fail at family bible study

7 Reasons We Fail At Family Bible Study

We know we need to! We concede that it is important! We even encourage others to do it! But, at the end of the day, family Bible study in our own homes can be such a struggle.

I believe that most of us want to be the best parents we can be. And, no doubt, there are times when we feel like we have no idea what we are doing. We love our children dearly and genuinely want the best for them. We want them to know and love Christ deeply. If you are like me, you really believe the best thing we can pass on to our children—more than a great education, or a sports scholarship, or wild success, or financial security—is a love for God and His Word.

So then, if this—a genuine, lasting, unrivaled love for God—is really what we want for our children, then why is it so difficult? I believe there are a couple of ways in which we intentionally show our children Jesus.

  1. We show our children Jesus by the way we live. James says that our faith will have action (James 2:24,
    the whole book of James, really)… so we show our children Jesus through consistent, Godly living. Things like loving our spouse, saying “I’m sorry,” helping others, prayer, the way we talk… really, our whole lives.
  2. Second, we show our children Jesus by taking them to God’s Word, often. We read it together, we talk about it together, we examine it together. Ultimately, we want to teach our children how to get into God’s Word on their own. If we want them to love God, we need to show them the God of the Bible.

In the next several paragraphs, I would like to identify a few reasons that we struggle with consistency in the area of family Bible study. The purpose of this article is not to pile on the guilt and shame, but rather, help us think through the reasons we struggle. I will also attempt to help answer some of the concerns and hindrances.

1. Time (school, sports, band, work, play, etc.)

I know, we all wish we had more time in the day, or that we didn’t have to sleep every night (because that is such a time waster). The truth is, time is a very precious commodity. Perhaps even the most precious. Honestly, this first reason is really all about priorities. I have never met anyone who says they have too much time! So, it is all the more important that we determine those things that will get our time and those that won’t. I tell our teenagers in student ministry all the time that we must MAKE time to study the Bible. It will never happen by accident because we all have so many things competing for the limited time we do have.

The same holds true with family Bible study. We must make the time, or else it will all get used up and we will have none left to study the Bible together as a family. This can be tough, and there will always be other things fighting for your time. But, if family Bible study is important to us, we must fight for it.

By fighting for it, we are also teaching our children that time in God’s Word is more important than anything else! We will teach them how to make God, and His Word a priority in their own lives as well.

Maybe it’s time to cut out some “good” things to make room for the “best” things.

2. Don’t Know Where to Start

Sometimes, the hardest thing is actually just getting started. There are plenty of resources out there to help you get started with a family Bible study. You can find a great starting place on this podcast we did here at Glory Books. I share the method we teach our families at my own church on the recording.

Do some research on the internet. Talk to others you know who have a family devotion time and ask what they are doing. Talk to some trusted church members and growing believers. Depending on the ages of your children and where you feel comfortable starting, each family Bible study will have its own feel and flavor.

Maybe, you want to just start reading a book of the Bible together as a family.

You don’t have to hit a homerun on the first attempt. But at least you are trying. Be encouraged!! Remember, the goal is to point your children to the God of the Bible!

3. Don’t know How

This one is very closely connected to the previous reason, “Don’t know where to start.”

Much of the time, the reason we do not know how is because we have not really done it before. Maybe you have never seen it done. Maybe you have never been a part of a family Bible study before. That’s really ok.

Again, talk to others and see how they do it. Maybe you even know a family who would let you and your family “crash” their family Bible study.

I can tell you this from personal experience, the more you do it, the more comfortable you will become leading your family.

4. Feel Inadequate

“I am not a Bible scholar.” “What if they ask a question that I don’t have the answer to?”

If we are fixated on our inadequacy, then we are operating from a place of pride and selfishness. Remember, studying the Bible with your family is about your obedience and your children growing up in the Lord.

It is Christ who makes us adequate and opens our eyes to the truth of the Bible! Jesus says in John 14:26, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

So, spend time in God’s Word together as a family and trust God to show up and show you and your children Who He is. There are no academic requirements for you to begin a time of family Bible study. We have to trust in God’s adequacy, not our own.

5. We Don’t Do It (Read the Bible) On Our Own

If we are being honest, we are much less likely to talk to our children about the Bible if we are not spending time in God’s Word on our own. We will not likely lead them in studying the Bible either.

So, my encouragement to you is this, if you are not currently spending time in God’s Word personally, start today. It is necessary for our growth. It is necessary for us to know the God we serve!

Pick up the Bible and start reading it! You can’t honor God without making His Word a priority in your life.

Several years ago, a friend of mine often told me, “We can’t give what we do not possess.” We can’t lead our family in Bible study if we are not studying the Bible.

6. We Don’t Understand Scripture’s Relevance and Benefits to Our Own Life

This one could really be a continuation of #5. I really believe that one of the reasons we fail to have family Bible study is because we don’t really understand how useful scripture is in our own lives.

Psalm 119:128 says, “Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.” This verse has become one of my favorites in the last few years. What the Psalmist is saying is that ALL of God’s Word, concerning EVERYTHING—every life situation—is right! That means God’s Word is right and correct and good and relevant and helpful for EVERYTHING we could ever face. When we begin to understand this, it will revolutionize the way we read and study Scripture.

God did not give us a book that is helpful in some things or even most things… The Bible is helpful in ALL things!

7. We Don’t Love God Like We Say We Do

This one may be a little hard to swallow. I have struggled with this very truth myself. The bottom line is simply this… If God is most important in my life, then I will make His Word a priority in my life and in my family’s life.

Think about it, we make time for the things that are most important to us. Not the things that we say are most important to us, but the things that are the most important to us.

Loving God and loving His Word go hand in hand… again, read Psalm 119. We see that the Psalmist loves God, and by extension, loves all of His Word.


Our families can be powerful weapons in this world for the Lord. Let’s be diligent to read, study and teach the Word of God to our children.

Psalm 127:3-5 says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the  Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”



The Glory of God changes everything


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