St. Jerome once said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
God has given us so many wonderful gifts. As Catholic Christians, the Holy Bible is one of these treasured assets. While we hear the Word proclaimed at every Mass, we must also take the Bible off the coffee table or shelf in our home and read it daily for it to have a greater impact on our lives. In the Bible, God comes to meet us and talk with us about why we were created and how much he loves us. He communicates how he wants us to live in harmony with him and with each other. Reading and studying Sacred Scripture with an openness to what God wants to say to us in the story of our salvation can be a fulfilling endeavor. Passing this story on to younger generations can be even more rewarding. Try reading the Bible aloud to your children and teenagers.
What does the Bible say about children and Bible study? Plenty! We are to encourage our families to learn the story of our salvation history and how and why we live our faith. We need to teach our children how much God loves them as we model this love to each other. For example, here are a couple of Scripture passages:
And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and 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. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven”.
What does the Catholic Church say about children and Bible study? Again, plenty! The Church is our family, the bride of Jesus Christ, and God has promised that the “gates of hell” will not prevail against her. Here are some excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord’s Body. She never ceases to present to the faithful the bread of life, taken from the one table of God’s Word and Christ’s Body. In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, “but as what it really is, the word of God.” “In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them”.
Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith…
These are just a few reasons to read, share, and meditate on the Sacred Scriptures. Why not make a daily habit of it?
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Lisa Bromschwig holds a Masters Degree in Pastoral Ministry from the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity. She has worked in parish Faith Formation for more than ten years and is a co-author of the GPS: God’s Plan in Scripture program for children. Lisa and her husband Kurt live in Texas.