I recently shared with my family that my biggest regret as a mom was not helping our children learn to read and study the Bible. As a rather young mom and new Christian, it took me awhile before I realized the importance of daily Bible reading in my own life. This happened several years after receiving Jesus as my Savior.
I look back and recall the first time the Bible became a focal point in our home. Shortly after my husband surrendered his life to Jesus, he began reading the Bible every night after returning home from working the 3 – 11 pm shift. I immediately witnessed the transformation that was taking place in Jeff’s new life. Tweaking my curiosity, I began reading parts of the Bible and other resources which led me to understand my sinfulness apart from the loving and saving grace of Christ.
After Jeff and I received Jesus as our Savior, we immediately started attending church together as a family. So many beautiful memories flood my heart as I look back on this time of growing in the wisdom and knowledge of the LORD while raising our children.
Some researchers say there’s a definite decline in church attendance by young families; probably for multiple reasons. Stop it! Parents, please beware of the devil’s scheme to dethrone Christ in your life and home. Believers need one another and Christ’s Church, to grow in faith through the Word and prayer, enjoying sweet fellowship, and to worship the One True God corporately. No regrets from this mom for taking our children to church (every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and all the other special services).
Every human being has a natural inclination toward worship. If our world isn’t rightly ordered, we will end up worshiping and serving things besides God. It isn’t until we’re able to rightly prioritize God above everything else in our world that we can begin to worship in spirit and truth.
Thankfully, our children were learning the basic Bible stories at church from their Sunday school teachers and becoming familiar with Scripture through programs like Bible quizzing, Vacation Bible school, and from holiness pastors who unashamedly preached God’s Word faithfully.
Back to my biggest regret. I missed the opportunity to nurture our children’s faith in Christ by helping them learn to read and study the Bible in our home. Yes, we read and even memorized some Bible verses together, especially when preparing the kids for a Bible quiz, and we had family devotions that taught biblical principles. Regretfully though, we never specifically trained our children to build an intimate relationship with their Heavenly Father by diligently reading the Bible with them or teaching them to seek God and His wisdom by reading their Bibles. Yes, they all had their own Bibles with nice covers, and they carried them to church. And thankfully, I know their teachers taught them to read their Bibles while at church. So, you see, the Church is vital in partnering with parents to effectively disciple our children and youth. The primary responsibility of training children in the ways of the LORD, however, remains the role of the parents. The reason: To produce Godly offspring. (Malachi 2:15):
“Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.”
A primary purpose of marriage is the production of Godly offspring—that is, offspring trained in the ways of the Lord. Notice how the Scripture says “Godly offspring”—
If parents fail to transmit knowledge to the next generation, then that generation will not have the knowledge to transmit to generations after. Consider (Psalm 78:1-7):
“My people hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children,so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”
(Excerpts above provided from the following article.)
And from the Word of God through Moses (Deuteronomy 6:4-9):
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”
As I draw near to God every morning through His infallible Holy Word, I can’t help but wonder why anyone would want to miss out on this amazing love story of God for His creation. The apostle Paul reminded young pastor Timothy of this when mentoring him for the ministry of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 3:14-17):
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Learning of my God-given responsibility a little later than I would have liked, I am now using every opportunity I have to encourage our grandchildren to read and study the Bible. I keep several age-appropriate Bibles on hand to read with them, and as they begin reading, to read to me.
If your children or grandchildren are not learning to read and study their Bibles in your home, possibly you could begin by instructing them. First, be sure that you are being intentional with your personal Bible reading. Kids often will model what they see their parents doing (at least when they are young). Prayer is the key. Ask God to give your children a desirous heart for knowing God and for digesting His holy Word. Challenges and resistance will arise. Expect it and prepare for them. Don’t back away from raising Godly offspring. The world and the evil one would like nothing better than for you to raise children who are living their lives by the varied opinions of others rather than truth from their Creator and Heavenly Father, the God of our universe and caretaker of our eternal souls.
I hope that you will not have the same regret I have. It truly could mean the difference between your children living a life of eternal significance for the glory of God or simply living a self-centered life that leads to destruction and eternal Hell. Don’t take the risk that your children will learn all about God and His plan for their salvation in Christ through church (they may), but they may not.
Over the past several years, I've blogged about my greatest passion--intentionally passing my faith in Christ to the next generation, beginning with my family.
I've been married to Jeff forever! We love spending time with our three children, six grandchildren, two son-in-laws, and our dog, Pepper.
Jeff and I gratefully serve as Pastor and wife at St. Paul's Church of the Nazarene, Kansas City, MO; where people love God and each other.
Holding His Hand, my newest blog (2016) is dedicated to my mom, Audrey Lewis, who learned to trust in Jesus during her battle with cancer.