Dictionary Or Living Word: 3 Steps To Bringing Bible Reading To Life

I’m happy to introduce Brad Klassen, and I welcome him as my guest blogger today. Brad is an author, speaker, and story teller, and he has a passion to share his knowledge and thoughts on parenting, as well as offer some insights on how to build your children’s love for Jesus.

Today he offers tips on how we can bring the Bible to life and to help people grow in their walk with Jesus. You may subscribe to his mailing list and receive a free PDF on 17 Practical Ways to Grow Your Child’s Love for Jesus on his website at adventuresofjuniorbear.weebly.com.  

Coming out of the Christmas season, I am guessing you saw one.

You know. One of those plays where children dress up in house coat robes and beach towel head wear, go up on stage, and forget their lines all to bring a Bible story to life.

As a parent myself, I’ve seen them. The kids are so cute, right?!

Why is it that there is only one story and one time of year where we do this in our church culture? Is there, after all, only one Bible story to bring to life? Is that the way our kids will understand the most beautiful Book we can know?

Over the last 15 years, as I have spoken to many people, I have seen something that has caught my attention: We don’t read the Bible very well.

What I mean by that is we don’t read it with the emotion that is in there.

I grew up hearing the Bible read aloud like it was a dictionary, in a monotone drone that only masked the noise of a furnace hum.  Does that sound like fun? In fact, if I was playing a specific word spelling game with little wooden tiles, I’ve probably read the dictionary with more emotion as I tried to justify my triple word score.

Hebrews 4:12 says:

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (NIV, emphasis added)

Those are some pretty descriptive words. Quite the opposite of what I had heard when someone read it to me.

So is it? Is it alive and active?

How do we understand the emotions of the Bible so that it becomes more alive to us and our kids?

Here are my three suggestions:

  1. Know that the Bible stories are about real people who really lived them out.

When Moses met God at the burning bush, he was an 80-year-old shepherd. (Exodus             7:7)

When Esther asked her king to come to dinner, she had actual food ready for them.              (Esther 5:4)

When Jesus borrowed Peter’s boat, Peter was at his everyday job.  (Luke 5:1-5)

When we understand that they were real people, we can begin to connect with them and understand the next point.

  1. Those real people had real emotions.

When David wrote the Psalms, he WEPT.  (2 Samuel 12:21, Psalm 51)

When King Nebuchadnezzar was angry, he was FURIOUS WITH RAGE.  (Daniel 3:13)

When Paul shouted at the jailer, he had to be heard over all the chaos caused by an earthquake. He SHOUTED!  (Acts 16:28)

Just like other stories, real emotions need to be read with real emotions. Put yourself into the story and see what you may have felt in that situation. When you do that, you come to #3.

  1. Have some fun with the Bible. Take a look at the interesting words and details of the stories.

Read the book of Ruth as a love story. It’s only four chapters, but it tells of a woman who didn’t fit in, finding love from the greatest guy, all because her character shone bright. Then we see how their story reflects Jesus’ love for us as our “guardian-redeemer” (Ruth 2:20)

Or, read Genesis 2:7 and imagine God bringing Adam to life using His style of CPR.              Did He breathe a calm, slow breath, or did He use His God-sized air compressor lungs        and blast him to life?  (Personally, I like the air compressor).

My favorite:

Let’s take a look at the BUTs in the Bible. That’s right. I am telling you to look at Biblical buts.  Why do we need to look at them? Because they change what’s been said.

Look at Romans 6:23:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (NIV, emphasis added)

Another example of this is Hebrews 4:15:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” (NIV, emphasis added)

Even the word “yet” is a variation of the word “but.”

I don’t know about you, but after reading these, I am so thankful there is a God-sized “but” in those verses. Scripture is full of buts, in both the Old and New Testaments, and we need to teach ourselves and our kids to look at them.

In my experience, kids love this kind of stuff. I know that we as adults tend to lose this sort of approach, but I think that if we have a little fun with the Bible, it begins to tell the Story in a new way.

Reading the Bible with life is vital to understanding and appreciating it more, especially for our kids. If all they know is one story brought to life, then the rest is unrelatable. And if unrelatable, then it is left on the shelf next to the dictionary.

We need to teach our kids that the Bible stories are real because they tell about a real God who really loves them so that the next time they see those house coats and beach towel costumes, they will know that the whole story can come to life.

For more ways to help your kids grow, you can catch Brad at  adventuresofjuniorbear.weebly.com. He and his wife, Jen, are working on their first book called, The Unforgettable Adventures of Junior Bear about a cub and his dad and how he learns some valuable lessons when he listens to his Father’s voice.

In his spare time, Brad loves to long board, play board games, and sit by a fire (but not all at the same time).  They have 4 lovely children, and they live in the frigid cold of Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada.


About Debbie Erickson

As I travel down the road on my journey, God is the wind beneath my wings, and Jesus is the Rock of my salvation.
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