First Things

One Sunday we actually made it to church early, and an elderly saint asked how homeschooling was going. I admitted that some days we didn’t seem to accomplish a thing.

“Did you read them the Bible?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“Then you did accomplish something.”

The truth of her words resonated, strengthening with time. At first I clung to it: if I read the Bible to my kids, we had accomplished something that day after all. Decades later I realize that not only did we accomplish something, but often the most important thing.

Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy Word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.” Who doesn’t want to avoid sin, or at least its consequences? And who doesn’t want that for their children?

We encourage each family member to spend time in the Word early and as able. My husband and I like to review memory verses before praying together upon waking. Scripture has a way of purifying our thoughts, even to pray. It tames me, saving me from who knows how many missteps or hasty words, especially if I meditate on what I’ve read, savoring it throughout the day as my necessary food.

I try to start my morning with a good literal translation like the NASB or the beautiful tried-and-true King James. Asking the Holy Spirit to help me understand and apply what I need, I usually read one chapter in the New Testament and three in the Old, which more than takes me through the Bible each year even with missing a day here and there. I often ponder or pray through portions significant to me, emailing to my college daughters those I pray they’ll find relevant for their days. If my remaining child at home is up, I read her some of my chapters. If not, I may review old verses and learn a new one then or as breaks during the day. After the evening meal, my husband reads us a chapter or two. Lately, we’re memorizing the same chapter and making review a fun nightly competition that our youngest often wins.

The Bible is complete for all ages. Our youngest finally realizes that her questions are usually answered a little later on in the same challenging verse or in the next verse. We do take time to discuss, define and apply as needed, comparing verse with verse for further comprehension if necessary (which helps the antsy ones of us develop patience). We’ve done this for so many years that now, when we face something, a pertinent Bible verse or two usually springs to even our nine-year old’s mind.

This thought lends urgency to the issue, but it’s actually true in everyday situations, too: if the Bible suddenly became inaccessible, how much would we and our children still have available?

Dear Father, please give us and our families a love for You, your Word and each other. And let us not merely be hearers of the word, but doers.

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