A couple of weeks ago I came across a site called The Bible Project, and have just this week started the Bible reading plan (along with the accompanying videos) with my family.
This has been a real blessing in a number of ways.
First, the videos provide a visual overview of the chapters you are about to read and the overarching plots/themes. Not just visual in the plain sense of the word, but the style of drawing seems to really resonate with the kids. For example, this has stimulated and better enabled my 6-year-old son to process in his head, first, what will be subsequently read. This is his learning style.
Second, the videos have helped to present a bigger picture (of the book or series of chapters within it) and how they relate to this story of redemption as a whole.
Finally, and more simply, they act as an incentive for plowing through what the kids may describe “the less exciting chapters of the Bible.”
But hold on………. all kids like videos. What about the Bible reading itself?
Well here is what I want to discuss in this post. What exactly do my kids need in a family devotion? What do they need to get out of Bible reading?
We’ve used a number of resources from The Child’s Story Bible, The Big Picture Bible (both great resources for the yung’uns!), Marty Machowski’s Old Story New, Long Story Short, and a number of other resources. All of these are very helpful in having devotions with your children.
Yet the presupposition in all of this is that I need some resource to guide me in helping my kids think Biblically….in presenting good questions to my kids and pointing them to Jesus. I mean, who has time to prepare for devotions……..why not get a book by a trusted author and use IT to meet the need?
Another presupposition is that the Bible itself may not be enough for them, that it may come off boring or dry.
Yet, simultaneously we all believe that the God-breathed text is living and active, profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and, very importantly, for training in righteousness.
But…….I mean…….not so much for my kids as they are young, impatient, etc., right?
Well, here’s what happened:
Back to the Bible Project. I showed the first video, Genesis 1-11. It is basically a video of someone (very skilled and unique) drawing images while a man narrates. As expected, they (as all kids who love “screen time”) loved it.
We then read the first three chapters. The next day we read three more. The next day we read three, and last night we read two more.
To my surprise, we didn’t need supplements. I didn’t need to “teach” or “preach.”
Instead, my kids began ASKING alllll kinds of questions from Genesis 1-11……..deep theological discussions: Spirit babies, what it means when Adam knew his wife, why a woman takes the husband’s last name, Cain’s weapon of choice (unknown), who his wife was, Enoch’s disappearance, the Lord “regretting” his creation, Canaan’s curse, Peleg and land division, and how we should have named the fish some of the “funny” names of Genesis 10, i.e. Joktan, Diklah, Almodad, or Jobab (Joe Bob)!
In addition, the videos help to create a visual for some major theological and redemptive themes. For instance, anyone reading Genesis 1-11 knows the importance of Genesis 3:15. I’ve talked about this before. My oldest gets it, but my 6-year-old son just didn’t before. Yet after seeing this image from the video, the serpent bruising the heel and the heel (offspring) striking the head, it was easy to understand that this seed/offspring of the woman would be Jesus.
Trivial Imaginary Predicaments (TIP)
What is also amusing is having my own “quandaries” solved. I have a habit of creating insignificant, imaginary predicaments for myself on a daily basis, and they create a mild chaos for everyone but myself (because I have them all planned and solved in my head (though they only live in my head)). It drives my wife nuts. For instance:
I have always tried to do devotions at the dinner table. But how can I do this? How can I read while my family eats? How can I abstain from eating and read when my steamy food taunts me from just inches away? Can I just chew less. My kids say, “Read,” but in my mind I am on possibility #5 already. You tell me, “Simple Travis, just read after everyone is done eating.” Well, let’s just say that is impossible in my house.
Here’s another: We read together every night (well…maybe not every). Currently, we are on the last Narnia book. I get up at 4:20 every morning so we HAVE to be reading by 7:30 or 8:00. Do you see the predicament? If I try to fit Bible reading in at this time, it will interfere with our non-Bible reading! In addition, it will cut into my own personal reading that I like to do before I cut the light every night. Ahhhhhhhh. Overload!
But wait, lets revisit that. If my kids are asking every night now to read the Bible to them…….why am I even concerned with getting the Narnia book read to them? Narnia is great………but Bible is better. Second, why am I concerned about not getting my own personal reading in at night, when the alternative is that I read the Word of God before bed!!!! Sheesh!!
Ok, what was I saying.
Have you used this resource? What do you think?