How to get your kids to read the Bible

Let’s face it, as teenagers go our students these days are extremely busy. Soccer. Hockey. Band. Soccer. Girl Scouts. Boy Scouts. Soccer. Dance team. Cheerleaders. Soccer. Soccer. And all of that is before we even get around to school work, and the crushing weight of homework.

So into that busy schedule, imagine if you will, that you would like your student to carry a familiarity with the ancient and holy text of our faith: How do you get your student to read the Bible more?

For one thing, it feels a bit like homework when we frame it that way, doesn’t it? Make sure you eat your vegetables, that sort of thing. Plus there’s no quiz coming up on biblical content, at least not from this particular youth group, so even if you were to do your homework there’s not a whole lot that would compel you to read.

But what if we framed it another way. What if instead of framing reading the Bible as if it were homework, we used the Bible as a tool for prayer?

There are two tools that we have been using in the confirmation class that I think would benefit students of all ages, as well as their parents. The first is a handy reading list called the Daily Lectionary ( The Daily Lectionary contains a series of morning Psalms, evening Psalms, an Old Testament Lesson, a New Testament Lesson, and a Gospel reading. Each collection of readings takes about 10-15 minutes to get through, so it’s not a tremendous commitment. Plus, at the end of two years, you will have read through the entirety of the Bible!

To go with the Daily Lectionary, I prefer a reading style known throughout Church history as Lectio Divina. In Lectio, we don’t read the text for information, we read it to hear the voice of God speaking in and through us. So we read slowly, and in fact we read a single verse three times. The first time we just read to get the broad strokes. The second, we read to see if a word or phrase pokes or prods at us. The third time, we put that word or phrase into the larger context of the text. When we do it right, and when we do it in a spirit of prayer, you’d be amazed how frequently God speaks to God’s people through the pages of the scripture.

Most confirmation students start this process out feeling like the Daily Lectionary is a burden, it’s tough to find the time for it, it’s easy to forget a day here and there. But those for whom this has become a habit and a discipline, the Dailies (as some of us affectionately call them) are a rewarding and refreshing addition to our prayer lives!

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