As I have gotten older, I have reflected on my childhood years. One area that I have often thought about is how the Bible was read to me back then. Whenever someone read it, it always seemed dry and flavorless. Like a bowl of oatmeal without any brown sugar in it. It was bland. I was told it was God’s word and was important, but it sure wasn’t exciting to consume.
In grade 12, my youth pastor took us to a youth retreat at what would be my future Bible college. At that time, I had heard all the Bible stories, especially the one the speaker was talking about: David and Goliath.
I mean, it’s a classic story. One I had heard a million times.
But never like that.
He had one side of the crowd be the Philistines and the other side be the Israelites. Then he had them yelling at each other across the auditorium. It was awesome! As I sat in the middle of the crowd of 5000 people, listening to the surround sound of two “armies” screaming at each other, I couldn’t wait to hear what my role was in the story. I wanted to be in it.
That’s when he looked in my direction and said, “And you in the middle? You’re dirt.”
That’s right. My role was to be the valley’s dirt. The soil on which the great story would be told.
Needless to say, I was a little deflated, and yet, captured. He caught me by surprise and had my attention. What he did that day brought the Bible to life for me. I saw the story differently because he made me interact with it in a surprising way. He put me right in it.
Too often in my life, my Bible reading has been dry. It’s like I read the words, but I don’t feel the emotions. I have had many times where I have approached the Bible too much like a textbook and not enough like a letter from a friend.
As parents, we want our kids to know the Bible stories, but not just know them, we want our kids to engage with them. We want them to know that the Bible is not a bland, flavorless book, but rather one filled with life and adventure. We want them to know that it is relevant and speaks to their lives today. We want them to know that it is alive and brings life.
But how do we do that?
Click on the image to get a printable page that your child can color!
I believe there are 3 simple steps we can do to help our kids see the Bible come to life.
1. As you read it, put yourself in the story. Don’t just choose a story to read. Also choose which character you want to be in it as you read it. We all like to be the hero type characters, but maybe you can choose to be the Philistines, or the woman at the well. Maybe you want to be Balaam’s donkey or the animals that enter the ark. The point is to pick a view that you haven’t experienced before. Then you go on to number 2.
2. Draw out the emotions of the story. You need to ask yourselves about what you experienced or felt. What did it feel like to see your giant hero fall to a shepherd boy? What did it feel like to carry all of humanity and all the animals safely during the flood? What did it feel like to have the nails go through you? As you begin to ask these types of questions, you will begin to experience the story in a new way. As you experience the story in a new way, you will begin to learn new lessons you never saw before. This may require you to read the story a few times to get more out of it, but once you do that you move on to number 3.
3. Interact with the story. In Luke 10, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. It is a beautiful story that is told masterfully. In the end, Jesus does something interesting. He doesn’t just give the lesson of the story, but he asks the expert in the law to give it. He makes the man interact with the story. Once you have chosen a viewpoint and experienced the emotions of the story, you need to ask yourself what you have learned. This will solidify the whole Bible reading experience. And that’s where it not only comes to life, but will begin to change your life.
The Bible is not a flavorless book. It is one filled with stories of real people, real adventures, real lessons, and real emotions. If we don’t see this in our lives now, how will we help our kids see it in their lives?
This week, I am giving all of us a Family Bible Reading Challenge. As a family, choose a Bible story. If you are not sure which one, go to Luke 10 and read the Good Samaritan. Follow the three steps and see what comes out of it. Then, don’t just leave it there, comment below on how it went and let’s see what we can learn from each other.
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Brad in 2 Sentences:
I love to write and teach people of all ages about Jesus. If I can tell a story and tell you about Jesus at the same time, even better!