How to Teach God’s Word {As Your Kids Get Older}

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My boys got their start in God’s Word pretty early in life. Almost from the time they were born we were reading them Bible stories and taking them to church. However, as they have grown {They are currently 14 and 18 years old.}, the way we approach biblical teaching has had to change. Gone are the days of us sitting down together a reading a chapter in the Old Testament as we learn Biblical history. Gone are the days of us reciting verses together. As they have aged they have changed and we as their parents have had to do the same.
 teaching older kids about the Bible

Before I get into how we have used God’s Word in our home let me pass on two main ideas when it comes to raising our kids up in such a way that we instill God’s Word in their hearts…

First, there is Deuteronomy 6:6-7, what I believe are God’s instructions for how to teach our kids at home.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon 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. 

We are to impress God’s Word on our children’s hearts. And how are we to do it? Every chance we get! Look at the times we are supposed to share with our kids:

At home (While you are doing the dishes? At dinner?)

When you walk along the road (Discussions in the car?)

When you lie down (At the end of the day? Before they go to bed?)

When you get up (Morning devotionals? A discussion during breakfast?)

This method is for all ages, but I have found that it actually works really well with teens. Slipping in those nuggets of truth {read…God’s Word} works better as you go about life with your kids instead of just doing formal Bible teaching. It just becomes a natural part of what you talk about during the day.

The second idea is this…

teaching older kids the BibleThe whole goal in teaching your kids God’s truth is to have it change their hearts and then have them apply it. If you take a can of paint and sit it in your house and do nothing with it, it hasn’t benefited you AT ALL! The same with God’s Word. You need to teach your kids how to apply it to their lives so it will do them some good. Kids filled with biblical head knowledge who don’t know how to apply the Scriptures many times turn out to be mini-Pharisees.

So here is how teaching application looks in our home with a recent real-life example…My older son comes home from work frustrated at a co-worker. I ask him questions about the man’s behavior. We then talk about how he can interact with this guy in a godly way using grace and truth. I didn’t pull out a Bible. We just discussed the issue and then I gave him some pointers {based on God’s Word} on how to deal. I also told him that above all this is a broken man {like we are all} and that he needed to keep that in mind as he went through his shift with him. By talking about how we are all broken in God’s eyes it gave him some compassion for this very frustrating individual. This mini-application lesson happened at 11 pm after he got home from a friend’s house. It wasn’t planned. It was just using what I knew of the Scriptures to help him through a difficult situation. Real-life Bible lesson on the fly.

So here are some resources and ideas that we have used over the years as our kids have gotten older…

A Way to Memorize God’s Word– Memorizing God’s Word has changed over the years for us. When they were little we did it together. As they got older I used this card idea {see the link}. As teens I would either assign them a verse or they would pick one and then tell it to me after they got it memorized (normally at the end of the week).

Gratitude journals– For several years I had my boys keep gratitude journals. They would get them out in the morning and we would sit together and quietly write three to five things they were thankful for. This is practical application as God tells us to give thanks in all things. It refocuses their hearts from the negative things in their lives to what God has done for them.

Reading Challenges– I have heard of other parents doing this and want to try it with my youngest sometime during his high school years. Set up a reading challenge and do it with your child. Maybe it is reading the Bible in a year. Or the Bible in 90 Days. Or maybe just the New Testament. Whatever the challenge do it with them.

Biblical Teaching through Books– Besides reading God’s Word there are tons of books out there that can help your kids with their walk with God. Here is a link to a list of just a few for teens. I want to highlight one book though that I think every teen should read (or maybe you can read it together and discuss). Enemies of the Heart  by Andy Stanley is one of the best books in teaching the practical part of Scripture. Andy takes four emotions {guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy} and discusses how to deal with them using God’s Word. I have taught youth Sunday School classes using this book, and my boys have read it at least once. Actually, I highly recommend it to parents as it touches on how we guide our kids’ hearts to apply God’s Word.

31 Days of God’s Word for my Kids and Journaling Bibles as Gifts-This is my newest endeavor with my kids. However, they don’t even know it’s coming yet. For each of my boys I will be giving  them a journaling Bible when they graduate high school filled with notes to them based on Scripture. The first link you see is a list of all the verses I am doing and a general idea of what I will be writing to them. The second link gives you more specific instructions on how to go about doing a journaling Bible for your teen. I am hoping as they leave my house they will take God and His Word with them.

And for you as a parent read…

Sticky Faith which will give you ideas on how to make your children’s faith “stick” in the long run. Once again this book gives ideas {tons of them} on how to teach your kids to apply God’s Word to their daily lives. As they grow and move out you want them to carry their faith with them. While there are no guarantees on the decisions they will make, this book will help you help your kids “own” their faith.


Debbie lives in central Alaska with her husband and two teen boys. She loves to read, write, and spend time with loved ones. She homeschools her sons and runs an in-home business offering Spanish lessons to other homeschoolers. She blogs about faith at The Architect and the Artist and about teaching Spanish at Debbie’s Spanish Learning.


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