teach their children about Him. Teaching implies that you are sharing what you already have learned, not just learning alongside. And teaching needs some preparation. God has called you to be a leader in your home.
Having the ability to teach the Bible to your children does not depend on your formal educational background. While my dad and his parents had some excellent Bible college training, my mom did not, and neither did her parents. Yet all of them effectively taught the Word of God in their homes and raised children who committed their lives to the Lord as well. And all of them were well-loved Sunday School teachers and leaders. While my dad and his siblings attended a Christian school for some of their years, the rest of the student-aged people attended public schools for most or all of their years. It wasn’t because they homeschooled that they had time to teach the Bible; no, they taught the Bible because they were Christian parents fulfilling that role regardless of where their children/teens went for the academics.
With determination, they found the time for family devotions often in the morning around breakfast plus in the evening plus were often involved in church ministries. And they lived lives which were very evident of seeking to honour the Lord in what they did and said to others. Not that they were perfect – they weren’t. But I was blessed to be raised in a family and have extended family where children were taught diligently of our wonderful God and Saviour! (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
♥ 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:
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:12-14 NKJV
“[Words of Jesus]: Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Matthew 7:24-27 NKJV
The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.
Proverbs 15:28 NKJV
You might ask, how does one have the ability to be able to teach His Word to others (or be able to do anything else of spiritual value)? Here are a few of God’s promises to those who have invited Christ into their hearts and lives (i.e. true believers in Jesus Christ as Saviour and God):
Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:9b-11 NKJV
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 14:26 NKJV
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Colossians 2:6-10 NKJV
I personally have been growing in my relationship with Christ for many years (e.g. over 40 years at the time of writing this). As a young child, I put my faith in Him for my salvation and desired to serve Him. While I am not perfect by any means, I have continued to love Him. And so, yes, when I teach my children (especially the younger levels), it does not take as much effort as it would if I were a more recent Christian, because I am reminded of many things I’ve learned over years and years. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t learn new things that I share with my kids – I do. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t need to study anymore – of course I still do need to.
Yet one thing I have kept learning in these years of raising children is that my dependence needs to remain on God – not my knowledge or my energy levels, not my oodles of resources that I can grab off my shelves, not my super-duper scheduling that can cover things in an organized fashion, not on my ability (or lack thereof) of studying the Bible in a group setting, but rather on God. HE LEADS and I just have to follow. Sometimes our Bible time is very simple, sometimes more “extras” are added to it. Sometimes our Bible time is organized according to a “schedule” that we know where we turn to. Other times, it is more spontaneous and one of the children wants to read something he or she picks out. But depending on God to be the Ultimate One to lead our family is very important. To continue reading about this, you can click here for Our Twist on Teaching the Bible and Character Ed.
Pray, as you study the Bible alone and with others (e.g. your spouse), that you will grow in your knowledge and relationship with Christ (2 Peter 3:18) and what God wants us to know and has revealed to us in the Scriptures:
The psalmist prayed:
Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. Psalms 119:18 NKJV (Joy’s note: The word “law” is a term sometimes used in the Psalms to refer to God’s Word in general – the Bible).
Prayer is talking to God. You talk to Him respectfully and as His friend. Due to the current trend of ritualistic praying where people think they need to be repetitive until they get silent to hear some sort of voice with an acceptable message to them, I should clarify what Biblical prayer actually is. According to Jesus (Matthew 6:7), prayer is not to be repetitive like the pagan way of praying (that includes the ritual of repeating “Bible words or phrases”). As one pastor put it, you can imagine how you’d like it if your friend phoned you up each day and just repeated your name over and over. God likes it when we pour out our hearts to Him in talking meaningfully.
God is both Sovereign and far above us AND He also cares about us very personally.
“For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Isaiah 57:15 NKJV
I pray for my family, both with them (so they can hear too) and, in more detail, with my husband and by myself quietly. God knows our thoughts. Praying is often throughout the day, here and there, as I go about my work. Sometimes it is in the middle of the night or early morning – whenever.
When to study?
Your preparation time CAN be earlier in the morning but not necessarily so if you’re not a “morning person”. It simply means that you are preparing over the days, months, years of your own personal Christian growth and what you are teaching, you have learned yourself at some point in the past. For me, most of the years as a mom, I have not risen earlier to study on a regular basis. Some moms can and that is just fine but some moms need the sleep at that time of day. And God understands that. Teaching God’s Word to your children is never intended by God as a legalistic spiritual discipline under a strict schedule that causes guilt if you can’t keep up with your goals. Sometimes moms can feel so bad if they can’t get up earlier, if they miss a FB group time or a ladies Bible study meeting, or are days behind in where they planned to be reading. Instead, God wants your time in His Word to be a delight and a refreshing time. Meet Him there often – do not neglect it for sure – but realize what He wants you to do according to what He says in the Bible, not just someone else’s goals and expectations for a thriving and godly life.
Personal devotions in our family are encouraged (e.g. we might supply materials or give suggestions) when a child/teen desires to add this to their day, being able to read extra or do extra studies in their free-time, such as before breakfast or on Sunday afternoons. But everyone of all ages happily joins together for family Bible times. Family Bible time isn’t just for the younger ones – we don’t “graduate” kids from this special time. When Rob and I would go visit my parents with our young family years ago, we would join them for their morning and evening devotion times as well. When I was growing up, it was a privilege to listen to my grandparents (and aunts and uncles) read and discuss the Bible and pray, whether in a devotional time such as before a meal or informally as topics came up to talk about during visits.
“But the other moms…”
You don’t have to worry about that. Some moms are part of one or more Bible study groups (online or in their local areas). One of my pastors used to often quote the first verse below that I’ve thought of sometimes when I feel discouraged in comparing myself with other Christian moms who appear to do “much more” than I for involvement in Bible studies. It reminds me that I don’t need to feel guilty when I don’t add more to my plate than what God directs – my direction can come from Him and not all “the other good ideas” that would overwhelm me or my family. You too have been offered that kind of freedom.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free… Galatians 5:1a KJV
The “other moms” may be able to encourage you in a good direction though, so joining a group may be exactly what you should do. You have been given the freedom to choose what might be helpful to you and your family. God uses other people in our lives to edify us and encourage us. They might be able to help us to be accountable to overcome struggles or point us towards resources that would enrich our lives. Godly friendships and fellowship (working together for the sake of spreading the gospel message of God’s salvation) are very important too. Pray for His guidance in this matter.
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8 NKJV
Walking Your Talk
Your kids (and everyone else who sees you around) will watch and learn from your example of who you are in real life. In God’s strength, aim to make it fit Scriptural principles. Mention appropriate examples from your life about how you learned or saw or heard about some truth that is related. You can do this during your Bible time or when the thought comes up and you’re talking together. This is being “real” yet also thoughtful because you are keeping the examples to appropriate ones, not slanderous or unforgiving ones. None of our lives are perfect down here on earth. But when your life shows real peace, humility, joyfulness, displaying God’s character, others will be reminded of their Creator.
“…to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” from Titus 2
With this sort of a “life-long” preparation, you can confidently, effectively, and lovingly teach what the Bible says to your children because your dependence relies on God, not yourself. And HE is the perfect Teacher Who is all-sufficient to meet every need. ♥