By GT Liu, July 19, 2015
1. Use a dedicated player instead of smart phones and tablets. While smart phones and tablets can be used to play audio bibles, there are usually too much temptations and distractions involved. If you give children smart devices to listen to bibles, you have to watch over them all the time. Otherwise, they can easily be tempted to watch other stuff and play games. Even for adults, it is very difficult for us to get self-controlled. That’s why the average smart phone users in US are spending 2-3 hours on their phones each day. Here is an enlightening New York Times article on why Steve Jobs wouldn’t even allow his children to use ipad.
2. Choose a right children bible listening program for your children, Based on our experiences with children, we developed three different children bible listening programs, beginning, intermediate and advanced. Depending on your children’s ages and familiarity with the bible, you may choose the right for them to follow.
Basically, the beginner level starts from some interesting books with mostly stories e.g. Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, Esther, Daniel, Jonah, etc. Children love stories and they would be attracted to these books naturally. Let them listen to these books several times. As they get more interested in listening to audio bibles, you can encourage them to move on to the next level to explore more books/chapters.
3. Use a checklist to record their listening progress so that they can easily see what books they have finished and what books are waiting for them. They also love to see their achievements. You may also consider rewarding them in some ways if they completed a certain number of books/chapters. Visit our “Listening programs” page to download a checklist (progress tracking form) that is suitable for your child.
4. Parent example. Our children usually follow what we do instead of what we say. If we watch TV, surf on internet or play video games all the time, it is impossible to convince them to love God’s words. If we love God’s words, read and listen to God’s words all the time, our children would naturally be drawn to God’s words. Personally, I love God’s words, and I read and listen all the time. So, it is natural for my son to love God’s words and talk about God’s words with me all the time. Listening and discussing God’s words has become a special entertainment for us.
5. Parent continual involvement and guidance are critical. Since Bible is a rich in content, it is easy for a child to get lost if you leave him/her alone to explore it. Try to spend time to listen together with your children, discuss the contents and answer their questions. Ask them good questions to check their understandings of a story, a chapter and a book, and to inspire them go deeper. Share some real life examples to help them better understand the spiritual meaning behind important passages. Suggest books for them to listen to according to the seasons that are relevant to them. As a parent, you play a very important role to keep them on the right track.
6. Pray for spirit of wisdom and revelation. There are many things in the Bble that we won’t fully understand with only our natural mind. That was why Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us into all the truth (John 16:13). That was also why Paul prayed for believers at Ephesus that the Father may give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus, and the eyes of their hearts may be enlightened (Ephesians 1:17-18). If we only study God’s words using our natural mind and wisdom, we could get bored. But if the Holy Spirit continues to enlighten our hearts and guide us into all the truth, we would be excited to pursue His words every day. That’s why I have been laying hand on my son’s head and praying for the spirit of wisdom and revelation before he goes to sleep almost every night for the past few years. Jesus loves children and will speak to them in very interesting ways they can understand, beyond our imaginations. You are welcome to read my son’s story.
7. Help them to develop a habit to listen to audio bible every day. In Keith Ferrin’s book “Like Ice Cream”, he shared that he grew up in a family that always served ice-cream after dinner. So, it is natural for him to desire ice-cream after each dinner, and he passes on the same ice cream addiction to his three children unavoidably. He suggested using the same approach with our children to pursue the words of God. I fully agreed with him. Since I loved listening to the Bible when I was driving, my son also listened to the Bible when driving with me, and got interested in the Bible. After a few weeks, he developed a good habit to listen to the Bible whenever he was in my car. Otherwise, he would feel very uncomfortable. In addition to driving time, you can also use dinner time, time before sleep, and any other time to help them to develop a routine of listening to the Bible every day. Once they are in a habit or routine, you would be surprised by how fast they can finish a book and how God would speak to them in amazing ways.
8. Don’t try to let them understand everything in one time. When I first started encouraging my son to listen to the complete Bble, I was concerning if some texts may be too difficult for him. But I later realized that he doesn’t have to understand everything in one time. He can listen again and again to understand more and more. So, it is a gradual process.
9. Prepare a good study bible to answer their questions. When there are questions we couldn’t answer, it would be helpful if we have a study bible on hand. I am using an ESV study bible, and my son loves the footnotes and illustrations inside.
10. Reading text bibles are also important. After your children have listened to some books/chapters again and again and got familiar with the stories, context and pronunciations, encourage them to read the corresponding text bible. This will ensure that they will have a deeper understanding of the bible while their reading comprehension will also improve at the same time.
11. Continue to pray for wisdom to lead your children. Once you are in a journey to pursue God’s words with your children, you will soon discover that they have a much higher capacity for God’s words than you can imagine. The Holy Spirit is the best counselor and teacher. We need to constantly pray for His guidance and wisdom to lead our children fully to Christ and His salvation.
12. Be patient with your children.
Whether you are struggled to get your children into a listening routine, or God is already speaking to them, we always need to remember that they are still children struggling in earthly bodies as we adults do. Even though God has spoken to my son in amazing ways, he could still do things that drive me crazy from time to time. As he is growing older, there are more temptations from the world. That is why they need parents to work with them patiently to overcome day by by day in order to grow into maturity. This is truly a blessing from God that we also struggle and grow into maturity ourselves with our children at the same time.
If you are interested in getting a dedicated audio bible player for your children, I highly recommend that you start with our ESV children bible player (dramatized audio bible).
Get your Children addicted in God’s words through an effective bible listening program