[Repost] Know the Word of God

(Note: These are my modified notes from a Kids’ Catechesis lesson I taught in January 2013 at SJCC)

Q.112: How do we know the Word of God?

A. We are commanded to hear, read, and search the Scriptures.

2Timothy 3:14-17; Acts 17:11; 1Timothy 4:13

Memorize Scripture

2Timothy 3:14-17

14You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (NASB).

Paul’s disciple Timothy had a godly mother and grandmother who cared for him enough to teach him what the Bible said (2Timothy 1:5; 3:15). At that time, the only Scripture they had available to them was the Old Testament, but Timothy was taught from the Old Testament nonetheless. His mother and grandmother read to him and probably had him memorize large portions of Scripture, much like how we have our children memorize things like the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23.

Why do we have our children memorize Scripture? We have them memorize Scripture so that they can have it in their minds and in their hearts for when they need it most. “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11; NASB). When we are confronted with temptation, it is good for us to have memorized the word of God so that we can remember it and not sin.

When Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by Satan, Satan tried to convince Jesus to do what he wanted Him to do by quoting improperly interpreted Scripture to Him. Jesus, having memorized Scripture Himself, was able to respond with correctly interpreted Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11). If we want to be like Jesus and not sin, we need to treasure God’s word in our hearts. We need to memorize Scripture.

Search Scripture

Timothy’s mother and grandmother likely used other methods to train him in the word. It is likely that he was shown how to search the Scriptures to see if the things he was being taught were true. After all, Paul wrote to him: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2Timothy 3:16-17; NASB). Timothy needed to know how to search “all Scripture.” We also have other examples of godly men and women searching the Scriptures to see if they were being taught truth.

Acts 17:11

Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (NASB).

The church at Berea were considered “noble-minded” by Luke, the author of Acts, because “they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether [the things the apostles were teaching them] were so.” No one is expected to just take the teachings of a man at face-value. We must believe only those religious teachings that line up with the word of God. If it does not line up with God’s word, it is not true.

Why do we need to test truth claims with the Bible? God’s word is the final authority on all matters to do with faith and obedience (LBCF 1677/1689, Chapter 1, Paragraph 1). If we want to know what we should believe about God, the Christian life, and the church, we must read the Bible. If we want to know how to obey God and glorify Him, we must read the Bible. This does not mean we cannot trust what men say about God to be true, but God expects us to take what we learn about Him from men and compare it to the Bible to make sure it is the truth.

Read Scripture

Of course, Timothy could not have learned to search the Scriptures if he had not first read Scripture. Many of our children are learning to read. But do we know why we have historically placed such an emphasis on literacy in Western societies? In the 16th century, a man named Martin Luther translated the New Testament into the language of his people. It was the first time since the Latin Vulgate, at the beginning of the Middle Ages, that the entire New Testament had been translated into the common language.

Luther was so eager to see how the people of his country were learning from this New Testament that he went on a tour of his native Saxony. To his surprise, most of them had not even begun to read his translation of the New Testament. The reason: most of the people of Saxony could not read! Appalled, Luther wrote to the princes of Saxony and told them that they had a duty to God to educate the people so that they could read God’s word. This was the beginning of the modern education movement. We need to learn to read so that we can read God’s word.

It’s not just important that we learn how to read God’s word. It’s important that we start to read it regularly. Our church has started a Bible reading campaign this year and many of our members are taking part in it. We are encouraging parents to read the Bible with their families every night. Each of our members is encouraged, regardless of the reading plan they use, to “cherish the word of God,” “teach [their] children the word of God,” and “engage in regular Bible reading.” It is very important that we read the Bible regularly.

Hear Scripture

1Timothy 4:13

Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (NASB).

Even if our children can’t read, yet, or if they can’t read well, they can still hear the word of God. They can hear the word of God in their homes, they can recite to themselves the passages we have them memorize, and they can sit under the preached word at church. At SJCC, when our pastor gets up to preach, we read a passage of the Bible, first. Then, he explains what we’ve just read. This is a perfect time for our children to hear the word of God.

Also, as their parents, we all know how to read and yet we come every week to hear the word of God. Why do we come to hear the word of God preached if we can just read it? God speaks to us in a special way when we come to hear His word proclaimed on the Lord’s Day. It is very important that we be attentive in these times. We can listen, take notes, and discuss our families’ questions about the sermon when we get home. These things are very important for our relationships with God. As we grow in our knowledge of God, we will grow in our relationship with Him, too.

Meditate on Scripture

Psalm 1:2

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.” (NASB).

According to Psalm 1, the righteous man meditates on God’s law day and night. If we want to be like the righteous man, we ought to meditate on God’s law ourselves. The Scripture we memorize, the Scripture we search, the Scripture we read, and the Scripture we hear… upon these things we are called to meditate day and night.

In meditating on God’s word, we will have effectively stored it up as treasure in our hearts. We will find ourselves thinking about, talking about, and even singing about God’s word throughout the day. As we learn to think, speak, and do the things written in God’s word, we will draw closer to Him and be less and less inclined toward sin. These are the things Paul wanted Timothy to dwell on as he ministered to the church of God at Ephesus.

Repost: Dispelling Myths About Teaching Children’s Sunday School

One of the hardest tasks a Children’s Ministry director has to accomplish is the finding of volunteers. It seems that sometimes it’s hair-pulling, teeth-grinding work to try to get people to volunteer their time and talents. This is true both inside and outside of the church. And let’s face it, I’m no Stalin. I couldn’t inspire water to flow downstream.

Having given this topic much thought, though, I discovered there are basically seven myths about volunteering for a Children’s Sunday School that must be dispelled in order to make the decision easier for many church members. This is not an indictment against any church member who has had these concerns, though. I had many very similar concerns before I started volunteering for the Children’s Ministry at my church. Nevertheless, they are erroneous and must be dispelled.

1. I have to be a genius to do that.

It is quite common to feel a sense of inadequacy when witnessing what you perceive as “true greatness” at work. Everyone has been there. When the guy who normally speaks in NLT suddenly prays for 10 minutes straight in KJV, after which no one has the gall to follow. Far too often we compare ourselves to the speakers rather than the audience. In prayer, our audience is God, so we should have a sense of inadequacy regardless of who precedes us in our prayers. However, an adult should have nothing to fear in teaching those of the next generation, regardless of the education and spiritual prowess of those who teach alongside him. We all have knowledge and wisdom to pass along to the next generation; let us not be hindered by constantly comparing ourselves to those in our own. 

2. I have to have kids of my own in order to teach other people’s kids.

Granted, it certainly seems to comport with common sense that parents, the people who benefit the most from the Children’s Ministry, should always be the first to consider and pray about volunteering for it. However, some of the best people who work with kids do not have kids or, at least, not yet. In my undergraduate studies, I had many fellow students who were either youth ministers or went on to be, or went on to become teachers and substitute teachers in primary schools, most of which did not have kids and / or were not married. There is no parental prerequisite for working with children. 

3. I have to be uniquely gifted to work with kids.

There is no “gift of working with kids” listed in the Bible. My wife and I struggled with this one. For years I heard the plea from the pulpit for more volunteers in the Children’s Ministry, but I would tell myself, “I’m just not sure that’s my gift.” Eventually, it occurred to me just how unbiblical that was. Children’s Ministry is not a spiritual gift.

On the flip side, however, I do think it is important for men who think they are called to ministry to be exercising their gifts in some way already before they are ordained to the ministry. Let’s face it, preaching opportunities don’t just appear out of thin air for pastoral students of the Reformed, Confessional Baptist persuasion. If a young man thinks himself called to the ministry and does not otherwise have opportunities to preach and teach, one way he can exercise his gift is to volunteer for Children’s Ministry. A man who is afforded few other opportunities and persistently refuses to take advantage of this opportunity to exercise his gift likely does not truly have the gift. 

4. It would take too much time out of my already busy week.

Depending on your level of theological exposure / education, this may be true at first. Some may have to spend hours preparing every week in order to come up with a decent 30 minute lesson on even the most basic truths. Over time, however, it gets much easier to prepare for the lesson. If your church uses a catechism, as our church does, many of the Scripture references you will need for your preparation should already be provided in the Scripture citations after each answer. Other more seasoned volunteers are also a great help in this area of lesson preparation. 

5. The Children’s Ministry is the least important part of our church.

Granted, many parents treat children’s ministries like Sunday daycares. However, those of us who actually catechize our children in the home find children’s Sunday school to be of great value. The kids are able to get together and get deeper teaching on the things they are hopefully learning at home, and they experience the value of the catechism answers they are memorizing with their parents in a classroom environment. Most importantly, the truths they are being taught at home are being reinforced by other adults within the church. Such reinforcement is of immense value to the catechizing parent. 

6. That’s the parents’ job.

Then we have the arguments often made by many within the Family Integrated Church (FIC) movement that the teaching that takes place in children’s ministries really should be done by the parents. In large part, I agree with the FIC on this point. Parents should never leave the spiritual training and nurture of their children up to children’s ministry volunteers. Such training and nurture is primarily the responsibility of the parents.

However, the Bible does not present such a rift between the authority of the church and the authority of the parents as is presented in many FIC churches today. Paul writes directly to the children on a couple different occasions in the Bible (Eph. 6:1-3; Col. 3:20). This is not seen as a usurpation of parental authority, but a reinforcement of it. As such, he demonstrates a very important truth: parents who have covenanted with a church and have come under its authority should take no issue with subjecting themselves as well as their children to its teaching.

To argue against allowing their kids to be taught by the church, the same church that is teaching them, is to demonstrate a general lack of teachability. Hence, often times families who have been heavily influenced by the FIC will join non-FIC churches and war with them relentlessly over their children’s ministries. In doing so, they show themselves not only to be unteachable, but also divisive. Yes, the parents ought to teach their own children in their homes, but the church has a responsibility as well, and that responsibility is to be respected. For more on this subject, read my church’s Philosophy of Children’s Ministry. 

7. There are many people in the church more qualified than I am.

If redemptive history proves anything, it proves that God does not always use the most qualified people to get the job done. In fact, He does not even always use the most willing (see Jonah). Often times, the most qualified people are the most unwilling to be used by God. God uses both the talented, unwilling servant, and the untalented, willing servant to accomplish His ends.

This is why we should be open-minded about where God may be leading us to serve when we pray about where we should serve in His local church. God uses fallen, ill-qualified, unwise laymen to accomplish the most amazing things in His kingdom. Might you be the next weak, ill-prepared, under-qualified, imperfect vessel He uses to help raise up the next generation of saints in His local church?

Repost: A Philosophy of Children’s Ministry

A few years ago, I would never have thought I would be posting something like this. My sympathies toward the Family Integrated Movement resulted in somewhat of a suspicion toward children’s ministries and youth groups. After taking the reigns of my church’s children’s ministry a couple years ago, I started to research the issue. The following post is a result. This is our church’s new Philosophy of Children’s Ministry with Scripture citations. I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

Our Philosophy of Children’s Ministry –

Sovereign Joy Community Church has a high view of the family, and our families have a high view of the local church. The primary place God has ordained for the spiritual teaching and training of children is the family,1 and the primary goal of that spiritual teaching and training is to make of them disciples of Christ equipped for service in His local church.2 Further, the church has an obligation to teach and instruct not only parents but children as well.3 Therefore, the substance4 and methods5 of our Children’s Ministry are designed to support the families of Sovereign Joy as they seek to raise their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4b; NASB).

1Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Proverbs 1:8-9; 3:1-12; Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20

2Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-16; 2Timothy 1:5; 3:14

3Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20

4By substance, we mean the doctrines and practices we teach.

5By methods, we mean the way in which we teach our doctrines and practices.

How do we do this?

  • Over the centuries, catechisms have proven to be a useful means of passing biblical truths along from generation to generation. Therefore, we use A Catechism for Boys and Girls (Carey Publications) as our primary means of instruction in our children’s Sunday school.
  • By using the catechism in Sunday school and providing free copies of it to all our covenanted parents, we encourage catechesis in the home.
  • Our teachers are expected to develop and present a rough exposition of the questions and answers provided in the catechism.
  • Once a month, the children will also be taught a church history lesson that is meant to help them to understand the historical context of the biblical truths they are learning in the catechism.
  • The children are also encouraged to memorize large portions of Scripture (the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23, the Beatitudes, etc.) and parents to work with their children in this endeavor.

Dispelling Myths About Teaching Children’s Sunday School

One of the hardest tasks a Children’s Ministry director has to accomplish is the finding of volunteers. It seems that sometimes it’s hair-pulling, teeth-grinding work to try to get people to volunteer their time and talents. This is true both inside and outside of the church. And let’s face it, I’m no Stalin. I couldn’t inspire water to flow downstream.

Having given this topic much thought, though, I discovered there are basically seven myths about volunteering for a Children’s Sunday School that must be dispelled in order to make the decision easier for many church members. This is not an indictment against any church member who has had these concerns, though. I had many very similar concerns before I started volunteering for the Children’s Ministry at my church. Nevertheless, they are erroneous and must be dispelled.

1. I have to be a genius to do that.

It is quite common to feel a sense of inadequacy when witnessing what you perceive as “true greatness” at work. Everyone has been there. When the guy who normally speaks in NLT suddenly prays for 10 minutes straight in KJV, after which no one has the gall to follow. Far too often we compare ourselves to the speakers rather than the audience. In prayer, our audience is God, so we should have a sense of inadequacy regardless of who precedes us in our prayers. However, an adult should have nothing to fear in teaching those of the next generation, regardless of the education and spiritual prowess of those who teach alongside him. We all have knowledge and wisdom to pass along to the next generation; let us not be hindered by constantly comparing ourselves to those in our own. 

2. I have to have kids of my own in order to teach other people’s kids.

Granted, it certainly seems to comport with common sense that parents, the people who benefit the most from the Children’s Ministry, should always be the first to consider and pray about volunteering for it. However, some of the best people who work with kids do not have kids or, at least, not yet. In my undergraduate studies, I had many fellow students who were either youth ministers or went on to be, or went on to become teachers and substitute teachers in primary schools, most of which did not have kids and / or were not married. There is no parental prerequisite for working with children. 

3. I have to be uniquely gifted to work with kids.

There is no “gift of working with kids” listed in the Bible. My wife and I struggled with this one. For years I heard the plea from the pulpit for more volunteers in the Children’s Ministry, but I would tell myself, “I’m just not sure that’s my gift.” Eventually, it occurred to me just how unbiblical that was. Children’s Ministry is not a spiritual gift.

On the flip side, however, I do think it is important for men who think they are called to ministry to be exercising their gifts in some way already before they are ordained to the ministry. Let’s face it, preaching opportunities don’t just appear out of thin air for pastoral students of the Reformed, Confessional Baptist persuasion. If a young man thinks himself called to the ministry and does not otherwise have opportunities to preach and teach, one way he can exercise his gift is to volunteer for Children’s Ministry. A man who is afforded few other opportunities and persistently refuses to take advantage of this opportunity to exercise his gift likely does not truly have the gift. 

4. It would take too much time out of my already busy week.

Depending on your level of theological exposure / education, this may be true at first. Some may have to spend hours preparing every week in order to come up with a decent 30 minute lesson on even the most basic truths. Over time, however, it gets much easier to prepare for the lesson. If your church uses a catechism, as our church does, many of the Scripture references you will need for your preparation should already be provided in the Scripture citations after each answer. Other more seasoned volunteers are also a great help in this area of lesson preparation. 

5. The Children’s Ministry is the least important part of our church.

Granted, many parents treat children’s ministries like Sunday daycares. However, those of us who actually catechize our children in the home find children’s Sunday school to be of great value. The kids are able to get together and get deeper teaching on the things they are hopefully learning at home, and they experience the value of the catechism answers they are memorizing with their parents in a classroom environment. Most importantly, the truths they are being taught at home are being reinforced by other adults within the church. Such reinforcement is of immense value to the catechizing parent. 

6. That’s the parents’ job.

Then we have the arguments often made by many within the Family Integrated Church (FIC) movement that the teaching that takes place in children’s ministries really should be done by the parents. In large part, I agree with the FIC on this point. Parents should never leave the spiritual training and nurture of their children up to children’s ministry volunteers. Such training and nurture is primarily the responsibility of the parents.

However, the Bible does not present such a rift between the authority of the church and the authority of the parents as is presented in many FIC churches today. Paul writes directly to the children on a couple different occasions in the Bible (Eph. 6:1-3; Col. 3:20). This is not seen as a usurpation of parental authority, but a reinforcement of it. As such, he demonstrates a very important truth: parents who have covenanted with a church and have come under its authority should take no issue with subjecting themselves as well as their children to its teaching.

To argue against allowing their kids to be taught by the church, the same church that is teaching them, is to demonstrate a general lack of teachability. Hence, often times families who have been heavily influenced by the FIC will join non-FIC churches and war with them relentlessly over their children’s ministries. In doing so, they show themselves not only to be unteachable, but also divisive. Yes, the parents ought to teach their own children in their homes, but the church has a responsibility as well, and that responsibility is to be respected. For more on this subject, read my church’s Philosophy of Children’s Ministry. 

7. There are many people in the church more qualified than I am.

If redemptive history proves anything, it proves that God does not always use the most qualified people to get the job done. In fact, He does not even always use the most willing (see Jonah). Often times, the most qualified people are the most unwilling to be used by God. God uses both the talented, unwilling servant, and the untalented, willing servant to accomplish His ends.

This is why we should be open-minded about where God may be leading us to serve when we pray about where we should serve in His local church. God uses fallen, ill-qualified, unwise laymen to accomplish the most amazing things in His kingdom. Might you be the next weak, ill-prepared, under-qualified, imperfect vessel He uses to help raise up the next generation of saints in His local church?

A Philosophy of Children’s Ministry

A few years ago, I would never have thought I would be posting something like this. My sympathies toward the Family Integrated Movement resulted in somewhat of a suspicion toward children’s ministries and youth groups. After taking over the children’s ministry last year, I started to research the issue. The following post is a result. This is our church’s new Philosophy of Children’s Ministry with Scripture citations. I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

Our Philosophy of Children’s Ministry –

Sovereign Joy Community Church has a high view of the family, and our families have a high view of the local church. The primary place God has ordained for the spiritual teaching and training of children is the family,1 and the primary goal of that spiritual teaching and training is to make of them disciples of Christ equipped for service in His local church.2 Further, the church has an obligation to teach and instruct not only parents but children as well.3 Therefore, the substance4 and methods5 of our Children’s Ministry are designed to support the families of Sovereign Joy as they seek to raise their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4b; NASB).

1Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Proverbs 1:8-9; 3:1-12; Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20

2Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-16; 2Timothy 1:5; 3:14

3Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20

4By substance, we mean the doctrines and practices we teach.

5By methods, we mean the way in which we teach our doctrines and practices.

How do we do this?

  • Over the centuries, catechisms have proven to be a useful means of passing biblical truths along from generation to generation. Therefore, we use A Catechism for Boys and Girls (Carey Publications) as our primary means of instruction in our children’s Sunday school.
  • By using the catechism in Sunday school and providing free copies of it to all our covenanted parents, we encourage catechesis in the home.
  • Our teachers are expected to develop and present a rough exposition of the questions and answers provided in the catechism.
  • Once a month, the children will also be taught a church history lesson that is meant to help them to understand the historical context of the biblical truths they are learning in the catechism.
  • The children are also encouraged to memorize large portions of Scripture (the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23, the Beatitudes, etc.) and parents to work with their children in this endeavor.

Know the Word of God

(Note: These are my modified notes from this past week‘s Kids’ Catechesis lesson at SJCC)

Q.112: How do we know the Word of God?

A. We are commanded to hear, read, and search the Scriptures.

2Timothy 3:14-17; Acts 17:11; 1Timothy 4:13

Memorize Scripture

2Timothy 3:14-17

14You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (NASB).

Paul’s disciple Timothy had a godly mother and grandmother who cared for him enough to teach him what the Bible said (2Timothy 1:5; 3:15). At that time, the only Scripture they had available to them was the Old Testament, but Timothy was taught from the Old Testament nonetheless. His mother and grandmother read to him and probably had him memorize large portions of Scripture, much like how we have our children memorize things like the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23.

Why do we have our children memorize Scripture? We have them memorize Scripture so that they can have it in their minds and in their hearts for when they need it most. “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11; NASB). When we are confronted with temptation, it is good for us to have memorized the word of God so that we can remember it and not sin.

When Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by Satan, Satan tried to convince Jesus to do what he wanted Him to do by quoting improperly interpreted Scripture to Him. Jesus, having memorized Scripture Himself, was able to respond with correctly interpreted Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11). If we want to be like Jesus and not sin, we need to treasure God’s word in our hearts. We need to memorize Scripture.

Search Scripture

Timothy’s mother and grandmother likely used other methods to train him in the word. It is likely that he was shown how to search the Scriptures to see if the things he was being taught were true. After all, Paul wrote to him: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2Timothy 3:16-17; NASB). Timothy needed to know how to search “all Scripture.” We also have other examples of godly men and women searching the Scriptures to see if they were being taught truth.

Acts 17:11

Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (NASB).

The church at Berea were considered “noble-minded” by Luke, the author of Acts, because “they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether [the things the apostles were teaching them] were so.” No one is expected to just take the teachings of a man at face-value. We must believe only those religious teachings that line up with the word of God. If it does not line up with God’s word, it is not true.

Why do we need to test truth claims with the Bible? God’s word is the final authority on all matters to do with faith and obedience (LBCF 1677/1689, Chapter 1, Paragraph 1). If we want to know what we should believe about God, the Christian life, and the church, we must read the Bible. If we want to know how to obey God and glorify Him, we must read the Bible. This does not mean we cannot trust what men say about God to be true, but God expects us to take what we learn about Him from men and compare it to the Bible to make sure it is the truth.

Read Scripture

Of course, Timothy could not have learned to search the Scriptures if he had not first read Scripture. Many of our children are learning to read. But do we know why we have historically placed such an emphasis on literacy in Western societies? In the 16th century, a man named Martin Luther translated the New Testament into the language of his people. It was the first time since the Latin Vulgate, at the beginning of the Middle Ages, that the entire New Testament had been translated into the common language.

Luther was so eager to see how the people of his country were learning from this New Testament that he went on a tour of his native Saxony. To his surprise, most of them had not even begun to read his translation of the New Testament. The reason: most of the people of Saxony could not read! Appalled, Luther wrote to the princes of Saxony and told them that they had a duty to God to educate the people so that they could read God’s word. This was the beginning of the modern education movement. We need to learn to read so that we can read God’s word.

It’s not just important that we learn how to read God’s word. It’s important that we start to read it regularly. Our church has started a Bible reading campaign this year and many of our members are taking part in it. We are encouraging parents to read the Bible with their families every night. Each of our members is encouraged, regardless of the reading plan they use, to “cherish the word of God,” “teach [their] children the word of God,” and “engage in regular Bible reading.” It is very important that we read the Bible regularly.

Hear Scripture

1Timothy 4:13

Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (NASB).

Even if our children can’t read, yet, or if they can’t read well, they can still hear the word of God. They can hear the word of God in their homes, they can recite to themselves the passages we have them memorize, and they can sit under the preached word at church. At SJCC, when our pastor gets up to preach, we read a passage of the Bible, first. Then, he explains what we’ve just read. This is a perfect time for our children to hear the word of God.

Also, as their parents, we all know how to read and yet we come every week to hear the word of God. Why do we come to hear the word of God preached if we can just read it? God speaks to us in a special way when we come to hear His word proclaimed on the Lord’s Day. It is very important that we be attentive in these times. We can listen, take notes, and discuss our families’ questions about the sermon when we get home. These things are very important for our relationships with God. As we grow in our knowledge of God, we will grow in our relationship with Him, too.

Meditate on Scripture

Psalm 1:2

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.” (NASB).

According to Psalm 1, the righteous man meditates on God’s law day and night. If we want to be like the righteous man, we ought to meditate on God’s law ourselves. The Scripture we memorize, the Scripture we search, the Scripture we read, and the Scripture we hear… upon these things we are called to meditate day and night.

In meditating on God’s word, we will have effectively stored it up as treasure in our hearts. We will find ourselves thinking about, talking about, and even singing about God’s word throughout the day. As we learn to think, speak, and do the things written in God’s word, we will draw closer to Him and be less and less inclined toward sin. These are the things Paul wanted Timothy to dwell on as he ministered to the church of God at Ephesus.