How Young Should I Start Reading the Bible with My Kids?

by Eden Parker at
| Time: 4 Minutes

You want to start reading the Bible with your kids. You see that family worship is a valuable endeavor, and you want your faith in Jesus and love for God’s Word to be part of the culture in your home. But you wonder, how young should I start reading the Bible with my kids?

You may be a parent with just one child—maybe a newborn—and wonder when it’s time to introduce them to the Bible. Or, you may have many kids, and wonder how to include the littlest ones in your family discussions about the Bible.

Rather than chart out the age-appropriateness of various family worship routines, I’d like to give you a few inspiring examples of how families have creatively helped their littlest ones engage with God’s Word. We believe that no one is too young to encounter and enjoy God’s Word. Our answer to how young your kid should be when you begin reading God’s Word with them is younger than you think. Let me give you some examples of how you might read the Bible with your littlest ones, and then offer you a new perspective on reading the Bible with your kids.

Pray for Their Understanding

My high school mentor has three little girls. Each time one was born, Danielle bought a journaling Bible for her daughter. During their nap times as infants, she spent time praying for them and journaling in the margins of their Bible. While they are too little to understand Scripture, she prays for them to understand it when they grow older. When they each turn 16, she will give them their respective journaling Bible.

Danielle committed to spending time with the Lord from her daughters’ earliest days and saw nap time as a time to invest in their spiritual growth before they were able to understand God’s Word at all.

Read Age-Appropriate Bible Stories

A young couple, who are friends of mine, would sit their firstborn on their lap from when he was as young as six months old and read him a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible. Then they would pray with him and sing a song before putting him to sleep. By the time this little boy James was a year old, Bible time with Mom and Dad was as natural to him as brushing his teeth.

Invite Them to Listen and Respond

A college Bible professor I had would read the Bible at the dinner table with his family of 6, and ask everyone around the table, “What is one thing you heard?” He would ask the same question to his two-year-old daughter, who would often just utter one word or phrase. But it encouraged her to listen, and participate, and she often understood more than her parents expected!

Play Scripture Memory Songs

Lastly, I’ll give an account from my own life. As an adult, there are times I’ll recall a Bible verse at just the right time, but not just any Bible verse! A verse put to song. I will recall a Scripture memory song I learned while young enough to be in a car seat with a pacifier. That song will speak truth to my soul and refresh my heart, guard me against an ungodly decision, or direct me to obey the Lord. When my mom would play the Hide ‘Em in Your Heart album, perhaps even before I could understand Bible stories, she was hiding Scripture in my little heart (Psalm 119:11) and equipping me for life. Your kids may be toddlers who can’t endure an entire chapter of the Bible. But their memories may soak up one Bible verse at a time through songs that they will remember well into adulthood.

A New Perspective on Reading the Bible

I hope those ideas were helpful to you, and encouraged you to think of creative ways to share God’s Word with your youngest children. In addition to those ideas, I thought this simple analogy might also be helpful to you as you consider when to begin reading the Bible with your child.

Let’s say there is a beautiful mountain you love to hike. The trail is very near to your home. It’s your favorite place on the planet and brings you more joy than being anywhere else.

Well, you have your first child. You could ask, “When is my kid old enough to hike this mountain?” But, if that mountain hike is your favorite activity in the whole world, you won’t ask this question.

You will likely start driving past the trailhead now and again and telling your infant what a precious place it is, just like you tell them about all other sorts of things they don’t understand, but you tell them anyways because you love to show them the world.

Then, you may eventually get your baby into one of the slings you carry on your back and walk the first mile of the hike with them. When they’re a toddler, you may have them walk that first mile or so, carrying them occasionally. Eventually, they’ll be old enough to hike with you, and may even run ahead on the trail.

Instead of seeing the Bible as a mountain your little guy or gal isn’t fit to climb, see it as somewhere you’d like them to see, know, and love, no matter how capable they may be.

The things that most delight us, we don’t consider when our kids are old enough to enjoy them. Instead, we often try to age-appropriate the activity so they might enjoy it with us. Dads that like golf get their sons little miniature golf sets. Moms that enjoy cooking let their daughters help stir and mix and maybe one day chop. And parents who love Jesus invite their kids to know him too.

We love the Bible because there we experience the glory of Jesus. You can introduce your little one to Jesus and his Word as soon as they’re born. And this will be your natural inclination if being with the Lord himself is your favorite place to be.

Don’t worry about the age or capability of your kid. Just share with them the Scriptures that delight your own soul. In time, they may venture with you into them.

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