How to Encourage a Love of Scripture in Your Family

This week we celebrate National Bible Week and invite all Catholics to deepen their faith, encountering Christ in Scripture and allowing His Word to shape their hearts and minds.

By: Deacon Marques Silva

The dinner table at my house has always been a place to not only discuss the joys and trials of the day but also what we are learning and experiencing. Topics range from the profound to the mundane in any number of eclectic subject matter areas including: politics, religion, science, comic book heroes and, of course, food recipes.

family-eating-at-the-table-619142

Recently, during a more serious and academic moment, we discussed a statement that was made by the Very Reverend John Behr, an American Eastern Orthodox priest and theologian and Dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. While speaking at Southeastern Seminary on the topic of The Passion of Jesus as the Key to Reading Scripture, he made a very interesting statement that continues to be discussed in our family:

“The way that we know who Christ is, is as the crucified and risen one. Known through the opening of the Scripture and the breaking of the bread. The reason that is so important is that this is what we do today… We are not at a disadvantage in this by being two thousand years later. The disciples had the advantage of being there 2,000 years ago but did they benefit from it? Did they get it from being there?…The point is to know Christ as the disciples know Him and that is not by being there, 2,000 years ago. It is by having the Scriptures opened to us and knowing Him in the breaking of the bread to then search after Him.”

For my family, the reading, studying and discussion of Sacred Scripture has been part and parcel of our daily life. I asked the kids how we developed and fostered this love of Scripture in them and they were dumbfounded (Not helpful when you are asked to write a blog on the topic). Regardless, we put our heads together and here are our top five ways to encourage the love of Scripture in the family:

1

Teach them our family story from the beginning.
We have always included the biblical narrative as bedtime stories since the earliest days of their childhood. The great heroes of the faith inspired them – truth is many times stranger than fiction.

2

Give them their own personal copy of the Holy Writ.
Our kids looked forward to receiving their copy of Sacred Scripture on the day of their First Holy Communion. Not only is this all they received from me but it was less of a gift and more of a treasure entrusted to them “to teach and guide them in all their ways.” (Psalm 32:8)

3

Pray the Sacred Scripture consistently and joyfully.
Our kids have many memories of my wife and I reading and meditating on Scripture daily. By this example, they also are able to see the joy, consolation and struggle that comes from hearing our Lord speak to us. They need to understand that Scripture not only encourages us but corrects and reproves. (Psalm 119:103)

4

Communicate that reading Scripture is an encounter.
They need to know that the Bible is neither a history book – although it does contain history – nor a novel – even though, let’s be honest, it has some amazing drama in it. Scripture is a real encounter with the living God. Through it, we hear Him speak to us and we respond accordingly. Why? The Bible: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. (Hebrews 4:11)

5

Make it an integral part of your life.
Faith is more caught than taught. Scripture is part of our natural conversation, music and decision-making process. It is not a subject that is forced into conversation or used as an apologetic proof but wisdom and truth to guide and strengthen our daily life. (Deuteronomy 6:7)

Start with the Gospels and don’t shy away from the hard sayings. Discuss them. Wrestle with them. Meditate upon them. Invite your children into the discussion. Many times they have insights that will blow our minds away. Most importantly remember the maxim of
Saint Jerome:

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

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