I drive my children to school each morning, and most days our morning drive involves us reading a chapter from the Bible together. The kids take turns reading out loud while I drive. Sometimes there’s controversy over who will read first, second, and last, but once that’s settled we spend the next 15 minutes or so listening to and discussing God’s word. I try to read the chapter before they get up in the morning so that I will already have an idea of what they will be reading and know what points in the chapter I want to bring out. Currently we’re reading through the book of Matthew, getting ready for Bible bowl for Lads to Leaders. I have to tell you, though, this is not a chore for us. It is so much fun studying the book. No study questions, no drills – just reading and absorbing. (I wish that I could also instill this principle of learning the content instead of studying for the test into my math students, but that’s another story!)
We will read through the book of Matthew several times during the next few months, and it helps to look at in a different way each time we read it. Our first approach has been to come up with an ABC’s of Matthew list. We give the first chapter some title that starts with A, the second chapter one that starts with B, and so on. Matthew has 28 chapters. The alphabet has 26 letters, so it almost matches up perfectly. We just call Chapter 27 “AA” and Chapter 28 “BB,” and there’s no problem. I had seen this done for the book of Acts, so we decided to come up with a list for the book of Matthew as well.
It is so much more enjoyable coming up with the list on our own. For one, it makes the kids (and parents) really read the chapter with the intent of noticing the main content of the chapter. Secondly, my kids are very creative, so it’s funny to hear what they come up with! Thirdly, once we’ve discussed together and settled on a title, it makes it so much more memorable. My husband suggested the title “Annunciation” for chapter 1, for the announcing of Jesus’ birth. The looks on mine and the kids’ faces caused him to reconsider. We went with his second suggestion – Ancestors – instead. As a result, now I will always remember both.
One day last week on the way to school, my son came up with another great idea. He suggested that the next time we go through the book we draw a page to represent each chapter with its letter. This is similar to what we had done in the past with the Jesus books, but with a 28-page book of Matthew instead. I love this idea! We won’t be able to do all that on the school drive, so we will read it in the morning, and then make our pages each evening.
Our plan after that is to read Matthew and list in a notebook each time a prophecy is fulfilled. This is also something that we will complete in the evenings. I especially look forward to this one since it is something I have wanted to do for a long time anyway.
Another thought is to make a book detailing just the parables or just the miracles that Jesus performs. We could even get a giant sheet of paper and do a mural of these on the wall.
Can you imagine how well we will all know the book of Matthew by the time we go through the book in all of these different ways? I am really excited about it, because as we come to know the book of Matthew, we come to know Jesus.
There is so much in this world that is bad. There is no way to fix everything. This is one thing that I can do. I can show my children Jesus, giving them the chance to know Him. There is a place for memory work and drills in Bible study, but let’s not forget the purpose of all this – not to win Bible bowl trophies or answer questions correctly, but to know the story of God’s love for us. It’s not a chore. It’s a treasure.