Something that I’ve been working on over the last few years was my struggle to get my family to enjoy Bible reading as much as I do. While I understand that, initially, some of its concepts can be hard to grasp and some of the wording can be a little hard to wrap your brain around, the overarching benefit from daily Bible study is something that I cannot imagine going without. I tried everything I could think of, from giving them a daily reading plan, to guilting them into it (honestly, to my shame), to reading at home aloud so that they could listen to it, to trying to lead them into a competition (as we are very competitive) as to who could keep it up the longest. In all of these instances, it has proven to be very difficult to maintain. While my daily reading continues unabated, my family, outside of my son, was not sticking with it at all.
That’s when a new idea popped up. I’ve been reading using the M’Cheyne reading plan for the last two years. It is broken into four parts read daily and, throughout the year, it provides you with the opportunity to read the Old Testament once, and the New Testament and Psalms twice. Through October into the end of December, I was doing my normal daily reading and my son was reading the fourth portion along with me. At the beginning of this year I decided that it would be a good idea to read the first three parts alone, but the fourth with my family. I would not fret too much if we slip for a few days with the understanding that we’d catch up shortly. That said, January 1 we began in the book of Acts.
We took turns reading and when we came to a significant point I’d stop us and discuss it. Once we hit the book of Romans, I started reading more on my own, simply because there was so much content to cover and so many things to explain. While it offers many teachable opportunities in the text, it also affords us the ability to explore topics that often go unmentioned due to time constraints or an unwillingness to approach certain topics. For instance, I can say with certainty that my own father would never approach the topic of Christian sexuality with me, or the defense of marriage from a Biblical perspective, even as he was (before his renouncing of his Christian faith) the spiritual “leader” of my family when I was growing up. It usually takes about 15-20 minutes to tackle a chapter, sometimes more depending on the content. Last night, however, we were four chapters behind due to conflicts in our personal life, and we’ve just not been able to get together to read at a reasonable time. That meant that we were able to sit down and, over the course of 90 minutes explore the riches of the seventh through tenth chapters of 1st Corinthians. What did that look like? Here are the topics that we were able to discuss in detail:
- Things my kids and I discussed last night while reading 1 Cor 7-10:
- Christian marriage, sexuality, and how the two are related
- The purpose of sex, when it is appropriate, and how God ordains it for our good and his glory
- When and who it is appropriate to marry
- When marriage may not be appropriate
- Moses as a Christ-figure, and Israel’s time in Egypt, passing through the Red Sea, time in the wilderness, and Canaan as a picture of salvation that God provides:
- Egypt as us trapped in our sins
- Plagues as God working in our lives to direct us to salvation
- Final plague as God making the payment for our sins through the passover
- Passing through the Red Sea as our baptism – death to our old lives and alive to Christ in the new
- Wilderness time as our time of waiting on God and trusting in him for the salvation to come – sanctifying us while we wait on our new lives in Heaven
- Canaan as Heaven – God’s promises fulfilled and he dwells among us.
- Christian service
- Payment for leaders in the church or in Christian ministries
- When/What NOT to eat: serving our brothers and sisters by refraining from engaging in our freedom to partake of all things in moderation while in the presence (or possible presence) of brothers or sisters who may stumble in their walk because of our freedom to partake in certain things that they may have troubled consciences over
I would never, in a thousand years, give up the opportunity to discuss these things with my children. Granted mine are eleven and fourteen and I understand that it may be beneficial to think ahead about what you are going to say based on the content being discussed, but when it comes down to it, we are the ones who are charged with teaching them the things of the kingdom of God, not our pastors, and not their teachers. Can there be any higher calling?
What about you? Do you have family devotion time? What does that look like for you?