A Simple Family Bible Study Method that Always Produces Fruit

simple family bible study method that always produces fruit

My parenting journey has been peppered with amazing friends — fellow parents who, like my husband and me, long very much to “impress [God’s commandments] on [their] children.  Talk about them when [they] sit at home and when [they] walk along the road, when [they] lie down and when [they] get up” (Deuteronomy 6:7-9).

The difference between some of these sweet friends and us is that on a scale of 1-10 for family devotional creativity, they are actually on the scale; we are not.

In all fairness, I did try my hand at planning a bible study object lesson which included a lamp, unplugged. And ice cream.

{The ice cream was a last minute addition. You know, because ice cream makes everything fun, right?}

Note that I said I planned “a” bible study object lesson.  My enthusiasm waned when everyone got more excited about the ice cream than the lesson.

And that’s how it has gone for us over the years: we’d try a devotional idea here, attempt structured family Bible study time there… but we just couldn’t seem to find our rhythm.

More candidly, it seemed that no matter how hard we tried, our efforts seemed kind of lame when compared to fellow parent friends whose devotional times with their children seemed outlandishly fun and meaningful.

{Side note: it’s always a good idea to compare our parenting styles with our friends’ parenting styles, right? NOT!  But that’s the subject of another post.}

Our ideas simply didn’t measure up to the dramatic depiction of David’s slaying of Goliath {complete with homemade sling shots} or the creation of no less than 40 handcrafted Easter ornaments {each accompanied by a Bible verse, individually wrapped, ready to be opened for every day of Lent, and THEN hammered theatrically onto a handmade cross} or the Christmas Advent calendar prepared with 25 selfless acts of love to perform as a family to teach lessons in being the hands and feet of Christ.

Don’t get me wrong: I love hearing my friends’ ideas:  the grandeur!  the pomp!  the circumstance! *I* want to go their houses to participate in *their* family Bible study experiences!

{And I would, too.  Because I’m extroverted like that.  My husband, though? Not so much! But I digress…}

For years we fumbled along.  And can I just be honest?  Somewhere along the way we sort of stopped trying.  I didn’t think we could do anything that would make an impact in our family – certainly not the kind of impact that all of my friends’ activities were making on their families.

But then I started studying what the Bible teaches regarding God’s word, and I came across this verse that changed my thinking forever:

As the rain and snow come down from heaven and stay upon the ground to water the earth, and cause the grain to grow and to produce seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry, so also is my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It shall accomplish all I want it to and prosper everywhere I send it (Isaiah 55:10-11 TLB).

God’s word ALWAYS produces fruit.  ALWAYS.

Dressing it up with drama and art and activity and fun are fine options for my wildly creative friends, and it works for them! But it is ALSO okay for us to simply. read. God’s. word.

Because no matter what — whether it’s acted out or painted up or symbolized by object lessons… or plainly read out loud — God’s word will always produce fruit.

If we, too, planned on being parents who “impress [God’s commandments] on [our] children” — then we had to find a devotional method that worked for us.

As it turns out, making Bible study daily and consistent in our family meant getting ourselves a copy of a family study bible to read and discuss at breakfast every day.

photoThat’s. It.


We read a passage out loud and discuss it using questions in the study Bible. No grandeur.  No pomp.  No circumstance.  And we’re okay with it because God promises that His word will produce fruit, and so we trust that He is growing us and our kids through the discipline of digesting His word every. single. day.

If you’re studying scripture on a daily basis with your kids, would you share what you’re doing so others can hear your ideas?

If you’re not studying God’s word with your kids, may I suggest that it’s not nearly as difficult as it seems?  And in fact, God’s word clearly promises that ANY attempt you make to “send out” His word will “produce fruit.”

{Those are pretty good odds!}

Learning alongside you,


P.S. I’m sure there a lot of awesome family study bibles out there.  The one we are currently using (the one pictured above) is this: The Family Reading Bible.  Enjoy!

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  1. Thank you for this post! I thought there was something wrong with us because we couldn’t get the family object lesson-type devotionals going … Not criticising those who do, it just isn’t working for us at this point in our lives. We also went the Bible passage-reading route, followed by a discussion and prayer; although I must further confess that we don’t do it every day – about 4 times a week is what we’re managing at the moment 🙂

    1. Some Bible reading is absolutely better than no Bible reading, Belinda! (And four times a week is really good!) Plus, I hear you: there is no criticism at all for families who can consistently make the object lesson devotional style work… because I LOVE them. 🙂

  2. So true. We read a chapter out loud, the same one , for the whole week. We ask the Lord to highlight a word or phrase from the passage then individually we journal our meditations of that word. Simple but I am praying it is helping my kids (tween and teens) to take His word as life and light for themselves and listen on their own within the parameters of unity (we are all doing it) and accountability (I am going to ask them if they did it).

  3. For years we read through a basic story Bible and memorized Scripture. Last year borrowed and did a couple of weeks of Long Story Short and liked it a lot!! We bought Old Story New by Marty Machowski and have been using it every week! They have object lessons once each week but I love that we’re reading from the Bible first and then the discussion questions (and extra discussions) are what make it good for us!

    1. I’ve not heard of those resources, Kelly. I’ll have to check them out. And yessssss… Bible first, THEN the object lessons. I do love a good object lesson, it’s just that sometimes the planning of the object lesson wears me out before I begin. Haha!

  4. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I have been struggling with making God and prayer a part of our daily life with our granddaughter. This is simple and absolutely perfect! Oh, and did I say thank you…

    1. Haha, Marcia! You are welcome. 🙂 Sometimes, simple is just refreshingly helpful. I have a tendency to complicate things! I’m glad this idea will help you and your sweet granddaughter to get into God’s word!

  5. This is so perfect as I too have been struggling to find the perfect way to teach my children at home bible studies. That verse you shared makes perfect sense! Thank you

    1. That verse speaks to me every day, Tara! I’m glad it is speaking to you, too! 🙂

  6. I try to read a Proverb a day with my 5 & 2 year old. I read the chapter that corresponds with the day of the month (i.e. since today is 5/15/14, we will read Proverbs 15).

    1. I have a two-year-old, too, Annie, and it is AMAZING what they pick up even at such young ages.

  7. Hi Rhonda, thanks for the post! It was very encouraging. What age group is The Family Reading Bible geared toward? Is it an entire Bible with discussion questions? Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Elizabeth… I’m glad you were encouraged. 🙂 There isn’t an “official” age group target listed anywhere on my copy of The Family Reading Bible, but I will tell you that I have read it to my now 12-year-old for the last couple of years. I have friends who have children who are 5 and up, and they use it, too. My 2-year-old listens, but isn’t able to follow along with the questions. 🙂

      Yes… it is the entire Bible. It is broken down into a couple of different reading plans: a “short” path and a “long” path. The short path speeds through the entire Bible a little quicker and focuses mostly on the most popular themes/stories, while the longer path goes at a slower pace includes more content. Every reading has a list of discussion questions that not only check basic reading comprehension (as in what just happened in the passage we read) but also questions that go deeper (as in why does what we just read matter).

      Hope this helps!

  8. Very encouraging post. Thanks for the encouragement! I have a three and a half year old and we try to teach the basics right now. We have started with the ten commandments because that’s a good easy to understand topic. I struggle on how much to give her at this young age and would greatly appreciate any input.

    1. Hi April,

      My girls are 2 and 5. When my oldest was barely 4, she accepted Jesus. I was afraid she was too young. But, my Mom encouraged me to just answer her questions (she is extremely inquisitive) and that’s where it led to. Both of my girls have several kids Bibles that they’ve been given as gifts. They both love this Bible that they received as a gift from our Church: “A Child’s First Bible” by Kenneth N. Taylor. Here’s a link, it’s not an affiliate link or anything, just so you know the exact one I’m referring to. http://smile.amazon.com/Childs-First-Bible-CHILDS-FIRST/dp/B0029P1OY0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1426109603&sr=8-3&keywords=a+child%27s+first+bible+by+kenneth+n.+taylor+author+hardcover
      My 5 year old also received the following movie when she was almost 4 and loves it. It also prompted lots of questions about Jesus. http://smile.amazon.com/Story-Jesus-Children-Mikael-Ayele/dp/B00004YS7O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426111037&sr=8-1&keywords=the+story+of+jesus+through+the+eyes+of+children+dvd
      I would recommend that you watch it first to make sure you feel it is age appropriate for your child. I don’t usually turn the movie on when my younger daughter is around.

  9. I love it when things are easy to implement and the way you presented this study it seems so easy to get into. Just read the Bible with them and have open discussion, that’s so great. I think if some churches would do this congregant members would better understand the Word as well. I look forward to putting this into practice! Thank you for being honest about it and the encouragement to get it started! http://whatsoeverislovelyliving.com/

  10. ooh, I like the sounds of this Bible. Maybe I’ll try that when the kids and I are done.

    Here is our situation: I have five kids and the oldest is 11. Throughout the years we have not had a consistent family reading time, though we have tried off and on. Finally, a couple months ago, I said enough is enough. I sat my kids down and asked them for their input on how and what we should do. We decided on something simple: read through the Bible, starting in Genesis. Our time frame is during our afternoon snack. I read one chapter a day and we memorize a verse every two weeks. The verse comes from the section we’re in.

    We also have a visual every day. It helps them remember and understand what we are reading about. It kind of started by accident. The first day was kind of special, so I decorated the middle of the table with examples of God’s creation (food, rocks, plants, etc). It has continued since then. I do keep it pretty simple and it doesn’t take much planning. For the chapter on Sarah’s death I drew a picture of a grave stone that included Sarah’s name and age at death. The chapter about Judah’s sin included a walking stick (a large stick found in our backyard), a cord and signet (a gold ring we had on a black cord necklace).

    The kids love our time and we’ve made it more than halfway through Exodus so far!

  11. We have just in the new year started… using Keys for kids… it is a free email we get.. that has daily verse and a story…. we listen to the short audio on the site… then look up the verses in the Bible together….. We then pause for a dance party where the kids pick fave worship songs about one each because our monthly verse is Psalm 71:23…. shout and sing some praises….. when the wiggles are all out… I give them a blank paper to draw a picture and copy the verse of the day.
    Simple my kids are littles still….and I have found morning is better…. we always eat breakfast… if I put it off until bedtime… it gets pushed aside… and it starts our day off well… only 3 or 4 times a week…

  12. I use the One year Of Dinner table Devotions book. Is great with scripture and conversation starters..

  13. Thank you for this encouraging post! I believe God led me here this morning to read and be encouraged. As a homeschooling parent we have a bible curriculum and study God’s Word daily, but we also do a Bible Study lesson with our kids on Monday nights. There is a place for all the crafts, activities, etc. but our girls especially appreciate just learning about Gods Word and discussing what it means and how it applies to their daily lives and situations. I believe that focusing in on Gods Word sometimes without any “fluff” emphasizes the importance of the Word to our children.

  14. This blog post is exactly what I needed to read & I know the holy spirit led me to your blog post here today. I’ve been struggling in this area & you made it easy as pie all written here. I’m very thankful for the advice given in this article as I’m going to put this to work as of today. Thank you! I followed you on pinterest & pinned this wonderful article God bless you Sincerely Crystal & family

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