Finding Joy in Teaching the Bible
My children were able to participate in the first annual Bible Bee along with thousands of other families across America. I learned some valuable lessons from the experience that I wanted to share with all of you. Beginning in May, and throughout the summer, each participant was challenged on several levels to learn verses and Bible knowledge for written and oral exam questions at the Bee in September. Parents were encouraged to learn along with them not just as coaches but teachers.
I soon discovered that in spite of our school devotions and their workbooks each semester, there is still so much to learn! And even though we had memorized a verse every week for years, there are still so many left to add in our hearts, not just our heads. The Bee sponsors listed many verses, passages, and chapters that were not familiar, and it was a challenge to say the least.
An embarrassing lesson I learned was that of assuming my children knew things they really didn’t know. Upon reflection, I realized some things were taught to the older ones, but the younger ones did not know as they were very little then and a “refresher course” was needed. When one “crop” of children are mostly raised, you have to repeat everything to the middle children, and, finally, the youngest ones, so every child can know the true path to travel through life.
I also discovered that it seemed easy to just teach memory verses, but it was worth the extra time involved to help them think through what the words meant and how to apply them to our faith and everyday lives. Rote memory alone may be sufficient to store verses in their heads, but the goal of the Bible Bee is to get them to store it in their hearts. This method of talking with them of the meanings and applying them to life was encouraged by the sponsors. Working toward that goal made me wonder if the sobering accounts of young adults straying from their faith and the church might not be due, in part, to having head knowledge without heart understanding. Psalm 119:11 is clear, ”Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Verse 105 later explains that it is “a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” It appears that training their hearts will help to guide their feet. Training by our example is important too, or they may stumble and fall. So, moms, be sure to practice what you teach.
The Scriptures are heavenly guidance for daily living. As a matter of fact, Psalm 119 itself is an extended and eloquent declaration of how important and valuable it is to our lives. I know it is long, but every verse mentions God’s Word and it is full of praises and promises and prayers as well as compassion and comfort. If you are suffering overmuch, it is a healing ointment for your wounds. It is also very convicting when you have strayed from holy living. Even if it takes a week, I hope you will make time to read it soon! The blessing of repeating the Scriptures with your children can be a joyful event in your home this year. It only takes a little time to travel this rewarding path. Will you begin today?