What Kids Think About Reading Through the Bible in a Year
Uncovering the Bible's Impact
One of the most important spheres of influence in which we can lead Scripture engagement is within our own families. But often this is the most difficult place to start! That’s why we asked J.R. Briggs, founder of Kairos Partnerships and pastor of The Renew Community, to give us some tips in this 3-part series. In this three-part series find out how leading his son in reading through the Bible in a year became one of his favorite leadership roles. Then try it yourself with this one-year Bible reading plan, or another of your choosing.
Instead of just taking my word for it, I thought it would be helpful to hear from two of the kids who’ve participated in the year-long Bible reading challenge. I asked my son, Carter (age 10), and his friend, Savannah (also age 10), to share their thoughts about the Bible reading process.
This Bible reading challenge involves a lot of time–and a lot of reading! What motivated you to participate in this Bible reading challenge?
Carter: When I was five, Dad told me about one of his friends that took a trip after reading through the Bible with his kids. They could go anywhere in the United States. I thought it would be awesome to do that, too. That was my motivation to do the Bible reading at the beginning. But after a while, it became a habit and the focus was less on the trip and more on spending time together and reading.
Savannah: I heard other kids were reading it, so I wanted to read it, too.
What did you like about the year of reading through the Bible?
Carter: I liked it because we got into conversations. It was great because we got to learn a lot about each other during that time and spend time together. Also, I think it’s cool to know I was also teaching my dad things and pointing things out to him that he’d never seen before.
Savannah: If I had a question, I didn’t have to keep it to myself. I could just ask my mom or dad. I also liked spending time alone with my mom and dad. And I’m excited about the reward now that we’re done!
What was difficult about doing all this reading?
Carter: I never thought about quitting at any time, but sometimes finishing the readings was annoying on the weekends or in the summer when I wanted to play with my friends. But that’s why I liked to do it early in the morning or sometimes right before bed.
We read the Old Testament, New Testament and a psalm or proverb together. But what are the other things we did together as well?
Carter: After we read, we discussed certain parts or topics for a few minutes. Sometimes we wrote in our journals what we’ve learned or questions we have. I liked the journal dad got for me. I enjoyed writing down notes or questions or other stuff. Sometimes when we needed a break from reading our Bibles, we listened to the passage being read on an app on dad’s phone [YouVersion]. And every time we started a new book of the Bible, we watched a video on YouTube by The Bible Project. They’re awesome! They basically explain the whole book and then give more information about what’s happening. It’s very helpful and clear. And I liked how we prayed for a persecuted missionary serving in India. It helped us better understand persecution and suffering in the Bible when we pray for her.
Savannah: We also watched the Bible Project videos and then discussed what we read together.
Which book of the Bible, passage, or story did you most enjoy reading? Why?
Carter: I really enjoyed the story about Joseph, in Genesis, because he was involved in many exciting things, but he was always faithful to God.
Savannah: Ezekiel. I liked the visions that he sees. My favorite story is Elijah and the prophets of Baal. I liked the funny part when Elijah asks where is their god—maybe he is sleeping or maybe he is relieving himself!
How have you been impacted by reading the Bible every day?
Carter: I understand God’s story a lot better than I have before, seeing the whole thing fit together. I’ve enjoyed reading all the prophets and all those little tiny books that you never really focus on.
Savannah: I understand the Bible better than I used to before I read it this way. I read books I never read before.
Are you glad you’ve participated in this Bible reading challenge?
Carter: Yes, I am glad we’ve done it together—and we’re planning on reading parts of the Bible again now that we are finished!
Closing thoughts from a proud dad
The father-son time with Carter has been wonderful. It’s brought us even closer, deepened trust, given us more shared experiences, and opened doors of conversation. These are special. I wish I could’ve recorded some of the conversations we’ve had and prayers he’s prayed. They’ve brought tears to my eyes many times. I’ll always cherish those sacred and formidable moments we’ve shared together.
While he’s learned a great deal from Scripture, ironically, I’m the one that’s gotten the most out of the experience. I find myself saying, Oh, now that makes sense or I never saw that verse before or wow—somehow, I’ve missed the importance of that story in the past. I’m grateful how God has used the questions, insight, and feedback of a 10-year-old to teach me exactly what I’ve needed many mornings. As a parent, don’t be surprised if you benefit from this process much more than you expect. You will be amazed at how God’s Spirit will teach both parent and child through the same passage, at the same time.
And so, in March, we’re heading to Florida to watch the Philadelphia Phillies play in spring training games, spend time at the beach, and enjoy a day at Universal Studios. Carter even wants us to bring our notebooks so we can review what we’ve learned throughout the year.
His choice. I can’t wait.
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