Bible study with a 7 year-old can be difficult especially when your child doesn’t understand a word of what is being read. Ever wonder if there is a better Bible for your 7-year-old? I did a little research and here is what I found.
What is the best Bible for a 7-year-old child? While there are a number of children’s Bibles out there that are engaging and faith promoting, nothing will benefit your child more than the good old fashioned word of God straight from the King James translation.
I know studying the bible as a family can be tough, and that children’s bibles seem like a better alternatives to slugging through the book of Numbers with a 7-year-old child, but there really is no good substitute for the true word of God. While children’s bibles can be good supplementary material, your faith based studies should hold the scriptures as the source of knowledge.
Why We Need to Read the Bible (And Not a Children’s Version) With Our Kids
I want to say this clearly so there is no mistake in my meaning. The Bible (and not a children’s version) is the BEST Bible for your 7-year-old child to read.
I find it ironic that martyrs struggled for hundreds of years to get the word of God into the hands of common people, only to have the people smile politely and place the word on a shelf never to be touched for 40 years.
The Bible is a tough read, I know it is, but I fear too many Christians extol the virtues of the Bible without actually knowing what it says, and why it is so important to read. And why it’s important for our children to begin a habit of studying it from an early age.
Children are very imprssionable. 7-year-old children especially are excited to learn about all kinds of different subjects. They are starting to master basic reading and arithmetic skills. They are eager to learn and share what they learn with others.
Parents fear that the Bible is too difficult for their young children to understand, and let’s be honest for a second here, a lot of parents are scared that they don’t understand what is going on in the Bible either.
Parents know that reading the Bible is good, but can’t seem to see a way to explain some of the more difficult themes to their children. So they turn to an easier children’s Bible as a substitute.
Now, like I said earlier, children’s Bibles are fine though, admittedly, there are a lot (and I mean a lot!) of bad children’s Bibles out there, but some do make for good supplementary material. But they are never a substitute for the true word of God.
Remember, the Bible was written by Prophet’s and Apostles, men inspired by God to write for us in our day. I don’t think the well-intentioned writers of children’s Bibles are inspired like the Biblical authors were.
Therefore, in order to have the best Bible study in your home, there is no substitute for the word of God. In my experience, most parents understand this but struggle actually carrying out a regularly scheduled Bible study in the home. How to carry out an effective study is where we now turn our attention.
Studying the Bible at Home
Sometimes doing taxes seems more appealing than reading the Bible with your young children. The thought of sitting on a couch with a crying sticky first grader trying to read a thousand page for half an hour is enough to make anyone pray for mercy.
But as you incorporate daily Bible study into your home, I know that you will start to feel a special love in your home. It won’t be pleasant at first, and occasionaly it will seem like giving up is the better option, but sometimes you need a little perseverance to make things work.
Here are a few things that you can do to start reading the Bible with your children more often in your home.
Start while your children are young. I marveled at the faithfulness that one of professors of religion showed in reading the Bible with his family. “I read the scriptures with each of my nine kids every day.” He said with a smile. “And they hardly ever complain.”
“Well, how do you do it?” I asked, jaw open, eyes wide with wonder.
“Easy” he replied, “I started when my first was less than a year old, they’ve never known anything different!”
There is a lot of wisdom to what my professor was practicing in his home. If we establish a habit of discipleship in our children’s lives while they are young, they won’t know any other way to live when they get older.
7-years-old is not too late. Whip out your old family Bible and start reading. It doesn’t have to be for hours on end. It doesn’t even have to be from start to finish. Pick some of your favorite stories and go. Which leads to my next tip…
Study the Bible by story or principle rather than start to finish. I will say out loud what all of us are thinking. The Book of Numbers is super boring, there I said it. I know that all of the word of God is important and every book of scripture has something useful to offer, but man I feel like Eutychus whenever I read that book and I think that’s OK.
Parents, your 7-year-old child is not going to find every page of the Bible full of action and excitement, and that’s OK. Rather than reading through the technical intricacies of the Law of Moses, why not have your studies focused on what the Savior did and said?
Nowhere is it said that we are obligated to read the Bible from start to finish in one go around. If we read to our children the Bibles best stories and children, studying will be much more enjoyable.
One night you could read about Noah and the ark, and the next day talk about the missions of Paul in the New Testament. Want to talk about the importance of giving all we have to God? Try reading the story of the widow’s mite or Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac.
You will find that children, especially a 7-year-old, will respond better to an engaging story than to 13 straight chapter of who begat who.
I recommend 15 minutes of reading a chapter from the Bible, and then 15 minutes of discussing what you read. That way every day you can have a short Bible study in your home.
Give your 7-year-old their very own Bible. I’m not sure if you remember what it was like to be 7-years-old, but it is a very excitable age. I used to work in a first grade class at an elementary school and those kids would go off the walls with joy any time the teacher gave them a new pencil.
Kid’s like having things that they get to call their own, and they will be much more enthused to read the Bible if they have a copy of their very own.
Bibles can be expensive when they are bought brand-new, so don’t feel obliged to buy one hot off of the printing press. If money is an issue go to any thrift shop or anywhere that takes donated books.
I have seen beautiful Bibles in great condition sold for just a couple of bucks. Money need be no issue when it comes to studying the word of God.
Once your 7-year-old child has their own set of scriptures, take turns reading as a family. Have Dad read 4 or 5 versus and then pass it off to Mom.
Give your child a whack at reading a few versus as well. Not only will this help them adjust to the language of the scriptures, but it will also give them practice reading some difficult words as well. Trust me, their first grade teacher will be impressed.
In my family, we would always read youngest to oldest. My littlest brother would begin “reading” by about the time he turned 2 or 3. He would hold a Bible in his lap as my mother would whisper into his ear the words of the verse, which he would then repeat out loud.
My brother would then pass it on to my 5 year old sister who would read whatever few words she could, and then would pass it on to me. I would pass it to my brother, and so we would continue until we finished a chapter.
Reading the Bible will help your child exponentially more than just hearing it.
Highlight your scriptures.I remember as a youngster seeing my father, an assiduous scriptorian, come home from work, sit in his big chair, pull out his scriptures and begin to underline the dickens out of them with a bright yellow highlighter that he kept next to his Bible.
Oh boy did that get me excited as a kid. I loved to sit next to my dad and underline versus that we felt were important. Highlighting important versus is another great way to keep young children engaged during study.
If you don’t believe in highlighting your scriptures (which some people don’t and that’s OK) then just having your 7-year-old child do something with his hands can keep him focused. Consider busting out some play-do or a slinky, something quiet, to keep your child’s hands occupied.
Another great way to keep your 7-year-old child focused, is to act out the stories that you are reading. Have Dad be the wicked pharaoh and let your child be Moses and say “let my people go”.
It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Try reading through ten versus or so and then act out what you just read. Not only will this help keep your 7-year-old child engaged, but it will help them internalize the stories as well.
Establish a regular study schedule. If you put your scripture study behind everything else that you have going on in a day, then you will never have time to read. Anyone who has ever tried to get into the habit of reading can tell you this.
But if you set aside a certain time in the day every day, then you will find that reading becomes much easier.
For example, I had a friend growing up that had scripture study every morning starting at 6:30. The father would get everybody up, drag everyone into the living room, and they would read for half an hour before everyone went off to school or work.
Personally, I am not a morning person, but you can choose whatever time works best for you. In my family, we would read a chapter from the scriptures right before we went to bed. It was a good way to calm everybody down before they went to sleep.
Pick a time that works best for you and say, “Eight o’clock every night. That is when we will read the scriptures.” Or sometime in the morning or afternoon, whenever.
I can’t overstate how much better it is to read the scriptures every day. I know that sometimes other circumstances may get in the way, but you will feel a bigger impact if you can dedicate a little portion every day to reading. So give it your best shot.
Set realistic expectations. Your 7-year-old child may look like a little angel, but she doesn’t always act like one. Don’t expect your child to be a little saint every time you sit down to read.
Don’t expect perfection from yourself either. It is a blessing to read from the Bible, but sometimes it feels like a chore. It can be hard to muster enthusiasm to do something you don’t want to do.
Understanding that we are human can help us set realistic goals for our family Bible study.
I would start with the goal of reading once a day for 15 minutes. If you can’t reach that goal, try sitting down as a family and have everyone read one verse. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but anything is better than nothing.
Be persistent and your tenacity will pay off.
Good Children’s Bibles to Use as Supplementary Reading
Hopefully I have helped you understand the importance of reading the word of God in your home from the real Bible and have given you a few helpful tips on how to do it.
But, as I said, there is a time and a place for children’s Bibles. After reading from the scriptures it may be a good idea to use a children’s Bible to help explain the story you just read in a simpler way. The illustrations are helpful when visualizing the story as well.
Here are a few Children’s Bibles that are worth your consideration.
- The NIV Adventure Bible. Action packed and with great illustrations, this is a great Bible to use when teaching your child. It offers a dictionary to help you define tricky words and concepts and also has hands-on activities to help you apply Biblical truths.
- The Action Bible. The Action Bible is cool and there is no better way to say it. Written like a comic book while still using Biblical language, the adventure Bible is perfect for energetic boys. Heck, it gets me excited to thumb through the pages.
- The Jesus Storybook Bible. This children’s Bible is great because it keeps the Savior at the center of every story. It can help children connect the dots between Adam, Noah, and Jesus. The illustrations are brilliantly drawn and impactful. This is a great Bible if you as a parent need a little help in seeing how the Bible connects together.
- The Big Picture Bible. This is a great Bible for children who struggle with reading. I’m going to say it one more time, nothing is a good substitute for the real thing, but the simple words in this book are great to help your child gain a little confidence in reading. It also comes with a free audio download that your 7-year-old can read along with.
There are a lot of children’s Bibles out there and not all are of the same caliber. Try to find one that keeps God at the center of the story and encourages good moral behavior and faith in the Savior Jesus Christ.
Should I take my 7-year-old to church? It can be hard for a little kid to sit in a pew for an hour to listen to a sermon, but going to church teaches a whole bunch of life skills you won’t want your child to miss out on.
Aside from the great lessons taught, church teaches a child how to sit still and be patient. And that is a hard lesson to learn but will do them wonders in the future. Attending church services as a family will build cohesion and foster love in your family. Try to get Dad to go with you while you are at it too.