Teaching (or, should I say, “teaching”) your children (and yourself) Scripture
Luke Holzmann, over at SonlightBlog, posted recently about teaching children the Bible. He asked readers how they handle it, and offered his own suggestions, including, “Read commentaries, talk to friends and teachers, consider the context and the rest of Scripture, look up articles and, again, read the passages themselves.” My comment got kind of out-of-control long, and when I got done, I thought, “That would make a pretty good blog post in itself.” So, here it is:
My mother read two chapters from the Bible every night (except church nights — Sunday and Wednesday) to the four of us siblings for my entire life, while I was living at home. She’d finish Genesis, then on to Matthew. Then Exodus, then Mark. And so on. I knew the Bible better than just about any kid I knew because of it. She never offered any commentary, but she would answer questions when they came up, and, in retrospect, I think she did a bit of editing on the fly for some of the stickier bits.
I will never forget the day when I was 16 and a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses came to the door. No one else was home at the time. There was a man who did all the talking, and a lady who hung in the background, who looked increasingly ill at ease as I countered the man’s statements, suggesting to him that he was wildly (but craftily) misquoting virtually every verse. In exasperation, and with an air of condescension, he finally said, “Fine. You know so much? You find it in your Bible and show me.” I asked him to hold on, fetched my Bible (which had a concordance), and did just that.
Although I really enjoy conversations with my children — scriptural topics included, I think that, most of the time, if we just keep exposing our children to Scripture, that, eventually, it will sink in, as maturity unfolds, and as God’s Spirit speaks to our children’s spirits. They will get to know His nature and His ways, if they just READ, and/or if we read to them.
I don’t read a lot of commentaries. I do appreciate good Scriptural exposition, and can get some good, meaty info out of Greek/Hebrew word studies. I also enjoy historical studies, which lend a deeper insight into one passage or another… But, still, I predominantly let the Scripture stand for itself, asking Him, as I start to read, “What is it You want to tell me in this? Please don’t let me miss anything.” I see the Bible as, in essence, a love story, with God revealing Himself to us, Jesus’ bride and the Father’s children.
I TOTALLY think that God and Scripture can stand up to scrutiny, and sometimes, it can be really helpful to unpack a particularly troublesome verse. However, it is my observation that too many people — Christians included — get caught up in dissection, instead of simple contemplation, led by His Spirit. Then, reading the Bible becomes simple knowing ABOUT God, instead of KNOWING GOD, Himself.
It’s a fine line.