Teaching Our Children to Love the Scriptures


Our children “shouted for joy” at the prospect of coming to earth. It is logical to think that they hoped their earthly parents would not neglect them; they wanted to be taught the word of God so they would qualify for eternal life with their Heavenly Father.

And now they are here. How can we, their earthly parents, help them to search the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God? (See Alma 17:2.) How can we teach them to feel as did Nephi, who rejoiced in the word of God: “For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children”? (2 Ne. 4:15.)

Here’s a seven-step approach to teaching children the priceless value of the holy scriptures, an approach that we have been using in our own home with some success.

1. Each week we as parents discuss the most pressing problem or character trait we would like to work on with our children; often we select a topic in our family council. This involves our children in solving their own problems and gives them great satisfaction. They may decide, for example, to learn to pray more meaningfully and gain a closer relationship with their Heavenly Father. In our family, we went to the scriptures and studied about prayer; then we began to put into practice in our family and individual prayers the things we had learned. We tried to think more about our blessings, and this gave us more grateful hearts, thus encouraging us to keep the commandments more fully.

2. Help in understanding the scriptures can be found if we as parents will go to the living prophets (see D&C 68:4), and to the standard works, concordances, ready references, and Church books that are written about the scriptures. Though this may take time, it is extremely helpful in teaching our children (and ourselves).

3. Appropriate scriptures are selected and put on a family bulletin board, where they can be referred to often. This bulletin board may be a permanent one that can be covered with acetate and erased every week, or it can be simply a typewritten page.

4. The whole family reads scriptures together on Sunday and discusses important points. An introduction that puts a difficult-to-understand verse in its proper context is important. Each family member who is old enough to read has his own copies of the standard works to read from and to mark.

5. Family members read or discuss scriptures together during mealtimes, or read them individually and then discuss them at appointed times.

6. If we as parents generate a sense of enthusiasm and joy with regard to the word of God, this radiates to our children. They enjoy using the scriptures as a source of exciting family activity ideas:

a. Helping a needy family: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me,” the Savior said. (Matt. 25:40.)

b. Seeing a family member or friend being baptized or confirmed into God’s kingdom: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5.)

c. Surprising a neighbor anonymously with some treats. (See 3 Ne. 13:1–4.)

d. Helping Grandma and other elderly persons in need. (See James 1:26–27; Gal. 6:2.)

When children realize that these experiences are taught in the scriptures, they can see how the scriptures really do bring happiness.

7. Have the children keep a daily journal with scriptures and their explanations, as well as a record of their own personal spiritual experiences.

To be true parents in Zion is a challenging responsibility. Yet we can become perfect parents because we are the children of God. We can teach our children to love and read the scriptures if we ourselves set the example and carry out our plans with patience and love.

The following outline illustrates our one-week plan for studying about prayer.

Search the Scriptures

Prayer: A spiritual experience with our Heavenly Father.

 

Application and Discussion for Our Profit and Learning

Sunday

 

1. James 1:5–6

Ask and it will be given

2. 1 Ne. 15:7–11

He answers earnest inquiries

3. Moro. 10:4–5

Truth of Book of Mormon and all things known

4. 3 Ne. 20:1

And a prayer in your heart always

5. Hel. 10:4–5

Pray to do the will of the Father

6. Hel. 3:35

Power of fasting and prayer

7. Alma 13:27–29

Some real blessings from prayer

8. 3 Ne. 18:14–21

Some real blessings from prayer

Monday

 

Alma 34:17–28

Pray for all things

Tuesday

 

James 5:14–15

Prayer helps the sick and afflicted

Wednesday

 

Mosiah 24:8–25

Your own burdens made light

Thursday

 

Alma 37:36–37

Always counsel with Heavenly Father

Friday

 

D&C 88:63–65

Draw close to Lord and he will draw near to you

Saturday

 

D&C 9:7–9

We can tell if our decisions are correct

A dentist by profession, Brother Pinegar is also a part-time instructor in religion at Brigham Young University and a Sunday School teacher in the Oak Hills Fifth Ward, Sharon East Stake.