Help Your Kids Learn & Love The Bible, by Danika Cooley
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
One of the fascinating things about this book is that the author’s desire for children to embrace the Bible comes with such non-biblical baggage attached to it. In reading this book I was struck above all with the fact that much of what the author was seeking to transmit to her children and what she encourages the reader to do is not so much a love of the Bible but a love of the Bible as it is understood by the parent. This is by no means the same thing. Yet what we want to transmit to children, whether we have kids of our own or teach them in some other fashion (as I do in Sabbath School, for instance), is not merely information about the Bible or a love about the Bible as a text, but a specific understanding of the Bible as well as a culture that we want to share that relates to the Bible as the foundation of our faith, as we understand it. The author, as is common, assumes that the reader shares the same understanding of the Bible as she does, but it is often very fascinating to read material from a different perspective, because one can recognize the difference between what is shared and what is not between the reader and the writer, and one can be reminded of one’s own hermeneutics.
This book is a relatively short one at less than 200 pages and it is a quick read. The book begins with an introduction that encourages the reader that they can help their children to learn and love the Bible. After this comes three chapters that discuss the reader as a leader within their household (I), including a discussion of how one makes the Bible approachable for one’s children (1), helping children make a good start to a strong finish (2), and finding time to talk about and read the Bible in an age of hustle and bustle (3). After that comes four chapters on discussing what faithful reading of the Bible is (II), including a discussion about questions of authorship and inspiration (4), the importance of keeping the message of the Bible in view (5), the Bible as a library of books (6), and also what profitable discussion of the Bible involves (7). After that is a third part of the book on one’s daily walk of faith (III), which includes chapters on reading the Word together with one’s family (8), hiding the Word of God in the heart of one’s children (9), praying the Word of God together (10), and studying the Word when one doesn’t feel like it (11). The book ends with a discussion of reaping fruit in a conclusion as well as notes, works consulted, and information about the author.
One of the things that is obvious when it comes to teaching children to have a love of the Bible, and that is in order to inspire someone else with a love of the Bible one has to have a love of it oneself. One cannot inspire a deep and genuine love that one does not feel, as it is not what one says but what one does and what one is that is the most important in communicating a love of the Bible to others. The author, for all of our differences, has certain similarities to me when it comes to being raised with such a love and wishing to spread it to others. I can remember myself growing up in a family where discussion about the Bible and its meaning and its application were regular subjects of conversation among the people in my family, and growing up in this atmosphere certainly encouraged my own deep and abiding interest in the Bible. The author appears to have had the same sorts of experiences and wishes others to have them as well, including her own children and the families of the readers, and that is something to appreciate and enjoy.