Why & How We Do Bible Time
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Join Charlie and Kristina Matz as they navigate the journey of Biblical parenting. Go behind-the-scenes as they share Biblical insights from the front lines of parenting their five children.Listen on Apple Podcasts
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What is Bible Time, why do we do it as a family, and how do we actually sit down and make it happen on a regular basis?
Deut 6:7 “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Many of us may already know this well-known verse regarding our parenting, but if we back up a bit we are going to see exactly how BIG our task from the Lord is. Verse 7 says that we shall teach “them” to our children… we shall talk of “them”. What is the “them” that this verse is talking about?
Hi friends. Before we get started, we wanted to share something exciting with you. The 2020 prayer calendar is available at the time of this episode airing. You can go to behr-squirrel.com to get yours. The prayer calendar is designed to help you lead your family, to pray biblically for other Christians each month. Go to our site, check out the incredible illustrations, grab yours and spend the next year praying for others as a family. Now onto the show. What does the Bible say about parenting? What wisdom can we gain from those who've gone before us? How can we aim to raise children into adults who repent and follow Christ? And honestly, what do we practically do when we wake up tomorrow? We're Charlie and Christina mats and we're on a journey to seek answers to those questions and much more.
We have five kids, so we're always praying, learning, and growing and what God in the Bible have to say about raising these wonderful children. This is the behind the scenes of our life with children seeking to raise them in biblical wisdom. Join us and together let's work to confidently navigate the journey of biblical parenting.
What is Bible time? Why do we do it as a family and how do we actually sit down and make it happen on a regular basis? We'll discuss all those things in more. But first one curious thing.
Okay, so tonight we're going to share with you something unique that Charlie does and I really actually want to see if there's other people out there that employ the same strategy because we have already learned that there's other people who gag every time they brush their teeth. So this is going to be exciting for me. Okay? So Charlie has a multistep dishwashing procedure. Okay? Now I've noticed this for years, but as a wise wife, I would encourage all the wives listening right now, when your husband is being a blessing around the home, the last thing you want to do is make him feel an any way. Like he's doing something wrong or unappreciated. So I've never had the right moment to ask about it, but the right moment came the other night and I was able to just gently inquire about the process. Honey, why don't you share what you do when you wash the dishes?
Well, I first rid the dishes. These are dishes that aren't going into the dishwasher and hand wash dishes. I mean I wouldn't dare do this for the dishwasher. I read the dishes of all the gunk that's on them and I lay them aside. Then after that's all done, I take those same dishes and then I wash them with soap and then I went some with water. So it's a three step process. But overall it keeps things organized. It keeps things incredibly clean. I never have to do a dish over again.
Well and it's like, but I think everyone needs to be able to visualize like he rinses them all and then they go on a tidy pile and then without any water he just use it like he doesn't have water running. He soaps them all down and they go on another tidy pile and then he does the final rants for the tiny tidy pile. There's
not a tidy pile instead
Well, you're very tidy. So it's always a tidy little pile there. They're tidy here. Right? But so I just caught, you know, it always would catch my attention because I just saw like tidy pile, tidy pile title. I didn't understand the differences, but apparently when I finally asked him about it, he's filled it like his parents would note, would talk about it when he was a kid and
it taking a long time. Still does. This thing that I do is do the dishes in three steps. You know, we all have our stuff. There's probably somebody out there like me that does that. Please write firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if you to do a multistep dishwashing procedure. All right, so on today's discussion we're going to jump into why and how we do
Bible time in our home. First, let's dive into the why. So what are, what's one of the main reasons why we do Bible time?
Well, it's really simple. The Bible commands us to do it. So yeah. So we're going to dig into the word a little bit. Uh, Deuteronomy six seven says, you shall teach them diligently to your children and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house. And when you walk, by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise. This might be a well known verse that we already know regarding our parenting. But if we back up a bit, we're going to see exactly how big our task from the Lord is. Okay? So the verse we just read, verse seven says that we shall teach them to our children. We shall talk of them. What is the them that this verse is talking about? Now, in verse one of chapter six, Moses begins by saying, now this is the commandment, the statutes and the rules that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you.
That you may do them in the land to which you are going over to possess it. That you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son, and your son son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you all the days of your life, and that your days may belong. And then if we jump ahead a little bit to verse six it says, and these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. Now we can understand better when verse seven begins with you shall teach them diligently to your children. God expects us to tell our children about all of God's commandments. Those all that Moses was talking about in verse one that's the them that we're supposed to be teaching our children. So it's a huge blessing that we have at least 18 years with them because that is a really tall order from the Lord. It
is. But it's also something that he gives us the energy and the confidence and the ability to do because it's his word, right? And speaking of 18 years, this is, I think the second why would be to create a habit that lasts a lifetime. So our goal is to train our children's hearts to rightly respond to the gospel, ultimately repenting and following Jesus. We want them to continually grow their faith being sanctified throughout their lives. By developing a consistent habit of being in the word as a family, it will set the pattern in our children's lives for life. It's a gift that we can give to our children. If you think about it, as they get older, it will be harder and harder to carve out the time to be in the word just because it will take sacrifice and discipline because there's more going on in life.
By making it a habit. As a family, they will be much more likely to make it a habit. As an adult, we need our children to understand that looking daily into the perfect law as James one 25 describes the word is the only way that we can expect to be continually transformed by it. As James writes, this is how we become a doer of the word. Side note, we understand that even as adults, we do not do this perfectly. We are, uh, but we are training to develop a habit, not training to be perfect. And here's the key. We cannot forgo what is necessary simply because we cannot do it perfectly.
Boom. That's a really good point. So he love brings me to our next Y and that is to help our children know that our instruction comes from the Lord. Now a lot of you might already have our free house rules up in your home somewhere. Side note, if you don't, you can just get them for email@example.com go there, download those. But wait obviously until we're done with podcast, if you have those, you're going to know that underneath each one of those six simple rules, we have a corresponding scripture and that is something that we did very intentionally, even in our home. So even though our children are commanded in Ephesians six one in Colassians three 20 to obey their parents, we've already seen that we as parents are commanded to teach our children God's rules and not just our own. It's super important for our children to truly understand that we aren't just winging it when it comes to how we instruct them.
We as their parents are ambassadors for the Lord. We are their very first teachers and instructors in biblical truth. So Bible time really helps to reinforce this fact that we are always directing them to trust and obey what God says rather than what we say when we read through the Bible daily with our children. We are going to read through passages that support and even instruct the way that we parent in our home. These passages are going to further help our kids to understand that we really are teaching them how to obey the Lord and not just wanting them to merely do what we say.
And that takes a lot of the pressure off because if we're just trying to get them to change their behavior in the way that we feel comfortable or do things that we've just kind of, maybe it's tradition, right? We've learned it from our parents or, or, or just things that we prefer that wears you out pretty quick cause you're doing it in your own strength and you're doing it for your own reasons. Whereas when you are tying your instruction to the Bible, it takes all the pressure off because it's only in the Lord strength. You can actually do that. So another way is to train our children to do what's right even when don't feel like it now is this is gonna hit home, not just to the children, the mommy and daddy. Because a Bible time itself is hard to do even when we don't feel like it's.
So let's, uh, let's dive into this with the maybe application to both us and our children. So I want my children to understand the importance of discipline and duty. The idea of duty in the Christian faith can get a bad rap, but we need to remind ourselves that the idea of fulfilling a duty as biblical time and time again, God reminded the Israelites that they would be blessed and protected if they obeyed. In John 1510 B reminds us that it was Christ pleasure to keep his father's commandments. Our kids might not see this right away, but over time they will see the fruit from being obedient to like Deuteronomy six seven like Christina talked about some days might be harder for our kiddos to sit still and pay attention. Some days might be harder for us to sit still and pay attention. They might not feel like listening to the Bible that night, but we cannot allow our feelings to dictate how much time we spend with the Lord.
Nor can we allow our children's feelings to dictate how we run a family Bible time. And like I said, this is also true for us. We need to be spending time in the word and prayer even on the days when it's not easy and they will come, especially on the days, right. Exactly. Um, you know, sometimes you gotta, you gotta pray to pray and you've got to read in order to get, uh, yourself to that next step, that next verse and pray through that and do the work. And we've all been there before because it's good for us and it's glorifying to God for the Christian being in the word. And prayer is like oxygen. You simply can't live life without it. And our kids need to see this in action starting with us. So I would say don't be discouraged if the kids aren't quote unquote into it.
We are now opening the Bible everyday to necessarily entertain them. We're opening the Bible everyday to nurture and instruct them according to the truths contained within it. And a quick note about duty, just on the flip side of this, when doing something out of obedience or duty, it doesn't mean it must be boring or dull. Uh, we, you know, we will still be wise to aim our Bible time towards the children and their unique attention span and level of understanding. But on the flip side, we can't allow our efforts to be cut short because their children aren't having fun. Uh, every time we sit down with them, we definitely have a lot of fun in our family. You know, our aim is to have Bible time that is educational. It's fun, it's a time for us to discuss as a family and do that appropriately. But even, uh, low and behold tonight when we did Bible time before we recorded this, uh, it was difficult and it was one of those ones where we had to get through it and we had to, you know, employ patients on our part and some discipline and, um, some correction, you know, so,
which we'll talk about later even why that's still important in the midst of Bible time.
Yeah, exactly. Now, there are definitely more than four reasons to have a consistent Bible time with your family, but these are some of the main benefits that we wanted to share with you all.
Now I wanted to go back to something that you just mentioned. You talked about being mindful of our kid's unique attention spans and understanding. And this really brings us to more of that practical aspect of this question.
How do we do Bible time? Okay, so now let's get into the how. This is the practical nitty gritty for Bible time for context. This is how we typically do Bible time in our home. So we gather the kids up, uh, around 7:00 PM after we've all had dinner and wind down a little bit granted, like keep in mind this is best case scenario. So again, things aren't going to go, it's just like, you know, you finally get into the groove of your morning Bible time yourself, right? And then you get sick, you get knocked out of it, you've got to get back in it. And so same thing with Bible time. We might go a couple of weeks where it's just amazing and it's like, wow, this is, it feels easy. And then we have a night where it's a little harder like tonight, but 7:00 PM, we grab him.
Um, we'll grab, I will grab my Bible and turn to where we last left off. Now we go straight through entire books of the Bible. We just finished acts and now we're going through John. This helps the kids to really soak up what's going on in each book, uh, that we're covering. And it helps us to keep on track and focused, uh, quickly without having to figure out what we're going to read each night. Um, so a little sign out here, try not to do the Bible time on your phone. Now there's something about my children watching me open up my paper Bible flip to the right passage. You know, that crinkle of the paper. It's old, it's worn out. They've seen, I've worn out my Bible from reading it a lot. Um, and then I read from it. I don't want to be too dogmatic here, you know, and say like, it's wrong to open up a tablet or a phone to do Bible time.
But I think a valid argument can be made for why this is increasingly important and wise. It's awesome that we have the Bible on our phones, but reading on them is not ideal as there's notifications and distractions. Just one touch away. So when my kids grow into adults, I want them to be fond of a paper Bible simply because reading one will help them focus on the words they're reading free from distraction. So many of life's decisions for a Christian or the difference between better and best. And I would argue that reading from a paper Bible to your kids falls into the category of best.
Well, and I just thought of something not to interrupt, but it helps our kids to understand how to look at passages like that's, you know, if you can just type in a passage and boom, it's on your phone, they're not going to really know what is the chapter, what is the verse and how do I get there.
And I think even as an adult, I need to spend less time looking at versus on my phone. It's good to, you know, try to bring my paper Bible everywhere I can just because there are things that pop up on our phones and us and it makes it hard to sit and be with the Lord. So, okay. So once the Bible's opened, I read through a short passage, usually eight to 12 verses, and then I stop. Sometimes we'll ask questions and sometimes I'll ask if anyone has any thoughts. It really entirely depends on the nature of the passage. I just read, read. I try to get each kid involved if it's possible, asking age appropriate questions, different for each kid. Uh, once we're done with the discussion, we'll pray together asking the Lord to help us practically implement what we just learned. Okay, so now that you know what our Bible time looks like, here's a few practical things to keep in mind when running a Bible time.
Okay? Keep it short. When you're first starting out, I would aim for just 15 minutes. Read a small passage and be prepared to explain it for your little ones like Charlie had shared in our podcast on Deuteronomy six seven. This is going to mean that we have to first understand the passage for ourself. So read through a commentary or look in a study Bible, anything that can help you break it down for your children.
Next, I would say engage them. Give your child the question to think about while you're reading this will give them a good reason to pay attention while you're reading. Um, they're looking for the answer while you're reading. It can be a question that's found plainly in, in the scriptures, like what were the people doing when Paul came to the house? Or it could be something that just gets them thinking that's fun. Like how do you think it would have smelled inside the belly of the fish? It's a fun and simple exercise. It's also teaching our children to connect God's word to their own life, which is how we learn and apply God's word. If your kids are even too little for this activity, we ask them leading questions at the end of the reading that they can simply answer yes or no to like do you think Paul was afraid in prison? Whatever the answer, encourage them and get them excited about being part of it.
Okay. Now another big one is going to be having appropriate expectations. So many times it's unmet expectations that causes us to be frustrated with in any relationship and in any situation. So let's say you only have 15 minutes that you're starting with, even in those 15 minutes, we need to expect that there's going to be interruptions and the need to correct and train. So first we start by helping our children understand what our expectations are for that time. They need to sit quietly and show respect and they cannot interrupt. If they refuse to obey, it will be necessary to stop reading or talking in order to correctly address their sin. Now, it may be a temptation to avoid discipline during Bible time because we somehow feel like it's wrong or harsh to discipline our children while we're reading God's word to them. We get that, but like so many other areas of parenting, it is so tempting to let our emotions dictate what we view as right or wrong as we begin to structure a regular Bible time in our home.
But we have to always come back to scripture as our constant guide. Truth be told, if we are doing discipline correctly in our homes, God's word is always going to be front and center in response to our kiddo sin. And not as we like brow beat our children with it. But as we draw them back to it and love and for their benefit, it would be such as shame for our children to see us disobeyed the word of God in these moments as we exhort them to obey it. Preach. And you know, we say that we don't let them interrupt, which is true, but it doesn't mean that our children just sit and don't speak. We engage with them. They are allowed to raise hands if they have questions. All that to say we really need to keep our expectations realistic if we want to avoid getting frustrated or discouraged during Bible time with our little ones.
Awesome. So next I would say resolved. Have Bible time regardless of the age of your children. Now this is a big one that we get a lot of questions about. Um, I need to be continually reminded that our children are much more capable than I often realize. I fear that because we live in a culture where sadly many children are quote unquote running the show. We can convince ourselves that it's impossible to have our kids sit quiet for longer periods of time to do something like Bible time and at the beginning that may be true, but we need to practice and we need to do this out of obedience like we talked about to Deuteronomy six seven so will young kids be childish from time to time? Of course our Bible times have looked different on any given year given the mix of ages in our family, but they really are capable of focusing more than we initially think.
If we put the time into training them, like I said, that practice, for example, currently our two year old sits at the table for 30 to 40 minutes each morning with Christina and the kids as she reads the Bible to our children, followed by whatever biography or missions magazine they're reading that day. He has learned how to sit quietly and take joy in the reading along with his siblings. All that to say they can sit for 15 minutes, no matter the age to get there. It's going to take consistent correction. Never letting our kids think. There's another option saying something like, this is what we're doing and I'm not going to let your poor behavior derail it, but hang in there and stay the course. We know it seems daunting at times and downright discouraging and others, but we must trust in the faithfulness of God and continually pray that he would do much with the diligence and duty that we exhibit as parents. In other words, don't forego about forego Bible time just because you have little ones.
Absolutely, and let me just say it's possible you're listening and you think, yeah, that's your two year old. You don't know my two year old and I get that, but let me just say that currently our two year old is the most energized child that we've ever had at two, like he's intense in a fan. We love him, but he's intense and linebacker and so his sitting really quietly and attentively still looks even differently than some of our other kids. He might be a little more antsy. I've given my arm sometimes so he can touch me and put his little fingers on my or whatever. Just to say that he's still capable of doing it. And don't be discouraged if you happen to have a little guy or gal with lots of energy.
I'm thankful for you. And I think this has to be said because you have put a lot of time and effort into training him to do that. Like I have to. But mostly you because you're with him more often and you're in those moments early in the morning where you're kind of doing this constant correction and level setting and getting him back to a place of obedience. And so man, you've put a lot of time and effort into that. So don't be discouraged, but also know like it's a big job and you've got to put a lot of time and effort into it to see those results and that that's what we're there for though.
Right. Well, and it's funny because if you've ever served in a nursery at church, right? And you're working in the two and three year old class. It's always evident which kids are being trained at home to do this kind of thing and which ones aren't, and we want our kids to be a testimony of our biblical parenting even in church, but to wrap it up, okay, let's remember that we need to do this so consistently that our own children hold us accountable. Okay. This goes all the way back to what Charlie said about this being a habit. It is our goal and our home to do our Bible times so often that if we tried to skip one night, our kids would ask, aren't we going to do Bible time? Which by the grace of God I can say happens like they'll ask us if they think we're skipping it. For some reason they do not miss a thing. So let's all resolve to make Bible time a habit that our children are holding us accountable to in our homes.
Thank you for joining us on this week's episode of the bear and swirl podcast. The Austin music you hear was created by Luke peach. We recorded this episode in our sweet little home studio in Meridian, Idaho. Come back next week to hear more about our very real life on this incredible journey at the liberal Parenthood.
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