Our oldest children are now 11 and almost 9, and both have professed a saving knowledge of Jesus and have been baptized. We are seeing fruit in their lives that only the Holy Spirit can produce: more love, joy, patience with one another, kindness, and an increasing desire to know God.
While we've practiced family devotions for years, our ultimate desire is for our children to have the tools to follow God beyond their time in our home.
So where do you begin?
I want to share the resources we have used and would recommend for encouraging independent Bible study for kids!
Bible study resources:
- God’s Brave Girl: A Courageous Journey of Faith by Lifeway Kids (ages 6-8): This is a six-week Bible study for girls that is very interactive. It includes word searches, fill-in-the-blanks, games, questions, and journaling spots, and is a perfect resource to introduce the habit of daily Bible study in a simple and accessible way.
- God’s Big Book: A Bible Study Journal by The Village Church (ages 6-9): This journal can be used to dive into any Bible passage your child is reading, and it also includes a sermon guide to help your child listen and participate as they hear a sermon. Throughout the guide, there are also pages to color, things to draw, and activities to complete to make this a really fun resource for kids.
- Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids by David Murray (ages 6-10): You can use this guide alongside any version of the Bible, and it offers a short Bible passage to read, some simple questions, a place to jot down prayers, and a "map" or overview of what is being read. I love that this resource can be used independently, and it only requires a few minutes each day. Liam worked through it over the course of a year.
- Meeting with Jesus: A Daily Bible Reading Plan for Kids by David Murray (ages 6-10): This is a similar resource to the Exploring the Bible guide (same author, similar format), and focuses on the life and ministry of Jesus. This resource is also a year long.
- Exploring the Earliest Gospel by Rebecca McLaughlin (ages 8-12): This Bible study takes your child through the book of Mark. It includes sixty-six days of fast-paced study, and your kids will get to understand more of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. This has been our son Liam’s favorite Bible study so far. He spends 20-25 minutes each morning working through it and has enjoyed taking a deep dive into the gospel of Mark.
- What to Wear: A Kids Bible Study on Looking Like Jesus by Catherine Parks (ages 8-12): This is from the same series as Exploring the Earliest Gospel (mentioned above), but is a shorter study on Colossians 3. It’s an eight-part study of the items of “clothing” that Paul teaches about and how we put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, and love.
- God’s Story: A Study through the Old Testament and God’s Story: A Study through the New Testament by Not Consumed: These Bible studies help kids understand the gospel by showing how the entire Bible fits together into one big redemptive story. They provide history, context, and purpose to their faith and, most importantly, point kids to their need for a relationship with Jesus. We chose the Junior version, which is for ages 8-12, but there are options from Pre-K (ages 2-4) all the way to Youth Level (ages 13+) as well as a parent guide.
Sermon Notes Journal: This Sermon Notes Journal by Pip & J Papery helps kids to be attentive and engaged on Sunday mornings. It includes a year’s worth of pages to fill out and even Biblical words and definitions to help children better understand challenging theological terms they may hear during the church service. Liam has loved tucking this journal into his Bible case and bringing it to church each Sunday.
- The Kingdom of God Storybook Bibles by Lithos Kids: This set of Old and New Testament Storybook Bibles are our favorite place to start reading the Bible to kids. They are theologically sound, beautifully illustrated, and reveal Christ and his redemptive work throughout the Old and New Testaments. You can use the coupon code BRIGHTER10 for a discount on your order. This resource wouldn’t necessarily be used for independent Bible study, but is a great place to start with young kids if you’ve never read the Bible with them.
- Learning God's Story Bible Reader by My Father's World: This is the perfect Bible for beginning readers, and even includes black-and-white coloring pages throughout. Bear (age 6) reads this Bible during his afternoon rest time and I've been amazed by how much he has understood and referenced when we do our family devotions.
- Kaleidoscope books: My friends at Kaleidoscope are doing incredible work by publishing chapter books that chronicle each book of the Bible. Our kids have loved reading these books before he attempts reading the books from his Bible to gain understanding. These books are the perfect bridge between storybook Bibles and an adult translation of the Bible. You can use the coupon code BRIGHTERDAY for 25% off their resources.
- One Big Story Bible (CSB): This is an unabridged but very readable version of the Bible that includes engaging illustrations, "Christ connections" which help kids understand where Christ is found throughout Scripture, and many other features to help kids that want to dig a little deeper. Both of our kids have this Bible and I highly recommend it!
- The ESV Children’s Bible: This is the unabridged ESV Bible that Liam and Lanie bring to church (because our church uses the ESV translation). It includes full color illustrations of Bible events and character, as well as child-friendly maps, Old and New Testament timelines, and an index of key Scriptures on various topics.
What independent Bible study looks like in our home:
Liam (11) has made a habit of sneaking out of the room he shares with his siblings before they wake up and going into another room to read his Bible, work through his Bible study, and pray. This wasn't something we ever required of him; he saw it modeled in our home and we simply provided the resources he needed to make it a habit. There are days I ask him what he learned and other days, I don't. I never want his time with the Lord to feel forced or coerced. Lanie (8) has also begun to work through her Bible study resource first thing in the morning before coming downstairs.
- If you're just introducing the idea of independent Bible study for your kids, it's helpful to set a time and place for them. Is there a quiet time of day and a cozy chair they could use? Depending on the season you're in with other children, perhaps they could do their Bible study while you do yours. Even 15 quiet minutes would be a wonderful start.
- It's important to give your children an example of having a daily quiet time with God. But if they've never seen you reading the Bible, don't let that discourage you! It's never too late to start. Why not start a new habit together?
This post includes some Amazon affiliate links, and if you purchase through them, I’ll receive a small commission without additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!