I read an interesting article a few months ago that poses the question: As Christians, do we put our needs and wants for our families above our sacrificial living to God? It is an intriguing question and caused me to pause, pray, and reflect on my priorities.
As I continued to think about that question, I was reminded that as parents, mentors, teachers, and anyone who has influence in a child’s life, we are instructed to train the children in our lives in the truth of Scripture and to help them understand what it means to live a life fully surrendered to God. We do this when we live sacrificially. This is emphasized throughout Scripture, but check out Deuteronomy 6, Proverbs 22, and 2 Timothy 3 as a start.
In our house, we want reading the Bible together to be a priority, but it can be difficult with varied reading levels, maturity, and understanding. Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience offers us many options to overcome these hurdles, like audio of the day’s readings, videos to help us have an overview of what’s going on, and the family reading guides.
The family reading guides are resources designed to assist parents, guardians, and other family leaders in guiding their families through the transformative Immerse experience. Essentially, it’s an abridged version of each Immerse volume. So, it’s an excellent way for young readers in your family to participate in the Immerse experience without becoming overwhelmed.
The readings are shorter and always drawn from within a single day’s reading when following the volume’s reading plan. This helps everyone in the family to stay on the same reading path. Each daily Bible reading in the family guide is introduced by a short paragraph to orient young readers to what they are about to read. This paragraph will also help to connect the individual daily Scripture passages to the big story revealed in the whole Bible.
The readings end with a feature called Talking Together, created especially for young readers. These provide reflective statements and questions to help them think more deeply about the Scriptures they have read. (Talking Together is also useful for guiding your family discussions.)
The readings in the family guide are intended primarily for children in grades 4 to 8, but they can be adapted to help younger children too. High schoolers and college students can easily read from the full volumes. In fact, many in this age group have found this experience life-changing. (Watch the videos of a high school class that read Immerse: Messiah and hear from students in a University New Testament class.)
Sometimes the best way to get everyone on the same page is to read something out loud together. If your family enjoys reading aloud together on a regular basis, that may be the most natural way for you to use the family reading guide.
For families that haven’t tried this, you may want to experiment. Begin each daily reading with the introductory paragraph to give context, followed immediately by the daily Scripture passage. Then the Talking Together feature can help you lead a family discussion. And don’t forget about the audio and video resources that are available at ImmerseBible.com.
This doesn’t have to be just your nuclear family. Why not get extended family involved so more generations can be gaining insight and wisdom from each other. The family guides are also a great way for full congregations to be immersed together in God’s Word. Bethesda Community Church in Texas is a multigenerational, multiethnic, multilingual congregation. Watch this video and hear how using Immerse has brought not only unity but community to this thriving family of God.