One of the highlights of my day is sitting around the family table with my wife and children for family worship. Inevitably, something comes up two or three times a week and we miss it, but we have been in the practice since my wife and I have been married. This last year we have started doing just a little something different that has seemed to enhance our worship time tremendously. It is so simple, yet it has been revolutionary for our family.
I am a Bible teacher at heart. I have often dreamt of teaching my children about theology, church history, and the wonders of our great God. However, in my dreaming stage it is often geared toward the future and not the present. All four of my children are under the age of seven and I have often thought that they are not ready for a study on hermeneutics (the science of interpreting the Bible) or systematic theology. Yet, this last year, without even realizing we were doing it at first, that is exactly what has happened. We have always asked questions at the end of the Bible reading, but we now ask three simple questions before we ever start reading the Bible. These questions are the same questions every time. They are so easy to answer that even my 2-year-old can answer them (after he has heard his older siblings answer them 50 times).
Here are the three questions that my wife and I ask my children, and I would like to encourage you to do the same and just see how the Lord uses it.
Who wrote this book of the Bible?
We have been reading through the gospel of Mark for the past couple of months. So, each day I ask the same question, “Who wrote the Gospel of Mark”? I try to ask a different child this question each day so that all of them get a chance through the week to answer different questions. Of course, the answer is Mark. Now, this does take a little work from the parents on the front end to know who wrote the book of the Bible you are studying, but any good study Bible can provide this answer for you with a little reading. By the end of the first week, usually all of the children have this one down.
Who was the book written to?
This piggybacks on the back of the first question. It goes like this for us . . . “Who did Mark write his gospel to?” To which they answer, “to the Christians in Rome.” Of the 66 books of the Bible, only 40 of the human authors have been identified. For some books the author is anonymous. If that is true of the book of the Bible you are reading, just be honest about it. The truth is, there is one divine Author (II Timothy 3:16). While it is often helpful to know the human author, it is not necessary. Nonetheless, it is a basic Bible study question, and one that will help lead you, and your children, to get the truth and application of a text.
Why was the book written?
This is the third and last question that we ask. This question, like the two above, is linked to the others. We will say, “Why did Mark write his gospel?” See how they continue to build on each other? Repetition is key for most people when learning. They will then eagerly (most of the time) respond, “To tell the Christians in Rome that Jesus was the Messiah.” It is amazing to see the children start to get into the reading more since they know these truths about it. Often we point out or have the child tell us how Mark shows that Jesus is the Messiah from a particular passage. This just continues to reiterate that which they have already learned. It is remarkable.
There are the three easy and simple questions. It is amazing to see how much better our family worship time is now because of getting the kids more involved. These are the same three questions that we, as students of the Bible, should be asking ourselves every time we pick up the Word to better help us truly hear from God. It is Jessica’s and my hope that we will ingrain this type of Bible study into the minds of our children so that it becomes common place for them as they start to read and study the Bible more when they get older. To be honest though, it has even helped my wife and me as much as the children when we are reminded of these things every time we read with them. It just makes Scripture come alive. So, if you would really like to help your kids become better students of God’s Word, just ask these three little questions . . . over and over and over again.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Adam B. Burrell