by Kevin Roop
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. . . . And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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” (Deut. 6:4, 6-7).
Words. Words from the Lord who spoke, and earth existed. Words of truth. Words of power. Words that perform. Words that transform. These words are spoken from the Lord our God to us. These words are to be on our heart. God tells us to teach them diligently to our children. Or, as the NIV has it, “Impress them on your children.”
This is the Lord’s charge to us: an invitation and a necessity. These precious words need to be on our hearts and spoken into and onto our children, the young sinner/saints committed by God to our care.
Every family has its own common and unique set of challenges. No one-size-fits-all here. But you really need to find a practice, a habit that works for you. Maybe it’s reading a Psalm together at breakfast. Perhaps the kids take turns reading from the Small Catechism on the way to or from soccer practice. Bible stories can be a great way to focus and wind down right before putting the young ones to bed.
Our family has made it a priority to read through the whole Bible every year together. Just before bedtime we gather and read the pages for the day. Every reader in the family (six out of seven in our case) reads a portion. Gradually, over these many years, the rhythms of Holy Scripture have been read into the rhythms of our lives. There have been stutters and stops. Mom or Dad have sometimes spent a night in the hospital. A few times, the routine has been derailed by sickness and circumstance. But over the long haul, 15 to 20 minutes a day have imparted a broad knowledge of Scripture and a daily ration of the food of eternal life.
Try more than one method. Find what works for you. Be blessed by God’s Word, as it writes itself onto your heart.