“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” II Timothy 3:16, 17 (NKJV)
These familiar verses are favorites of mine, but the verses that come before these touch my heart as a mom.
In II Timothy 3:14 and 15, Paul says to Timothy, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Timothy had been taught Biblical truth even as a young child, and in the first chapter of II Timothy, we are told about the influence of Timothy’s grandmother and mother on his life.
Paul says , “when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” II Timothy 1:5
What an impact a mother’s faith can have on the life of her children! It is so important to be teaching the truths of the Holy Scriptures to our young children. There is nothing of greater importance as a mom than to show our little ones the way of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
There are many resources that we can use to share the truths of God’s Word with our children. I choose devotional books that are Biblically accurate and age-appropriate. Some teach favorite Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments while others teach Biblical doctrine. Our nightly reading times start with our devotional reading, followed by each child praying, and ending with a chapter from a fiction book. My children and I look forward to this time every night and are disappointed if something prevents us from sharing this time together.
Here are my recommendations for Bible devotional books:
The Baby Bible Storybook by Robin Currie – My husband and I purchased this book a week before our first baby was born, and it is perfect for infants and toddlers! It is a board book, and the stories have activities and motions for the child to act out which holds their attention. For example, in the story of Noah’s ark, the child pretends to hammer the ark, claps his hands when the door of the ark closes, and wiggles his fingers to show how the rain fell. Each story ends with a simple prayer that you can say with your child.
My Goodnight Bible by Susan Lingo – The short sentences, rhythm, and rhyme in these stories work well for toddlers and preschoolers. There is a Bible verse and prayer of application with every story. This book holds children’s attention by asking questions about the illustrations like, “Who is giving the man a drink? Point to the man.” My children’s favorite part about this book was taking turns guessing the “Bible Word” for the night which helped them remember the main theme of the story. I could tell as I was reading that they were thinking about what the main lesson was in the story. It helped them focus and listen!
A Child’s First Bible by Kenneth N. Taylor – Although small in size, surprisingly this book contains 125 Bible stories. The stories only have five or six sentences and are geared toward preschoolers. I liked how the stories were ordered chronologically and flowed into each other as they do in the Bible. It contains some less familiar stories from the Old Testament like Absalom striving for King David’s throne, Naaman being healed, King Joash rebuilding the temple, and Hezekiah destroying idols.
Family Bible Library by V. Gilbert Beers, Ph.D., Th.D. – This is a ten volume set, and each volume contains 30 stories. This is the resource that I have used the most with my children, and I believe that we have read through the whole set three times together. They are wonderful for elementary age children. The stories are detailed and are followed by short history or geography lessons about Biblical times. The questions that follow the stories help children to think about what was read and apply it to their lives. Often the questions lead children to examine themselves in regards to their own faith and the gospel.
My parents purchased these books from a college student who came to their door selling them in the 1970′s, and our mom read these to me and my sisters when we were growing up. Unfortunately, this set is out of print, but there are a few used sets available on-line.
A Faith to Grow On by John MacArthur – This book is a wonderful tool to teach Biblical theology and doctrine to your children. Twelve main topics are covered in this book: God, Creation, Sin, Bible, Jesus, Salvation, Worship, Prayer, Church, Forgiveness, Evangelism, and Heaven. It answers questions like “Is there only one God?”, “Is the Bible true?”, and “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers right away?” Each devotional shares the answer to questions like these, gives key verses to read, talks about life application, shares an added activity to do, and ends with a prayer starter.
Character Sketches (Volume I and II) by the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts, Inc. – This is what I am currently reading to my children for our devotions, and I have been pleased that the content is deeper than other books that we have used and holds the interest of my almost 11 year-old and 13 year-old. Each story begins with a character trait illustrated in the world of nature by telling about an amazing animal in God’s creation. These essays are then followed by a Bible story that also illustrates the same character trait. These books were given to me by my in-laws.
The 12 Ways of Christmas by David Jeremiah – This book was given to us by our church’s youth director, and we enjoy reading one devotional for each of the twelve nights leading up to Christmas. The twelve truths in this book, like wonder, giving, humility, and simplicity, help us focus on the true meaning of Christmas during the busy, holiday season.
I hope that you and your children will find a quiet time to spend together learning about God’s word. There is nothing better that you could devote your time to with your children!
Wonderful Jen! Thank you!!!
Two of our favorite little people Bibles were “The Jesus Storybook Bible – Every story whispers his name” and “The Big Picture Story Bible” published by Crossway. I also loved the Baby Story Bible you mentioned above – those were precious days!
Now Alex (age 9) and Alexis (age 7) each read out of their Adventure Bibles and we read daily out of our Family Reading Bible.
Alex just purchased the One Year Sports Devotional for kids with his own money – that blessed this mama’s heart to see him spend his own hard earned money on something worthwhile like a devotional! We also have the Character Sketches Volume 1 which the children love!
Chime in: What are some of your favorite devotionals for kids?