The Bible as the Word of God, or, What Should We Read to the Children for Devotion?

9 10 2008

Timberley and I have always tucked in our children at night.  The shape of that routine has taken various forms over the years, but as the children grew older we developed a fairly stable routine.  After cleaning up from dinner we might gather for reading a book aloud as a family or a game of some sort.  Around 7:30 we had our devotion time that included Bible reading and family prayer.

 

Several years ago the children made a request for our Bible reading.  I think Samuel initiated it, but Anna was right behind him.  Samuel came to me and said, “Daddy, I think we ought to change the way we read the Bible for devotion time.”

 

“What should we do?” I answered.

 

“Well, when we have our devotion now we read little pieces from all over the Bible.  But if what you say is true, that the Bible is the word of God, then we should start at the beginning and read through the whole book.”

 

I could not argue with his logic, but was a little unsure how it would work out.  I agreed.  That night at bedtime I read the first chapter of Genesis to them.  They sat with wide eyes and took it all in as if it were a fairy tale.  I promised that the next night I would read chapter two.

 

The next three nights we read about the creation of man in chapter two, the first sin in chapter three, and the first murder in chapter four.  When I finished reading chapter four to the children I told them that the next night I would tell them the story of Noah and the ark in chapter six, since chapter five was simply a genealogy and it might be pretty boring for devotion.  Both children bolted upright.  “No, no!  You have to read chapter five.  You have to read all of it.”

 

“But it’s just a list of names and how long each person lived.  Don’t you want to hear about Noah’s ark?”

 

“But Dad,” Samuel interjected, “Isn’t all of it God’s Word?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Then we need to read chapter five.”

 

I can still remember their faces the next night as the children lay in their beds and I read from Genesis five.  They were not listening excitedly, as if I were reading a children’s story, but there was a seriousness to the night’s devotion.  When I was done I prayed with the kids.  I kissed them good night.  Samuel simply said, “Thank you, Dad,” and turned over to go to sleep.


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