Your child has never been swallowed by a whale, built an ark, or led thousands of slaves out of Egypt — how is she supposed to relate to Biblical characters who led lives she can’t understand? By taking these few steps, you can help your child understand and relate to the Bible.
Stop and Review
Even if the passage you read is only one chapter, it can still be a lot for a young mind to process. It’s helpful to stop and review what you’ve read, whether it’s a few verses or several chapters. Every few verses, take a minute to pause. Let your child absorb the story and ensure she is following along and understanding.
Encourage children to ask questions when the Bible is confusing them, and remind them that we aren’t supposed to have all the answers. If they ask questions you can’t answer, take the opportunity to research the Word together. Make sure that you’re asking them questions to gauge their comprehension.
Ask Them to Explain in Their Own Words
Resist the temptation to explain the Scripture yourself. Ask your child if she can explain or summarize what you’ve read in her own words. This will encourage both retention and understanding.
When it comes to the Bible stories we know and love, it can be hard for your child to relate to the feeling of building an ark or parting the Red Sea, but she can still relate to the emotions that Noah, Moses, and others felt. As you discuss what you read, help your child identify and relate to the emotions that these people were feeling. Were they scared? Angry? Happy? Sad? How did they handle it, and what can we learn from that? When children can see a Biblical character’s emotions, they can better understand themselves and their own emotions.
One of the easiest — and most fun — ways to encourage Biblical comprehension is through acting out the stories. Go all out with costumes and silly voices for each character! When your child steps into the shoes of Daniel in the lion’s den or David as he steps in front of Goliath, she’s able to better relate to the emotions these people must have felt.
Bring it Back to Jesus
The Bible is full of unfamiliar faces, but there’s one person your child will always recognize: Jesus. In John 5, he says to the Pharisees, “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life. But it is they that bear witness about me.” The Scriptures are centered around Jesus. Focus on relating every passage to Jesus and how it fits into his overall story.
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