Family devotion time doesn’t need to be complicated. I remember little Matt when he was about 3 or 4; he would get his pillow and stretch out on his back underneath the coffee table every night with his feet up in the air touching the bottom of the table top. We never let our kids disrupt family time by running around being loud, but expected them to listen quietly. Matt, listening quietly, would fall asleep every time! Sweet memories. It’s okay. They’ll pick up a whole lot more than you think even if it appears that they aren’t being real attentive.
So, continuing with suggestions for easy Family Bible Times, let me share with you several more ways we spent time together as a family learning about God. (Miss Part 1? Read it here)
READ A BIBLE STORY BOOK to them or even just passages from the Old Testament about people’s lives- Joseph, Noah, Abraham, Ruth, etc. (We often used The Bible Story set of 10 books (which you might often see in doctor’s offices.) There were a couple stories we discovered that had wrong doctrine, but when we found that, we got the Bible out and showed the kids how it differed. But usually, it was excellent in that it often used the exact wording from Scripture in telling the stories.
Bible Quiz -We would tell our kids that on Friday night (our family night) we would have a Family Bible quiz and everyone would get the opportunity to try to answer questions. We’d ask questions from the stories we’d read previously and start with the youngest kids first. If they couldn’t remember the answer, we’d go on up in age, giving the kids a chance to answer. If they answered correctly they would get a treat like a few M &M’s or mini candy bar or prepared treat. We would ask questions of varying degrees of difficulty so little ones could actually stand a chance of answering correctly. The purpose behind the quiz was to teach the kids to be attentive during the week during our other family devotion times. They knew the quiz was coming, and only by being attentive could they be best prepared to know the answer. It taught them to “listen on purpose.” It made learning Bible facts fun. They always looked forward to quiz nights. Download one of our quizzes and the answers.
Read through “stories” of the Old Testament—What could be easier than just to pick up your Bible and read the story of Joseph or Noah or Esther? While you read, let the kids stop you and ask questions. Talk about right/wrong, what people should have done, how it might have turned out better for them had they made a wise decision. For instance, point out in the story of Joseph how his brothers meant it for evil, but God used it to save His people . God’s way is always best even if we can’t see it at the time. Joseph did right even when circumstances seemed horrible.
Sing hymns—Years ago we bought a set of hymn books. We often would let the kids choose hymns for all to sing. We loved singing ALL the verses. Consequently my kids grew up knowing all the verses of the good old hymns and so much rich doctrine is taught in those songs. One of my daughters-in-law once told me, “All your kids are walking hymn books and Bibles.” I’ll take that!!
Proverbs People Books 1 and 2—When our oldest boys reached the age of 7 or 8 we looked around for a Bible study book that would teach them to apply the Word of God practically to their lives. I couldn’t find one, so that’s when we wrote our first one. It has the kids look up and answer short answer questions from Proverbs about the different types of people you find in the book. The book tells how to wisely deal with these people you meet in life. Proverbs People 1 and 2 are chock-full of short-answer questions, example stories, fun quizzes, application questions, and coloring pages teaching the types of people found in the Book of Proverbs, and provide practical information for how to deal with those people. Your child may even find himself represented, as in slothful/ diligent, finding what God says happens when one persists in the wrong behavior and God’s blessings on the righteous.
As our children grew, we wrote more studies to guide them in applying God’s Word to their lives so they could learn to grow in grace and knowledge. (these are also available in packages with additional companion resources) These are ready-resources you can use either as daily Bible lessons or in family time together or a combination of both.
One of our most popular Bible Studies is ‘Growing in Wisdom’:
Growing in Wisdom— Have kids who struggle with complaining, unkindness, lying, teasing, arguing? This will help address all these problems + 27 more- issues we all need to get a handle on. This study for kids aged approx 8-13 is based on the popular handout, “Identifying and Dealing with Offenses,” by Marilyn Boyer. Your child will learn about 32 types of negative behavior and their Biblical consequences. Through insights learned from God’s Word, your child will be guided in making an intentional decision to choose positive, godly character in their day-to-day life. God has the answer for turning our negative natural tendencies into choices which reflect the character of Jesus Christ.
Okay, just a few more ideas for you….
These next few resources are perfect for family devotions- focusing on teaching kids about godly character through the lives of men and women from American History. And the work is already done for you. Just pick them up, read the character-based true story, and discussion questions are provided at the end of each chapter. Perfect for a tired dad, but engaging for the whole family.
Profiles of Valor: True Stories from the War of Independence—Profiles of Valor brings to life 40 fascinating characters from America’s War of Independence. Your children will love these exciting true stories. And they’ll be inspired to strive for the character qualities they illustrate. Provided are discussion questions after each chapter so the family can discuss not only history, but character in action.
Portraits of Integrity—One of the most powerful ways to inspire people to greatness is through the stories of great people from the past. In Portraits of Integrity, you and your children will be challenged to strive for excellence through the examples of 45 people who did just that. Family discussion questions are provided following each selection.
For You They Signed: The Spiritual Heritage of Those Who Shaped our Nation—Endorsed by Christian historian, David Barton of Wallbuilders! Teach your family history, character, and Scripture at the same time. This beautiful volume gives you the tools you need to train up young nation-changers. For You They Signed provides an abundance of resources within one volume, including: a full year of life-changing, challenging family devotional character studies.
An Added Plus: this comes with free activity book that has coloring pages for the kids to work on while listening and family fun quizzes to encourage attentiveness.
Remember, you can learn together. Ask for input from the kids. Learn from those recorded in Scripture and those from history to get insight into how God blesses those who choose wisely.
Family time can be fun for everyone.
We’d love to hear from you how you do family time. Share with us all and we can learn new ideas from each other!!