Reading the Bible with Children
Reading the Bible can be intimidating; it’s long, has a tiny font, and parts of it just aren’t that interesting! But as 2 Timothy tells us, all of scripture is “god-breathed” or “inspired by God”. The Bible is the Word of God, and reading it, spending time with it, is one way to deepen our relationship with God and get to know God better. The activities in this playlist are different ways of engaging with scripture that can be done individually or as a family. There are no wrong ways to read the Bible, and it’s okay if you don’t learn something new every time, the important thing is to spend time with God.
- Read 2 Timothy 3:15-17 in your Bible.
- Wonder about the story together:
- I wonder what it means that scripture is inspired by God.
- I wonder if there are other things that are inspired by God.
- I wonder what your favorite Bible story is.
- I wonder what you have learned from the Bible.
- I wonder if there are Bible stories that you don’t like.
- I wonder if we can learn something from Bible stories we don’t like.
Dear God, thank you for inspiring people to write the Bible and for using it to speak to us! As we read the Bible, open our hearts and minds to hear your message. (Insert family celebrations and requests here if desired.) Amen.
Resources for Grown-Ups
Here are a few additional resources for grown-ups who are nurturing the faith of the children in their lives.
6 Fantastic Ways of Reading the Bible with Kids from Illustrated Ministries
Dis-Comforting Bible Stories: Sharing Challenging Scripture with Children from Building Faith
Learn more about the Bible at the BibleProject
This practice is adapted from St. Ignatius’s contemplative prayer.
Pick a scripture passage, this works best with a narrative passage. If you’re reading out loud to a group, invite them to close their eyes, take a few deep breaths, and calm their minds. Invite them to imagine themselves in the scene as you read and to pay attention to all of their senses. Read the passage slowly, take another deep breath, have everyone open their eyes, and discuss what you just experienced. What stood out to you when you imagined yourself in that scene? Who were you? Were you one of the people in the story or were you an unnamed observer? What did you see? Hear? Taste? Smell? Feel? Did any new insights about the passage come to you? There are no wrong answers, this practice is all about using your imagination to gain a deeper understanding of the text. Trust God to communicate with you through your imagination.
For more information about Ignatian Contemplation visit this site: https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-spiritual-exercises/ignatian-contemplation-imaginative-prayer/
A resource about doing imaginative prayer with children: https://teachingcatholickids.com/teach-your-kids-imaginative-prayer/
Havruta is a traditional Jewish study practice where two people study a text together. Havruta is an Aramaic word meaning friendship. The two people read a passage of scripture and then discuss it together, asking questions about it and suggesting possible answers. There is no one right answer to the questions posed, but a deeper understanding of the text is gained by discussing it together.
To practice havruta with your kids, read a passage from the Bible, or read a story from a storybook Bible, and then ask some questions about it. You could ask wondering questions like the ones in these playlists. Encourage your children to ask questions of their own about the story and talk about possible answers.
Read this article to learn more about havruta https://matthewroot.ca/2018/11/26/havruta/
Description from getliturgized.com
“The word “florilegia” is from the Latin flos (“flowers”) and legre (“gathering”), and is the act of collecting phrases from a larger text that pop out or “sparkle” at you from the page — sort of like gathering flowers into a bouquet. In Florilegia, these selected phrases are called “sparklets”.
A “sparklet” isn’t necessarily a whole verse. It might be a short phrase or a single sentence. The point is to capture the words that speak to you in your present moment of life. At its heart, Florilegia is a prayerful practice, meant to help you focus your mind as you seek to receive from God in scripture.”
Michelle: As a spiritual practice this will probably work best with older children. As you read a scripture passage look for “sparklets” – pieces of text that jump out at you and seem to speak to you. When you and your family have collected your sparklets, put them next to each other and read them together. How do the sparklets seem to speak to each other (if at all)? What connections can you make between them?
For further guidance on how to practice florilegia visit this site:
Lectio Divina is Latin for “divine reading” and is an ancient practice of praying with scripture. There are several variations on this practice, here are some examples.
Love First Lectio
This version was created by the authors of the book, Love First: A Children’s Ministry for the Whole Church, and uses love as the foundation for reading scripture.
Lectio Divina with Children
This is a shortened version that would work well with children of all ages
Traditional Lectio Divina
This is a guide to the traditional way of practicing lectio divina.