One of the things that's a bit frustrating about preaching is that I always have more to say than time to say it. My friend and former boss Mark Bates refers to this as leaving material on the cutting-room floor. Every Sunday there's at least another 10 minutes worth of sermon that I wish I had time to deliver. Perhaps we should all move to Africa where Christians don't check their watches during the sermon.
Anyway, last Sunday my sermon was about how to study the Bible. My text was the familiar story in Luke 10:38-42 about Mary sitting at Jesus' feet and listening to his words. I used this sermon as an opportunity to teach a method of Bible study often referred to as the inductive method.
What I wanted to add, but didn't have time, was that parents play a critical role in helping their kids develop a love for the Scriptures. The five steps of Bible study that I outlined in my sermon could easily be applied in the context of family devotions. Fathers (or mothers, in the case of single moms) should get the family together in the evening, read a passage of Scripture, and ask one or more of the questions that I cited during my sermon. This way, rather than making the kids sit still and listen as Dad shares what he thinks the passage is saying, the whole family embarks on an adventure of discovery. Another benefit of doing this is that the kids learn a method of Bible study they can use on their own.
One of my regrets is that I did not do this kind of thing enough when my children were little. We had family devotions, but I did not read through books of the Bible, asking thoughtful questions and initiating family Bible study. So if you are a parent of young children, learn from my mistake. Seize the opportunity to build Bible reading into your family's daily routine. If your kids are involved in a regular discipline of family Bible study, they will carry that habit into adulthood and be well equipped to face the challenges of life.