Telling God's Story: A Parents' Guide to Teaching the Bible, Peter Enns (Olive Branch Books, 2010).
This is an outstanding book. At only 99 pages, it can be a quick read, but it is packed with solid and useful information. Enns wrote this book as a guide for parents who desire to teach their children the Bible. He presents a threefold approach: in the early elementary years, focus on the story, life, and mission of Jesus; in the middle school years, focus on the "hook and hangers" of the Bible, specifically, the "pegs" of the larger story that they will be able to "hang" later knowledge upon; and in the high school years, begin to flesh out the Bible in more detail.
Enns suggests this progressive approach against other approaches because it focuses on the main "person" of the Bible--Jesus Christ--and on God's redemptive story, rather than our own theories or concepts of what we want the Bible to be about. For example, he encourages us not to teach the Bible simply as "stories" or as character studies, because these are often reduced to moralistic life lessons having nothing to do with the redemptive backstory; nor should we teach it (to children) book-by-book, because this approach often requires more maturity and a longer attention span than children have; nor should we teach it defensively, as in the current "creationism vs. evolution" arguments.
Instead, we should see the Bible not as a book of rules or a manual for morals but as a complex and fascinating story with a beginning, middle, and end. Our role as parents is to slowly work through this material with our children, linking the different parts of the story together over time. The Bible does not address modern issues the way we would like it to, so we must remember that it is the story of God's deliverance of his people and it presents a vision of what it means to live in that context. We acquire wisdom for living as we understand The Story in deeper ways.
Enns concludes with a five chapter discussion of this overarching Story which is very useful and informative.
This is a book for all parents, regardless of how old your children are. Although Enns discusses a teaching program for children as young as elementary age, I can easily see that parents can pick up in the first stage and go from there. There is nothing missed by starting to teach a high schooler more in depth about Jesus. The program can either be compressed or modified as older children have questions.
I can also see value in this approach for church-based classes, even for adults. Beginning with Jesus, and his centrality to God's story, and then branching out into biblical narrative, and then into biblical theology, a teacher could present a congregation with a very rich understanding of the Bible.
I highly recommend this book for any believer.
Here is next week's home devotional booklet. Just like in last week's booklet, we'll be reviewing the Bible passages we read and studied on Sunday, along with a view to the upcoming Sunday's Bible passages at the end of the week. The main scripture texts this booklet covers are Ecclesiastes 5 and Philippians 2:12-18.
I really encourage you to use this booklet as a family, as much as possible. This is written especially to men, including myself. The Bible commands men to be good managers of their households. This includes, if nothing else, being a good spiritual steward of the family God has given us.
But if you are a single parent, please gather your children and spend this short time reading and discussing the Bible together and praying together. If you are a husband and wife with no children, find a way to read and pray together. If your children are very busy, spend some extra time and meet with them separately, if you have to.
I hope you use this booklet to edify and build your own family in the grace of God.
| HRCC Home Devotional Booklet for January 23-29, 2011|
|File Size: ||75 kb|
|File Type: || pdf|
I'm trying something new to encourage Bible reading at home, especially among families. Below is a devotional booklet I'll hand out Sunday. For 6 days, Sunday through Friday, you will read a section of scripture that was read or preached from on Sunday. There are a few questions and a prayer focus to help you get started. On Saturday, you'll read the Bible passages that will be read and preached from the next day.
Please use this aid to help you draw closer to God in obedience through his word. Consider reading and discussing these passages together as a family.
There is a download link for the booklet in PDF form at the bottom of this post.
| HRCC Home Devotional Booklet for January 16-22, 2011|
|File Size: ||62 kb|
|File Type: || pdf|
I intend to write a longer post at some point, or a series of posts, but I want to submit some ideas today about the practice of daily family worship. I've also created a couple other posts
you can use to springboard off from this one.My simple goal is to exhort you to take responsibility for the spiritual growth and development of your own family. Sadly, many families, and especially husbands and fathers, have neglected this duty and responsibility. It's now possible in some churches to take your family to church, send your children to
different classes, and then separate as a husband and wife, one going to one adult class and the other to another. Then, families reunite after worship, having studied different topics in different classes. Many families consider this to be their Christian duty for the week, and the bible (or God, or Jesus) is rarely mentioned in their homes the rest of the week. Now, I am criticizing the offering of classes. But classess--whether together as a family bible class or separate, divided by ages--must be seen as supplementary to what happens at home. In the scenario above, the biggest problem is the lack of attention paid to spiritual growth in the household. As I said a couple weeks back in a sermon, it is not good enough to think that what you receive on Sunday is enough to get you through the week.One
way to solve this problem is to have a regular time of family worship, where your family gathers around the Word of God, reads together from the bible, learns the meaning of the bible for their lives, and prays together. Some recommend doing this daily, and I agree. In my own experience, a daily practice of family worship keeps us centered on the importance of it in our lives and family. If we miss a day, or skip a day (for whatever reason), we feel that something has been missing.If possible, this family worship should be led by the husband or father. Clearly, this is still something you can do even if you don't have children. The husband can lead his wife in family worship. If there is no husband, or the husband is an unbeliever, the mother should seek to lead her own children in this way to build them up in their faith. The husband or father (or leader) should find some system of reading through the bible that he is comfortable
with, say, a chapter each day, or some other unit. I recommend reading continuously through entire books of the bible
instead of jumping around. If the leader reads the passage ahead of time, he can create a series of questions, or a brief summary, that he can use to help his family learn. Prayer requests can be gathered, and a theme from the bible passage can be added to be prayed for. Then, prayer can be said, and the time for family worship is over. It takes our family about 15 minutes each day.I encourage you to begin the practice of daily family worship. If you have any questions about the value of it, or how to do this, please let me know. I'd be more than happy to help you. You can contact me through my contact page, or at jeremyhoover AT gmail dot com (via email).