5 Tips for a Successful Bible Time with Kids

I have a confession.

After completing the Play Through the Bible series I did a terrible job at having a consistent Bible time with my kids. We started and stopped, and started and stopped again. I had lofty goals and didn’t see them through. Most of the time I just plain didn’t know where to start.

Have you found yourself in this place too?

You know it’s important. The desire is there. But the days keep slipping through your fingers without these goals being met.

I’ve been there. In fact, I’m still there sometimes. However, over the past few months I feel like I’ve finally landed on something that works.

We haven’t been perfect, but we have consistently had a morning Bible time together, opening the doors for lots of great spiritual conversations.

Today, I want to share with you how we made it work.

#1 Find a time that works for you

Does it seem like everyone else in the world starts their days with the picturesque scene of kids delightfully learning about God’s world around the breakfast table, but at that hour of the day your brain feels more like your gray bowl of oatmeal?

Say adios morning Bible time. 

Seriously, let it go and be you. Maybe your family works better during a quiet hour when the baby is napping or in the evening when dad is home to lend a hand.

Set a time, embrace it, and then stick to it.

#2 Keep it simple

Like, ridiculously simple.

At least for me, it is so easy to fall into the trap of feeling like I can never make Bible time “enough.” Wiggly kids, lack of time, and unmet plans leave me feeling discouraged and I eventually give up.

I finally realized that something small is better than nothing at all. In fact, it’s actually quite freeing and opens the doors for continued, yet unplanned, conversation.

And I’m not talking about a “simple” lesson plan or a “simple” list of things to get out of the Bible time. Oh no. We started with one short Bible story at breakfast.

That’s. It. 

No lesson plans. No crafts. No memory verses, songs, or lengthy discussions.

We slowly got in the habit of daily starting our day with the Bible. We built our discipline muscle. The kids started to expect the story and look forward to it. We would miss a day or two and then quickly pick it back up again because we could feel it missing.

We stayed here for a long time. We didn’t read just one story for a week and declare it mastered, starting to add new elements. This one story was our home base and we stayed and made it nice and cozy until we were able to venture out and add more.

Your home base doesn’t have to be a Bible storybook. It could be a song you sing, a simple prayer, or a chapter from Psalms. Whatever feels like home for your family in the stage of life you are in currently.

#3 Slowly add more to your Bible time

After camping out in your home base for as long as it takes to build that habit (no rushing!), slowly add in other elements to your Bible time.

Don’t feel tempted to add in a bunch of things all at once now that you’re feeling confident in your new habit. Pride comes before the fall, yeah? Make a list of the things you would *someday* like to accomplish and pick one.

Introduce that one thing and give it time to become part of the routine. If, at any time or during any particular day, your new routine starts to feel overwhelming – go back to your home base. Do just that one thing and pick back up the new the next day or the next week.

I cannot emphasize enough to take it nice and slow with no pressure. We have been doing this for at least two months now and this is what our morning Bible time looks like (with a 5 and almost 2 year old):

  • Read Bible story and briefly discuss/answer 5 year old’s questions
  • Read a few pages from God’s Wisdom for Little Boys (awesome book by the way!)
  • About ten minutes of listening to and learning a hymn

That’s all. And if we don’t do it all, that’s okay. If we miss a day, we just pick right back up where we left off. Eventually I’d like to add more, but for now we will probably be hanging out here for quite a while.

Bonus tip: when you do get to the point of adding more, do them on a rotation, instead of trying to do everything every day.

#4 Roll with the punches

It’s easy to feel discouraged when things aren’t going how you expected.

There are going to be days when your kids are more interested in the squirrel out the window than the story you are reading or would rather run off and play than sing worship songs. Life will get crazy and you will skip a day here and even a week there.

Just keep going, keep coming back to it, keep building the habit. Hold your plans loosely and keep an eye toward the future.

Remember, Bible time is not the ultimate measure of your godly parenting ability. 

While it is definitely important to set a precedence for digging into God’s Word and going to him with prayer and worship, you have many more hours in the day. Hours where just walking along side your children through the daily tasks of life can speak more into their hearts and souls than you’d ever imagine.

One of my favorite parenting passages is Deuteronomy 6:5-9…

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Let go of having the “perfect” moment and fill your home with the love of God and talk about him daily.

#5 Cover your goals in prayer

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
-Proverbs 16:9

Don’t try and do this on your own strength. Go to God for his grace and wisdom. Spend time praying over your goals. Spend time praying for the spiritual maturity of your children.

Even with the simple steps we’ve discussed here, we will just be turning our wheels without God establishing our steps.

Take the next step

So, friend, if you found yourself knowing that having Bible time with your kids is important, but you just weren’t sure where to start, I hope you have a much clearer plan now!

If you are ready to take the next step and you could still use a little guidance – I’ve got you covered! I’ve created a FREE printable worksheet to help you plan out a Bible time that works for you.

Enter your information below to grab the free Bible Time with Kids Planning Worksheet AND gain access to the ever growing library of free printables!

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The BEST Children’s Storybook Bible

I am extremely picky when it comes to children’s Bibles.

Extremely.

I’m looking for a lot in that little package. Biblical accuracy, lack of fluff, lovely illustrations, and all done with text that is engaging and interesting to the youngest audience.

It’s a tall order.

So where, exactly, does one find a children’s Bible that meets these high standards? Perhaps you’ve walked into a Christian bookstore or browsed the pages of Amazon lately to find one. If you went into that without a plan, you probably found yourself overwhelmed. An Amazon search for “children’s bible stories” brings back a whopping 7,663 results to wade through!

And what happens if you choose the wrong children’s Bible? In your desire to begin planting God’s truth in your child’s heart, you could instead be sharing inaccurate accounts and misleading picture of God’s Word. Or worse, nothing at all could happen. The lack of an accurate and engaging story could leave your child bored, uninterested, and apathetic towards God’s Word.

What Are You Going To Do?

Well, you could spend a couple hours scrolling through Amazon, reading all the mixed reviews (do people ever agree on those reviews?). You could drive to the nearest Christian bookstore and page through all the Bibles on the shelf, maybe asking the employees for their recommendation (hopefully they’ve tested them out with their kids). Or you could hop over to Amazon right now and take five minutes to purchase our hands down, number one, most favorite Children’s Bible.

We have been using The Rhyme Bible Storybook since my oldest was just a small toddler and we absolutely love it. We own multiple different children’s Bibles, but this is the one we find ourselves coming back to again and again and again. (It’s also the Bible we used for the Play Through the Bible series)

And if that’s not enough to convince you to go grab it right now, I want to give you a detailed review of why we love this Bible so very much.

Biblical Accuracy

When it comes to storybook Bibles, this is probably my number one concern. In our attempts to make the stories digestible to children, are we staying true to the meaning of the actual Biblical text? In the many other Bibles I have read or flipped through, there are three common themes I see happening: too much extra fluff, important elements being omitted, and dumbed down stories. With the Rhyme Bible Storybook:

1) There is no extra “fluff” added. The author goes just a little too deep into their imagination, weaving a story that may not actually be implied in the original text. While these stories can be fun to read, they don’t always give an accurate picture of what the Bible is trying to say. The Rhyme Bible Storybook is simple and to the point, while also communicating the important aspects of the text.

2) The most important elements are included. On the opposite end of the spectrum we have another problem, vital information being left out. This especially happens with children’s Bibles that like to gloss over the more uncomfortable aspects of the Bible. I’ve seen the Fall skipped over, hard stories tied up with a pretty moral, and even the frighting omission of Christ’s death on the cross. While no children’s Bible is going to cover all the dark, nitty gritty moments in the Bible (nor should they), with its 35 stories the Rhyme Bible Storybook does a great job giving an overview of the Biblical story, including the most important aspects.

3) The stories are not dumbed down. You’ll find this especially in the story Bibles that are marketed towards the very youngest listeners. Sure, the stories are short and simple, but there is not much there either. With the Rhyme Bible storybook, the stories are simple, yet also give plenty of information that can be discussed, dwelt on, and grown into. With this Bible both my one year old and my five year old are able to listen intently while still gaining something from the stories each on their own levels.

Simple Text

I mentioned this briefly before, but I think it bears repeating. The text in the Rhyme Bible Storybook is beautifully simple. Young children and older alike will be drawn into the lovely rhyming nature of the stories. Yet, the sing-song text is not overly flowery or verbose, unlike other popular children’s Bibles that have not done well at keeping my children engaged (I’m looking at you Jesus Storybook Bible).

However, if you find that your younger toddler still has trouble following these short stories, I also recommend The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers. We have used both versions, and while we don’t love the toddler one quite as much, the stories are even shorter and simpler, perfect for the youngest children.

Beautiful Illustrations

Beautiful illustrations may not seem like that big of a deal, but I can assure you, once you’ve glanced through some of the downright goofy looking children’s Bible cartoons, lovely pictures are a nice change of pace.

The illustrations in the Rhyme Bible storybook are simple, colorful, interesting, and full of emotion.

Just a note: there is an older version and a newer version with updated illustrations. We have the newer version of the Rhyme Bible Storybook and also the toddler version with the older illustrations. We like both! Some people do have a preference though and you can find both versions on Amazon.

Well Made Product

Lets face it, toddlers and preschoolers can be rough on books. They are still learning to turn pages gently, close the cover properly, and to not chuck books across the room mid tantrum. Our copy has survived multiple years and tons of use from two rough boys. It’s looking a little rough around the edges, but still going strong. The binding is sturdy, the pages are thick, and it’s made to last.

Engaging and Child Approved

Besides being Biblically accurate, an engaging story is probably the most important part of any children’s Bible. If your child isn’t interested in listening to the stories, reading them isn’t going to do a whole lot.

Every child I have read the Rhyme Bible Storybook to, both my own children and others, have loved it. They have listened intently, captivated by the story being read. Every morning when we do our reading, every story is followed by pleas of “More! More! Another story!” And, while it’s possible that your child is the exception to what I’ve found, I think if you give this Bible a try you, too, will fall in love.

Where to Buy

While I assume the Rhyme Bible Storybook can be found at your local Christian Bookstore, the easiest thing to do is to hop over to Amazon and get it delivered right to your house. New versions of the book run for about $13, but you can also easily find it used for around $5.

Even if you already have children’s Bibles, this one would make a great addition to your collection. You won’t be disappointed! It also makes a great gift to tuck in an Easter basket or give at a baby shower. You might love it so much you buy twenty and give them to all your friends!

This is NOT a sponsored post – we just really love this children’s Bible! There are Amazon affiliate links included, which does not change the cost of the book to you, but does give me a little extra spare change to keep this blog running. Thanks for making purchases through my links!


5 Great Resources for Teaching Your Kids the Old Testament

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In my last post, I gave 8 reasons why I think you should be studying the Old Testament – both personally and with your kids.

This week, I want to quickly pass on five great resources for doing just that!

These resources will cover a wide range of ages and levels, so you should be able to find something for everyone in your family!

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1. Play Through The Bible

Let’s start with the itty bitty kiddos. Play Through the Bible is the very first series I did on my blog. It is, to date, the most popular resource I have available.

When my oldest was a toddler I wanted to start being intentional about teaching him the Bible, but couldn’t find the kind of resource I was looking for. So, I created it myself!

Play Through the Bible takes tots and preschoolers through an entire children’s Bible, covering 25 of the major stories of the Bible. It meets them right where they are with super simple crafts, hands-on activities, and kid friendly discussions.

I am currently revamping the entire series and cannot wait to release it as an eBook in Summer 2017! However, you can still get the entire original series here.

 

IBI Case of the Mixed Up Timeline2. Case of the Mixed Up Timeline

I wanted to share one more resource you can find here on Steadfast Family before I move on to some others.

Case of the Mixed Up Timeline is a unique kids devotional that I released this past summer. If you and your kids are looking for a super fun way to introduce yourself to some of the main stories of the Old Testament, this will be perfect for you!

In this devotional, a villain named “Dr. H” has traveled back in time and destroyed the Timeline of Biblical Heroes. As a special agent, your child must travel back in time to complete the case files and set the timeline straight once again.

Each Biblical Hero has an incomplete case file and your child must solve the clues to discover the information on each Hero’s story. They then use that information to put the timeline back in order. Each case file also contains a “mission” – a hands on activity to further experience the story.

Read more about the devotional here!

3. Future Flying Saucers Bible Lessons

The Future Flying Saucers blog has a ton of hands-on, kid friend, and just plain awesome Bible lessons. On this page you will find at least 39 Old Testament specific lessons and a lot of other lessons and ideas as well!

4. The Bible Road Trip

Okay, so I haven’t used this resource myself, but I have heard nothing but good things about it! It is described on the website like this,

Bible Road Trip is an exciting journey which places you and your children in the driver’s seat! Aimed at youth grades PreK-12, Bible Road Trip will allow your family to survey the Bible cover-to-cover in 3 years ~ with breaks for summer. There are notebooking pages available for the Lower Grammar (Grades 1-3), Upper Grammar (Grades 4-6) and Dialectic (Grades 7-9) levels. Students at the Rhetoric level (Grades 10-12) will keep their own notebooks and be busy sharing their information with others!

I absolutely love how the whole family can partake in this Bible curriculum together! I highly recommend checking it out!

5. Intoxicated on Life Resources

Intoxicated on Life is another fabulous resource for all things family discipleship. There are so many great materials on this website, but they also have multiple resources specifically for studying the Old Testament. Pop on over and check it out!

Am I missing anything? What is your favorite resource for studying the Old Testament?

 

 

 

 

Not Teaching Your Kids the Old Testament? 8 Reasons to Start

 

Not Teaching Your Kids the Old Testament? Here's 8 Reasons to Start.

I always have to give one of my good friends a hard time about how when we started college she didn’t realize that the David of “David and Goliath” was the same person as King David. And she even grew up in the church! We like to joke about it, but it’s kind of a shame that this fundamental knowledge wasn’t passed down to her at an early age.

So often in children’s ministry settings (and even in the big church too!) the Old Testament stories are glossed over or even altogether skipped – presumably for the sake of focusing on the “gospel.”

You might be nodding your head here – Yes, yes, we should be focusing on the gospel. After all, we are under the new covenant now – why should be focus on the Old Testament?” Or maybe you began a study of the Old Testament with gusto until you got stuck somewhere in 1 Chronicles, thinking why am I doing this again?

Great questions! Today I want to share eight reasons why I think you should teach the Old Testament to your kids (and study it yourself!). And I’m talking about in it’s entirety, not just a few of the popular stories here and there – made fluffy and given a “moral at the end of the story” like it’s Aesop’s Fables instead of the Word of God (I’m looking at you Jonah!).

So, without further ado, when your kids learn about the Old Testament they will….

1. Gain a better understanding of the full scope of God’s character

The mighty hand of God that created everything from the vast universe to the invisible atom.

His loving-kindness delivering His people from Egypt.

His justice displayed in the words of the prophets.

Studying all the different stories, experiences, time periods, and people represented in the Old Testament give you so many windows through which to catch a glimpse of God’s character.

2. Understand the full story of our sin and God’s goodness

The gospel is powerful. It is rightly the center of our faith. However, we have to avoid the temptation to believe that the gospel story begins in Matthew. Yes, it begins with Jesus – but it begins with Jesus in Genesis 1:1.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. -Genesis 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. -John 1:1-3

The story of God’s love and redemption through Christ is woven throughout the entire Old Testament. As we turn the pages of God’s story we find prophetic words, metaphorical foreshadowings, glimpses of His plan and purpose.

Through stories like Adam and Eve, Noah, and David we are brought down into the depths of the depravity and fallenness of humans. Only when we see ourselves in our place among the broken can we truly understand the magnitude of God’s love and mercy – and our need for His gospel offer.

Praying child.

3. Learn from a rich history of the saints and sinners before us

While I think that trying to tack on a neat moral to every Old Testament story does a disservice to the text, that doesn’t mean there is not a ton to learn in these pages. We learn of the characters strengths and successes and their sins and failures. We see God’s people love and obey Him, and also turn and forget Him.

One of the biggest lessons we see time and time again in the Old Testament is that God can and will use ordinary sinners just like me and you to take part in his big plans. We don’t have to be perfect to serve God, just trust Him and follow His commands.

4. Marvel at the perfectly planned lineage of Christ

To us, genealogies can often seem dry and boring. However, they too are an important part of God’s word.

Take, for instance, the genealogy of Christ found in Matthew 1. It would be easy to just skip on over it and get on to the story. However, have you ever stopped and looked at the names found in this passage?

Abraham (wife was barren) …

Rahab and Ruth (both non-Israelites) …

David (murderer and adulterer) …

… And the list goes on!

When we read of these people and their stories in the Old Testament we can see God’s faithfulness and plan in bringing his promised Messiah into the world.

5. Understand themselves in light of God’s story

Like I mentioned before, the Old Testament connects us with stories that mirror our own brokenness. We learn of our depravity in the story of Adam and Eve and see our same brokenness played out in the stories of God’s people time and time again. The Old Testament does not let us pass by without an understanding of our humanness, our dependance on God, and our lowly position before him.

However, in spite of our lowly position, the Old Testament also shows us how much we are loved and chosen by our creator. We see His plan to redeem His beloved people, no matter the cost. We see his love, patience, and mercy played out in the lives of ordinary humans. Ordinary humans that he allows to do great things for Him. Ordinary humans just like you and me … and your children.

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6. Be taught, rebuked, corrected and trained

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. -2 Timothy 3: 16-17

Timothy didn’t stutter when he said “all scripture.” In fact, during that time, the Old Testament probably would have been the primary scripture he was referring to! If you skip over the Old Testament as you seek to disciple your kids you are missing out on a huge chunk of what God has given to equip them.

7. Deepen faith through wrestling with tough topics

The flood, Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son, the story of the hardships of Job – these stories (and many others) aren’t Disney fairytales. The stories of the Old Testament are big, messy, and often hard to understand. When we wrestle with these stories, the concepts they hold and the questions they bring, we deepen our faith and understanding. This provides our children with a steadfast foundation that will stand the test of time.

8. Develop a deeper awe and reverence for God (and gratitude we can have a relationship with him)

Something that can often be missing in churches and Christians these days (including myself!) is a reverence, fear, and awe of a holy God. We get so focused on his love displayed through Christ that we can easily forget about his justice, power, and holiness.

Generally speaking, as they are set before the work and grace of Christ, the Old Testament stories give us a great picture of what it looks like to be in awe of a holy God. The creation account shows his strength, majesty, and sovereignty. The accounts of worship in the temple displays the lengths to which sinful people had to go to come anywhere close to God and his glory. Over and over again God’s chosen people and prophets declare themselves unworthy to stand before him.

These accounts do two things. First, they deepen our awe and reverence for God. Second, they make us all the more grateful for the relationship we can have with God because of the work of Christ.

Ready to get started?

Hopefully these eight reasons have encouraged you to give the Old Testament a chance. There are so many great reasons to dig in!

Plus, at the very least, you’ll know who King David is. 🙂

Do you have any more reasons you’ve found for studying the Old Testament?

EDITED TO ADD: I compiled a post with some great resources for teaching the Old Testament – find it right here!

Ready for an Old Testament Adventure?

Affiliate links included.

The ULTIMATE Guide to Using Biblehub.com

 

The ULTIMATE Guide to Using Biblehub.com In Your Bible Study-3

Have you ever heard of Biblehub.com? I mentioned it in last week’s post on my favorite Bible study tools, but this week I wanted to expand on all the awesomeness this website has to offer! If you’ve ever wondered how to do an in-depth word study, topical study, or read Biblical commentaries when you don’t have a huge library at your disposal – this post is for you!

They explain their mission clearly on the Bible hub website:

Our mission is best summarized as follows:

1) Increase the visibility and accessibility of the Scriptures online.

2) Provide free access to Bible study tools in many languages.

3) Promote the Gospel of Christ through the learning, study and application of God’s word.

Now that sounds like a worthwhile mission to me!

So, grab your Bible, your notebook, and some pens and pencils. Then, open up a browser window and head on over to biblehub.com and let’s get started!

1. Navigate to a passage

Lets start out with something simple – finding a passage!

Biblehub Tutorial

To find a passage, you can use the drop down menus at the top of the page, but the easiest thing to do is just type what you are looking for into the search box in the top middle of the screen. Hit enter/return and you’ll be brought to…

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… your passage!

Biblehub tutorial

Now, you can use the blue arrows on the side of the passage name or the circles on the outermost sides of the page to navigate to the previous and next chapters.

 

2. Search for key words

You can also use the search bar to search for key words, names, places, etc.

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Just type in the word(s) you want to search for and it will pop up with a list of verses!

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3. Find parallel verses and cross references

There are a few ways to find the page with this information…

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The first way is to type in the exact verse that you want to look up, both chapter and verse. If you just put the chapter number this will not work, it will take you to the page that shows you the full chapter.

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That will bring you right to this page! Again, you can use the blue arrows to navigate forward and backward through the passage. However, before we get into all the goodies located here, lets look at a few more ways to find it.

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For the second way, maybe you want to view the parallel versions of the whole chapter. This time, type the chapter you are looking for in the search bar and it will bring you to this familiar page. Next, click on the word “parallel” in the second (white) menu bar.

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It will assume that you want to see verse one, so to get back to the whole chapter, click the chapter link in the breadcrumb trail in the upper left corner.

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Voila! You can now read the whole chapter in different versions side by side.

Okay, lets look at one more way…

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For this third way, perhaps you have a general idea of where the verse is, but you don’t know the exact reference. First, search for the book and chapter in the search bar. Use the blue arrows to navigate around if you didn’t get to the chapter you were thinking of. Then, scan through the chapter until you find the verse you were looking for. To see the parallel verses, click on the blue number at the beginning of the verse.

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Yay! We are back here once again! Lets have a look around…

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Over to the left we have a nice long list of parallel verses.

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To the right you’ll find the verse in context. If you start scrolling down right below it you will see a list of cross references.

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If you continue to scroll down, underneath the cross references you will find the “Treasury of Scripture” which will break the verse down and find more related verses. These two sections are so handy to have when studying the Bible!

 

4. Do a word study

If you’ve always heard about the awesome practice of doing a word study but was never quite sure how to go about it – this section is for you! Biblehub.com makes it super easy to do an in depth word study.

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First, use the search bar to navigate to the verse that has the word you’d like to study.

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Like previously, there are multiple ways you can go about this, but this way is my favorite. Once, you’ve got your verse, click on the word “lexicon” in the white menu bar.

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Clicking that will pop you over to this handy little chart. It has the verse broken down along with the Greek (or Hebrew), the transliteration (aka the way we would spell the Greek word with our alphabet),  link to Strong’s, and a brief definition and origin. If you scroll down you will find a little more info at the bottom as well.

Next, you are going to want to find your chosen word in the verse and click on the blue Strong’s number in the fourth column.

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That will bring you to this lovely page! There is a lot of information here that you can explore, but I’ll highlight a couple of my favorite things.

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Over on the left side of the page you will find word definitions from different sources. My favorite is the HELPS Word-studies. It gives an in-depth explanation of the word in a way that is usually pretty simple to understand.

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Over on the right side of the page is a concordance listing. Here, you can find other verses that use the same word in the original language. This can be of great help to further understand the meaning that the author was intending when he used that word.

 

5. Use a concordance to do a topical study

Studying the Bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse is often the best way to really dig into the text. However, it can also be fruitful to do a topical study. When you take a topic like “love” or “justice” and follow it through the whole Bible your understanding can greatly increase.

There are a couple ways you can begin your topical study. One easy way is to enter the topic you are studying in the search bar, like we did in tutorial #3, bringing up a list of verses with that word in them. However, if you are looking for more information, try scrolling down to the “bible study tools” section.

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Once you are there, click on “concordance.” (“Topical” will get you the same place)

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Then, enter your topic in the “concordance search” box.

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That will bring you to the “topical search” page where it will break your topic down into sub-categories. Scroll through and click what you would like.

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That will bring you to this page which is full of info! You’ll find entries from dictionaries and encyclopedias, information on the original languages, books from their library, thesaurus and concordance entries, and a lit of subtopics and related topics. Whew! All that info right at your fingertips!

 

6. Access commentaries

Alright, now let’s look at some ways to access the many commentaries you can find on bible hub!

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First, there is a drop down menu on the top of the page that lists the commentaries and some different topics you can explore.

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For a more complete list of their commentary options, scroll down to the “bible study tools” section and click on “commentary.”

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That will bring you to this awesome “Bible Commentaries” page. If you scroll down you will find over 50 commentaries broken down into various categories and by book of the Bible.

Okay – let’s look at one more way to get to the commentaries. This time for if you are looking for commentary on a specific passage.

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Enter the passage you are looking for into the search bar on the main page. Then, click on the “comment” button in the white menu bar.

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That will bring up a list of all the commentaries they have starting with the first verse in that passage. Use the blue arrows on the left and right of the page to navigate forward and backward in the passage.

 

7. Chapter Outline

Sometimes it can be really helpful to have an overview of the chapter you are studying. Here is a quick way to find one!

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Using the search bar, search for the passage you want to outline. Then, on the bottom blue menu bar, find the little bitty outline icon (it looks like three rows of a dot followed by a line) and give it a click.

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Then, you’ll get a page with lists of the people and places and an outline of the passage. Everything is conveniently a clickable link, so you can easily find more information on the different topics.

 

8. Atlases

Using atlases to actually be able to see where the people and stories you are reading about are taking place can be very helpful. Let’s look at two ways to find some!

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On the main page, scroll down to the “bible study tools” section and click “atlas.”

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Type a name, location, or key word in the “atlas search” box. (I searched for “Moses”)

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Scroll through the results that pop up to find what you are needing…

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…and you’ll get a page with a nice map, plus a bunch of other helpful info!

Here’s one other quick way to get to an atlas…

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For this, just enter your passage into the search bar and right to the left you will see a couple related maps pop up! Click on any of them to bring up the page with all the additional information.

9. Parallel Gospels

If you’ve never used a parallel gospel, it is pretty neat! It takes the accounts in the gospels, arranges them in chronological order, and lines them up so you can see the same stories side by side. It’s especially helpful when you are studying a passage in one of the gospels and you want to see the same account from the other gospel writers.

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Just scroll down on the main page to the “Bible Study Tools” section and click on “Par Gospels.”

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That will bring you to this page. If you scroll down…

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…you will find the chronological list of the contents of the gospels.  Click on the topic you are looking for…

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…and it will bring up a page with the passages in any of the gospels they are found in!

10. Bible history timeline, Library of Christian works, Weights and Measures and More!

There is lots more to explore on Bible hub, but here’s a last few quick things!

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This timeline comes in handy! Especially when you are trying to sort out the order of events in the Old Testament. If you click on “timeline” under “Bible Study Tools” it will take you to a complete timeline of the Bible.

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huge resource they have is their library of Christian works! From the early church fathers, to Bible studies, to church history, and much more! Just click on “library” in the “Bible Study Tools” section to see the whole collection.

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I thought this was a neat feature – a list of weights, measures, etc. It’s a handy list for any unfamiliar unit of measure that you may run across in your studying.

Well, that’s all I have! There is definitely more you can discover on Bible hub, but hopefully that will get you started! Do you want to see more Bible study tutorials? Just let me know what you need in the comments below!

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Ready for an Old Testament Adventure?

 

 

 

My Favorite Bible Study Tools: 5 Simple Things to Help You Dig into the Text

My Favorite Bible Study Tools_ 5 Simple Things to Help You Dig into the Text

As Summer begins to come to a close and the new rhythms and routines of Fall come near, I am realizing that I have done a terrible job with personal Bible study over the last few months. So, as I prepare to get myself back in gear and (re)start some good habits, I want to share with you my favorite Bible study tools! They are nothing terribly groundbreaking, but they do a great job of helping you really dig into your Bible.

Here they are…

#1 A simple notebook

What kind doesn’t really matter. It could be a plain composition notebook, a journal, a sketchbook, or whatever. It just needs to provide a place to write down notes, prayers, verses and quotes, doodles, and whatever else you can think of jotting down.

#2 Colored pencils

I like using colored pencils over pens to write in my Bible or notebook because they are not quite as permanent. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the color bleeding through to the other side of your page. I just recently bought this Sargent set for my son as a step up from Crayola. They are really nice and I think I’m going to have to swipe them for my Bible study. 🙂

#3 Commentaries, word studies, Bible atlas, concordance, etc

While we do have quite a few commentaries and the like, I’m going to be honest, they don’t leave the shelf all too often. That is because my absolute favorite resource for studying the Bible is found in a super convenient place – online!

I love biblehub.com for pretty much anything you could need for studying the Bible. Commentaries, word studies, maps, concordance, different translations, devotionals – they have it all!

If you are looking to take your Bible study up a notch, I highly recommend giving this website a try.

#4 The Bible

Of course! Can’t have a Bible study without one of these important little books. 😉 For the longest time I used an NIV Bible until it was finally falling apart like crazy and I bought a new one. I had seen how popular Bible journaling was and I loved the journaling Bibles. So, I decided to buy an ESV Journaling Bible. I love it!

I’m definitely not one of those super amazing artistic Bible journalers, but I love having extra space for making little doodles or writing notes.

#5 A Bible Study Guide

Now, I definitely don’t think a devotional or Bible study guide is at all necessary to have a great personal Bible study. However, it can be helpful to have a plan and a little help as you dig into the text. Right now my personal favorite Bible study devotional is the “Journal and Doodle Through the Bible” series by Kari Denker. If you are looking for something new and fun that will also dig you deep into the text – look no further. Go grab her free Ephesians study right now! (I also reviewed Kari’s studies right here.)

Well, those are some of my favorite tools for studying the Bible. Are you getting ready to start a new study this fall? What are some of your favorite tools?

 

Affiliate links included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Steadfast Family.

Case of the Mixed Up Timeline (New ADVENTURE DEVOTIONAL for kids eBook!)

It’s here! It’s here! 

I have been working on this project on and off for the last year and a half. Writing, testing, editing, designing, and editing some more! I wanted to make sure it was the best it could be for you and your kids.

What Is It?

The International Bible Investigators
Case of the Mixed Up Timeline

IBI Case of the Mixed Up Timeline

If you joined us for the Summer Search for God last summer, then you have already been introduced to an adventure devotional.

I created the concept of an “Adventure Devotional” because most people, especially young ones, learn best through experiences. It is the things that we do, touch, taste, and feel that really stick in our memories. My goal with adventure devotionals is to bring God’s Word off the page and into life experiences that will stick with your children for years to come. The Case of the Mixed Up Timeline is no exception.

So what is it all about?

In this devotional, a villain named “Dr. H” has traveled back in time and destroyed the Timeline of Biblical Heroes. As a special agent, your child must travel back in time to complete the case files and set the timeline straight once again.

Each Biblical Hero has an incomplete case file and your child must solve the clues to discover the information on each Hero’s story. They then use that information to put the timeline back in order. Each case file also contains a “mission” – a hands on activity to further experience the story.

Untitled design-3

Included in the eBook is the following:

  • Parent introduction
  • Log book cover page and special agent badge printable
  • Letter to “new recruits”
  • 10+ pages of printable images needed to complete the cases
  • Printable timeline
  • 23 “case files”
  • Parent files with answers, activity ideas, devotionals, and Scripture references.

 

Ready for an Old Testament Adventure?

What Will My Child Gain From This Study?

The Case of the Mixed Up Timeline will provide your child with an overview of 23 of the main stories of the Old Testament. He or she will get to learn about and experience these stories in a unique, hands on way.

Not only that, but the parent files contain everything you need to further the discussion of these stories, bringing about a deeper understanding and personal connection. 

How Do I Purchase This Awesome Devotional?

Easy! Just pop over to the shop and in just a few moments you can start printing it out! And if you act quick, as a launch week special, you can get the entire adventure devotional for 50% off! That’s only $5!

Launch Week SALE

That means for only $5 you can get all the printables, 23 devotional “case files”, and the parent files. But grab it now, because this sale is for launch week only!

Buy it now!

launch week sale copy

4 Reasons Why You Should Memorize Bible Verses Along With Your Kids

4 Reasons Why You Should Memorize Bible Verses Along With Your Kids

Memorizing Scripture is a common Bible activity for children. Whether it’s through programs like Awana, by using Bible verses set to music, or even one of the lesson plans here on Steadfast Family – there are lots of recommendations and resources for Scripture memorization.

Once you’re a grown up, however, you don’t hear it talked about quite as much.

So, today I want to share four reasons I think we should jump in there and memorize right along with our kiddos!

1. To Be a Good Example

Kids are natural imitators. Monkey see, monkey do. Unfortunately you often realize this after they’ve imitated something you’d really rather them not. AmIright?  🙂

What better way to harness that imitator nature than by leading them to the power of God’s Word? 

I hope my boys have strong memories of their mama saying, singing, chanting, shouting, and whispering their memory verses right alongside them. And not only that, but also being able to recall scripture during the moments we need it. Which brings me to my next point…

2. To Be Able to Recall During Daily Moments

One of my favorite benefits of knowing and memorizing Scripture is the way the Holy Spirit will bring to mind these verses that you have hidden in your heart.

This is not only helpful when fielding spiritual questions from my very inquisitive four year old, but is a constant source of encouragement for me personally as well.

Just today I was pondering how badly I need more contentment in my life and I was thinking to myself “I sure do wish I could ask Paul how in the world he found contentment when he was stuck in prison!” Immediately the answer popped into my head:

For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13

3. To Exercise Our Brains

I’m not gonna lie, more days than not you will find me in the fog known as “mom brain.” With everything I have to do and keep track of, plus the constant demands of caring for small children by the end of the day my brain is mush.

Doing brain work such as memorization is like exercise for the brain. It keeps things sharp and working smoothly. I don’t know about you, but I can definitely benefit from my brain being in tip top shape.

Want to read more about the brain benefits of memorization? Check out this article on Ten Proven Brain Benefits.

4. To Meditate on God’s Word

I love studying the Bible. I love learning about historical context, original languages, and the layers of meaning. I enjoy taking notes, reading commentaries, and listening to teaching.

However, I’m also learning that sometimes I need to put away the study Bible, and just meditate on God’s Word.

Read it just to know it. Just to let the truth sink in. To get lost in the wonder and grace of it all.

Memorizing scripture provides plenty of opportunity for just that.

4 Reasons Why You Should Memorize Bible Verses Along With Your Kids-2

These are just a few reasons why memorizing scripture alongside your children is a beneficial practice. I’m sure there are many more!

What benefits can you add to this list?

 

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Play Through the Bible ONE YEAR Anniversary, a *New Look*, and FREE Printable!

Hey there! Things are a bit crazy around here for the next two weeks, so I’m taking a super short blogging break. However I wanted to pop in real quick to say, YAY, it’s the one year anniversary of Play Through The Bible!

If you’re new around here, Play Through the Bible was my big project last year. It is a 25 week series detailing our toddler Bible lesson plans. We worked through an entire toddler Bible, doing crafts and fun activities for each story. It was tons of fun!

Now, I always knew that this series was pretty popular on Pinterest. It made me really excited to see all the people pinning (and hopefully doing!) our fun Bible activities. However, I just recently checked the posts to see how popular they were on Pinterest…

The Play Through The Bible series has been pinned over TEN THOUSAND TIMES!

Wow! I was floored and so grateful! It makes me so excited to think of all the little toddlers out there learning about simple truths from God’s Word!

So, in honor of the one year anniversary and the series doing so well on Pinterest I went back through and updated all the posts! Did a little cleaning up, a little editing, and gave the series a new look!

The old graphic was one of the first I had ever made and it never quite looked the way I wanted…

Play Through The Bible

See? Not so pretty.

And here’s the new one!

Play Through The Bible
Yay! Look at all those fun activities!

One last thing – to make preparing to do the lessons with your little one a whole lot easier I’ve put together a free supply list!

I purposely made the lessons so that they mainly used only basic craft supplies and things you’d find laying around your house. I wanted the lessons to be simple and accessible for most people! Now, with the supply list, you can see exactly what you need for the whole series!

The supply list is free for subscribers – so to get your copy, just enter your name and email at the bottom of this post!

Again, thank you so much for making this series a success!

Affiliate links included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Steadfast Family.

IBG Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible – REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

Today I am sharing with you one of my new favorite things. I’d like to introduce you to my new favorite Bible studies, Journal and Doodle Through the Bible!

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

I had been in a bit of a Bible study rut when I came across these intriguing studies. I had never done anything quite like them!

Created by Kari Denker, of the Stone Soup for Five blog, these studies combine simple drawing, journaling, and in depth Bible study for a devotional experience that will knock your socks off!

Here’s five reasons why I love the Journal and Doodle Bible Studies…

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

1. They are Perfectly Planned for You

Each study is broken into individual sections with tasks separated by checklists. I don’t have to waste any time or brain power trying to figure out what to do next because it is already all set-up for me! This is perfect for my quiet time, which tends to be frequently interrupted by my darling children. I can easily put down the study and pick right back up where I left off!

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

2. They Dig Deep into God’s Word

I’m not going to lie, I am really picky about my Bible studies and devotionals. There is just so much out there that is fluffy and cheesy! The Journal and Doodle Studies do a great job at helping you dig deep into the passage you are studying. They cover context, key words, reflection, application, and more.

3. They are Created to Be Memorable

Oftentimes while reading my Bible I find myself finishing a passage and then promptly forgetting everything I just read. These studies are amazing for helping you slow down and really reflect on what you are reading. Plus, the doodling seems to activate another area of your brain, helping you to better remember what you are studying.

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

4. They Are Great for all Ability Levels

I am a terrible artist. Seriously. I have drawing abilities about on par with a seven year old (and that may be a diss on many a seven year old’s abilities). At first I was a little hesitant to do a Bible study like this, because I thought it wouldn’t work for me and my limited abilities. I’m glad I decided to give it a try because I couldn’t have been more wrong! Kari does a great job guiding you through the doodling, complete with lots of examples! Perfection is discouraged and mistakes are welcome. Of course, if you are more artistically inclined, the sky is the limit with these studies!

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

5. They are Fun!

While I do thoroughly enjoy a good theological book or a detailed commentary, I love how fun this type of study is! It is so nice to take break from child wrangling and have a little fun with my Bible study during my quiet time.

Does this sound like something you’d be interested in? I have good news! Kari is generously to offering a free copy of her latest study pack to one lucky Simple Life. Messy Life. reader!

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

The winner will receive a digital download (PDF) of the special launch week package – Journal and Doodle studies for both 1st and 2nd Corinthians, plus 4 doodle reference sheets! (If you don’t want to take a chance on winning, go grab the pack now before launch week is over – the studies are very reasonably priced!)

Enter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway