"Do you have to teach Bible?"
Now while I know what people are really asking when they pose this question is do we have to have Bible as a "subject"? I am always amazed and slighty perplexed when I read or hear the question More than being perplexed by the question, I am astonished at how often I hear the answer "No, reading the Bible is enough. You don't want to do too much or be overwhelmed." Really? Would you consider just reading your history book? Science book? Grammar book? Of course not. While there is much to be gleaned from just "reading" we must interact and engage the material to really ingest and apply it.
Should you teach Bible as a "school" subject?
I think this is the wrong question. What else do you have to teach that is more important?
As a Christian a Biblical worldview and Biblical literacy is THE most important thing I teach my children. While I desire to pursue academics hand in hand with Biblical literacy and deep character training, the truth is, in my mind, my One Magnificent Obsession in life is not teaching my children the 3 R's but the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I want them to be passionately in love with Jesus and following Him with their whole heart and mind. It is to that end I teach math, reading, and writing.
I am so very passionate about this topic. We live in a culture of Christianity that is Biblically illiterate, and the church is evidence of this. 80% of churched teenagers leave the church at eighteen and never come back. We as Christian parents need to step up and say my child will not be a statistic. By God's grace I will do all I can to assure my children are firmly founded in the Word of God and that the Bible plays not just a role in our homes, but a central role. It is the foundation by which we do all things: make decisions, choose curriculum, choose friends, organize our time, spend our money, choose careers, colleges, and spouses. If the Bible is the basis for such life altering decisions, we should KNOW the Bible, right? Not just stories but the intricacies and doctrines, the people whose lives are offered as examples, and the message of the Gospel on which we hinge everything in our lives.
I had a very wise homeschool mom tell me once when I was tearing my hair out choosing curriculum, that as she looked back on those early years with her kids, the one thing she got right was making Bible the most important thing she did. Even if nothing else got done that day, the teaching of the Bible was the most important thing. I have adapted this mentality. Does that mean we only teach Bible? No, but if I had to choose one thing to do, that would be it.
Does Family Worship replace the need for Bible as a class?
No. Family worship is important but for our family we delineate between family worship and Bible study. During family worship we do our catechism questions, read a portion of Scripture, sing a song and pray. It is more devotional in nature whereas deep Bible study happens during Bible as a subject time.
How do you have time for all of it?
Martin Luther once said “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” This is how I feel about studying the Bible. How can we fully grasp the truth of anything without the Truth? You make time for what you prioritize, and in our home we prioritize the study of the Bible.
What about if my kids are in Christian school?
So, we are not all homeschoolers. What if your kids attend Christian school? They have Bible class already, so should you do more? Christian schools and churches are to come alongside you as parents to teach the Bible, not substitute you. Do you know what your children are learning in Bible class? That teacher is just a another person, be sure you are checking in on the doctrine and interpretations being offered your child. On the day of judgment it will be your responsibility not your child's Bible teacher or Sunday school teacher. Discuss with your kids what they are learning about the Bible and be sure they are founded in Truth. Be sure to be practicing family worship and prioritizing the Word in your home.
What about if my kids are in public school?
If you have made the choice to put your child in public school, consider this quote by Voddie Baucham. If we send our children to public school "we shouldn't be surprised when they come home wearing the enemy's uniform and charging the hill of our home waving the enemy flag." Now I do not say this to say no one should put their child in public school, I quote this so you see the urgency of establishing a Biblical worldview and Biblical literacy in your children. The teaching of God's Word to your children is the responsibility of the parent no matter where they go to school.
If it is that important why don't we do it?
This section is not going to win me any brownie points because I plan to be rather blunt. If you were to assess and compare two solid moral families today, one Christian, one not, what would you find? One attends church, prays before meals, and before bed. There would hopefully be some accidental conversation about Jesus, God, and the righteous life at some point, but most of the time it is not intentional.
This is not enough. We spend too much time on everything else that is temporal, and not a fraction of what we should on the eternal. We need to be intentional. Every day we must get up and intentionally build a foundation of Truth in our children, establish a worldview in them in which they will filter truth and stand firm even when they leave our care.
Does this mean we never just READ the Bible?
Certainly not. In my own personal Bible study time sometimes I do deep study surrounded by commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and other study tools, and other times I just read so that the Holy Spirit can furrow His Word into my heart. There is a time to simply read and meditate on God's Word, but meditation always takes deeper root when it falls upon tilled soil.
Model a love for God's Word in your own heart. Be a lover of the Word and allow your kids to catch your excitement. Read it, study it, memorize it. Feast on it. Treat God's Word with more care than your math book. Give it more time and attention. Establish the role of the Bible in your home knowing that the fruit of it is eternal.