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How to Use a Bible


Sometime in late childhood or the early teen years, a young person graduates, cognitively, from colorful Bible storybooks to the real thing. Many parents purchase a full-text Bible for their children at this time, or it comes as a gift at a time of Confirmation or other religious milestone.


But too many times, children receive the wrong kind of a Bible at this transition stage - too childish, or too grown-up. "Tweenies" who are between childhood and the full-blown teenager years might resent a children's Bible at this time. But an adult's Bible is too starchy and serious, for the most part. Also, many parents fail to teach their children how to use a Bible at this important time when the child is ready to become an independent Bible reader. So quite often, it just sits on a shelf.


The key for most people is knowing how to find answers in the Bible and how to apply its truths directly to one's own life. That's why a standard Bible might not be the best at this age; their study notes are usually addressed to adult concerns. There are many Bibles especially for preteens and teens that are worth looking at, especially for the life applications and commentaries that often come with them, targeted at youth.


It's boring to just read verse after verse without being able to apply the truths to real life. Just as school work needs to be relevant for the middle-schooler, Bible reading must be guided and productive to keep the young person satisfied, intrigued, and coming back for more.


That's a lot easier when the text is age-appropriate - in print that's not too small, set in columns that are easy to read. Kids just do not read as well today as in the past, so it's a good idea to choose a Bible that's as readable as possible. It might be best to go with your child and shop carefully together at a Christian bookstore. And keep in mind that there are fans of the various Bible versions, but you just can't beat the King James Version for beauty and accuracy.


Also a help is a concordance, or expanded index, that can help the young person find verses that pertain to a particular question, say on honesty or salvation or sexual purity. If the Bible you select doesn't have quite a few pages of cross-referencing help, purchase a separate concordance. If your child gets into it, you can always purchase a Bible dictionary or any number of Bible commentaries with more information and reference assistance.


Your minister would be a great source of help in designing an independent Bible study course of action with your youngster, or enroll in a Bible study course with kids his or her age.


It doesn't matter whether your child is in the Word first thing in the morning, last thing at night, or any time in between. It doesn't matter whether your child reads one verse a day, or three chapters. The most important thing is to get that young mind engaged with the Good Book. You'll be glad you did.


By Susan Darst Williams Heart Lessons 004 2006


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