“But I’m not a Bible teacher! I’ve never been to seminary!”
Take heart, my fellow grandparent. By God’s grace, the Lord could use you to have memory-making, life-shaping Bible studies with your grandchildren. Let’s break down this idea of how to do Bible studies with your grandchildren into manageable steps by asking the traditional journalism questions: “who,” “what,” “where,” when,” “why” and “how.” But, if you don’t mind, I’d like to begin with . . .
Sometimes grandparents never venture into seriously engaging their grandchildren in Bible study. They may assume, “Well, that’s not my job. That’s the parents’ job.” You’re right, it is the parent’s job (Ephesians 6:4), but it’s not only the parents’ job. It’s the job of grandparents, too.
Throughout God’s Word we find reminder after reminder that members of the older generation are to be teaching the coming generations the words and ways of God. From way back in Moses’ day, we find verses like Deuteronomy 4:9, “Make them known to your children and your children’s children.” Did you catch that “and”? We are to be teaching not only our own children, but our “children’s children” too! And, what about all those Psalms? Psalm 145:4 says, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts”. Psalm 78:4-8 is similarly gripping.
We grandparents are involved, but when are our grandchildren old enough for a Bible study? I suggest that we start teaching the Bible to them from an early age. It can be a matter of simply sharing a verse and praying the content of that Scripture over a grandchild.
As grandchildren get older, the depth of our Bible studies will grow with them. Eventually, grandchildren will be old enough to read the Bible for themselves and engage in conversations on a passage’s meaning and application. Those conversations can have a life-long impact, by God’s grace.
Are you like me? If I’m not sure what to do, my tendency is to do nothing – or at least to procrastinate until I have a little more confidence that I’m doing the right thing. But, if we keep procrastinating about studying the Bible with our grandkids, we’re missing wonderful opportunities to show them how the Word of God can shape their lives for eternity.
Thankfully, if you are inexperienced in studying the Bible with children, there are resources that can guide you step-by-step. For example, my wife, Gladine, and I have been doing a weekly Bible study with two of our grandchildren using David Murray’s manual for kids called Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids. This resource walks the student through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation with fairly easy “fill in the blank” sections to guide the learning process. Each of our grandkids has a copy as do my wife and I. We can work on it together, page-by-page, or the grandkids can work through it on their own and we can discuss what they’ve learned. Look online for biblically sound materials that would be appropriate for your grandchild’s reading ability.
If you have grandchildren who live near you, it might be fairly easy to set up a regular time each week to sit with them over an open Bible in your own home or in theirs. Thankfully, these days geographical distance does not prohibit us from having Bible studies with our grandkids. Even if they live some distance away, it is possible to set up a regular video call for your grandparent-grandchild Bible study. Most of us are fairly comfortable with using this technology, but if you are not, don’t give up too quickly. Ask your adult children and/or grandkids to help you learn how to use the available technology so that you can enjoy the blessing of studying God’s Word regularly with the coming generation.
Let me encourage you to set up a regular time for your Bible study with your grandchildren. We have found doing this weekly encourages accountability for all of us. We’ve communicated with our daughter and son-in-law about when the best time might be in their weekly schedule. Every family’s schedule is unique. Some of our grandchildren are homeschooled, giving us more time options to consider. But, other grandchildren attend a brick and mortar school, giving fewer options.
Nevertheless, it is worth the effort to find a time that works, even if it’s not weekly. Talk to your adult children about what works best for their family. If your grandkids are old enough to have some say in their own schedule, get their input, too. Then, set the agreed upon time as a “repeat” on your calendar.
Without making it too rigid, we’ve found ourselves following a basic pattern in our weekly Bible studies with our grandkids. We like to “meet” with our grandkids individually, even if our meeting is via a video call. We always begin with excited greetings followed by questions regarding how they have been doing since the last time we talked. We’re happy to hear what’s been happening in their lives and even show us something they’ve been working on.
Then, we try to draw their attention toward God by asking how they’ve seen answers to prayer regarding last week’s prayer requests. (We keep a notebook so we don’t forget!) Then we each share praises and requests, including struggles we may be facing and appropriate confessions of sin. After that, we each take a turn praying for one another. Those can be really sweet times – not only praying for our precious grandkids, but hearing them pray for us!
After prayer we ask how their Bible study has been going. If we’re using a study manual, we open to the most recent pages. If we’re working through a Bible passage, we will turn there. By the way, with older children, working through a book of the Bible can be a great way to get them in the habit of daily Bible reading. We like using a study Bible, having the study notes available if we get stuck in our understanding of a particular passage. We seek to make a reasonable amount of progress in that week’s Bible study, depending on the age of the grandchild and the time we have available. When our time is drawing to a close, we summarize what we’ve been learning together and end with expressions of love and excitedly talk about our next “meeting.”
What a privilege we have as grandparents, to tell the next generation the wonderful works of God so that they would “set their hope in God” (Psalm 78:7). Let’s get started.