We’re in a blog series filled with ideas to get conversations started with our kids about God…
What Scripture Says
“When [the king] takes the throne of his kingdom [Israel], he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere YHWH his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).
I’ve always wondered if any king of Israel actually followed this command of God, to write in his own hand, on a scroll, a copy of the law of God. He was to carry it with him, even into battle or into his bedroom — and he was to read it every day of his life.
It was a privilege to be a king, wasn’t it? Not every Israelite was so privileged, to have his own scroll containing the Word of God.
But that’s exactly the privilege we have in 2015! I won’t even tell you how many copies of the Bible I have in my home.
“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation… But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:2, 9).
God says we’re part of the royal priesthood of his chosen people — and that makes our sons little princes and our daughters little princesses. So both we and our children are to write for ourselves a copy of the law of God. It will help us grow up!
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14-16).
To me, these verses make the best case in the entire Bible for copying the Bible in our own handwriting, and then for reading it all the days of our lives! Not just adults, but children as well, since they are kings and queens in training. Like Timothy, they are to know the Scriptures from infancy.
Making It Practical
Well, let’s just see what the Bible says to do:
“When [the king] takes the throne of his kingdom [Israel], he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life…”
Think about this! You can teach your young princes and princesses to read by simply having them copy the words of God’s law. What is “the law”? It begins with the first five books of the Bible, and all Scripture means all 66 books of the Word of God.
So start with Genesis 1:1.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Your child can start by copying one letter at a time, one word at a time. We’ve seen in our home, with the daughter who last learned to read, that she really learned to read quite well with this method! It’s so simple. Each day, she copied a little, and while she copied, she learned to form letters, to sound out sounds, to break words into syllables, and to read quite complex words! It’s amazing — it works!
Your older children can copy a little more, starting with several verses until they can copy entire paragraphs and chapters. Teach them the importance of accurate copying, so that not a “jot or a tittle” will pass away from their copy. This teaches them many good character qualities and emphasizes the supremacy of God’s Word. (Siblings can “check” each other’s work.)
We sometimes choose a verse or two to analyze each day, looking at the grammar (and diagramming it together), the spelling, and the punctuation. We learn to use various reference manuals to look up word definitions, to find other verses with the same words, and to relate the words to historical or scientific contexts. We discuss the style of the verses (are they stories, commands, poetry, prophecy?). Then our children choose their favorite verse from that day’s copywork, and they write a paragraph about why it’s their favorite. We read these together later on… and what a blessing it is! (We are hoping to add a teacher’s guide for this in the future, so you can easily do it in your home, too.)
I’ve even begun to think that we could use copywork to learn foreign languages. For instance, we could copy the Bible in the language we’re wanting to learn, and it would surely be as effective as learning English is for our young children! (Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, Chinese… The possibilities are limitless!)
Isn’t God amazing? He’s so practical. You can’t get much simpler of a homeschooling method — but the Word promises “that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Isn’t that why we’re homeschooling in the first place?