At what age (generally) is it appropriate for children to begin studying/reading the Scriptures on their own? Are there any good materials you would recommend for a seven-year-old who is an excellent reader?
Thank you for your question. I may know a little more about this because I taught first grade for fifteen years. I would suggest that you use the Bible when you begin to teach your child to read, so they should be reading the Bible on their own as soon as they can read on their own, at the age of five or six. Biblically, we see this principle in 2 Timothy 3:15, “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” The word “childhood” here refers to a young child (certainly less than twelve). I think there is every reason to believe that young children were instructed in the faith from infancy. If you prefer an older style translation, I would suggest the New King James version, and a good newer translation that I would recommend is the English Standard Version. I would also suggest that you could use Bible portions and children’s story Bibles. They are not actually “Bibles,” in that they leave out or add words to make it easier to read, but they can be a good introduction for young children. The American Bible Society publishes Good News for New Readers, little pamphlets that are easy to read. A good children’s Bible is the Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos. There are also many materials published to teach doctrine, such as the First Catechism. You can obtain it and other good materials from gcp.org (don’t go to the Children’s section, which is Sunday School materials, but go instead to the Teacher and Parent section). But the important thing is to begin reading with your child, especially the Scriptures themselves.
May the Lord bless you in his loving care.
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