Parents today need all the help they can get to introduce children to Jesus in their most impressionable years, say mums and dads who enrolled in Bible Society Australia’s Bibles for Bubs (BFB) program.
Feedback from these parents shows how greatly encouraged they feel, in their daily struggles with time and tiredness, by being given help to engage their children in a daily Bible reading routine.
Each registered baby is gifted a toddler Bible at the start of the program, sent birthday cards each year for five years, and on their fifth birthday, receives a full children’s Bible. Parents also receive annual guides to help them share God’s word with their child as they grow. This program is completely free and registrations are now open for 2023.
One parent, Jane, says she was blown away by the Bibles for Bubs initiative.
“I am so grateful that my baby gets to soak in God’s word every night before bed,” she wrote.
“My older two kids got a Bible when they started to understand at age three, but I never had a Bible for newborns. I loved the idea and concept of introducing the Bible at this young age.”
Jane said they sometimes missed Bible reading before joining the program, but now her four-year-old asks to read it every night before bed.
“Even if he is tired and sleepy, he would not sleep without listening to me reading the Bible. Now my baby is 23 months old and also knows about the Bible and our routine, and looks forward to Bible reading every night. My second child is now five years old and has started reading the Bible on his own. My first son (nine years old) also sits with us when we read and then also reads his Action Bible that he loves.”
“Even if he is tired and sleepy, he would not sleep without listening to me reading the Bible.” – Jane
Other parents commented that they had struggled to find a suitable Bible to read to their toddlers, and found the one sent by BSA the most age appropriate.
Elizabeth wrote: “When I first started reading with my child a couple of second-hand storybooks I’d been given, I found they were too simplified. I find the Bible we have received from this program to be a good balance between keeping each section short and engaging for growing minds while being comprehensive enough to cover the overall story of the Bible.”
Jo said she wanted her child to view the Bible “as truth – the only truth and standard – always, that they would be able to memorise Scripture and know the truth of God’s word so deep in their hearts – hidden away. So when the world says one thing, they will always weigh it up with the truth of God’s word.
“We love how many stories from the Bible are in there – many more than some of our other child/baby Bibles. There is so much deep truth and revelation even in the simple stories but they have enough depth even for an adult to reflect and learn!”
Stella adds: “From the moment they are born, children are already constantly learning. What they learn now from their very first teachers (parents) they’ll carry on and remember for the rest of their lives. The best part is, we as adults can also grow with our children too.”
“When the world says one thing, they will always weigh it up with the truth of God’s word.” – Jo
Akram loved the idea of showing his son that he is part of a worldwide church “who sees God’s word as important enough to buy and share things with strangers.”
Jo agreed: “It was wonderful to receive a Bible upon the birth of our baby. It felt like we were being welcomed into the wider church, and the Bible was simple and age-appropriate. I also found the gift that arrived on my son’s second birthday very time appropriate and encouraging.
“We were feeling very worn down and the words lifted us up and included helpful, practical insights into that age group and the sleeplessness and parenting challenges we had been facing,” she wrote.
“The program is a reminder and an encouragement to keep picking up God’s word. It’s easy to fall out of routine, and having the program just feels like someone is walking alongside us, resourcing us and pointing us in the right direction.”
“It’s easy to fall out of routine, and having the program just feels like someone is walking alongside us.” – Jo
Many parents commented on how enthusiastic their toddlers became about daily Bible reading. Most read it to their children at bedtime, but Claire found mornings easier.
“I have found time is our biggest challenge in a busy day, so we have found the perfect gap in our day is straight up in the morning during breakfast,” wrote Claire.
“Teddy is also most engaged and happy to focus in the morning. So while we both eat, I’ll read a few stories from the Bible we were given. We have worked our way through the whole Bible quite a few times. We both really enjoy our special time and he asks for the Bible if I haven’t got it out quick enough while we are eating, ha-ha!”
Above all, parents expressed their firm belief in the value of introducing God’s word to children from infancy when they are learning about the world and their place in it.
“Deuteronomy commanded the Jews to teach God’s laws to their children day and night, and the same goes for us now as we are even more blessed with the full picture of God’s rescue plan in Jesus,” wrote Laura.
“It’s important to my husband and I that our children engage with the Bible from a young age so they would be familiar with it and learn to love and trust God’s word for themselves.
“One of the greatest challenges is trying to make sure we read the Bible every night even if it’s not our toddler’s favourite book. Sometimes it’s hard if it feels like she’s not engaged or interested compared to other books she loves, and in the same way, we make excuses for our own Bible reading.
“It’s tempting just to take the easy way out, but having the age-appropriate Bible and the online encouragement is so helpful for making sure we commit to reading God’s word to our children each night and demonstrating to them that it’s something we do regularly as a family.”
“It’s tempting just to take the easy way out, but having the age-appropriate Bible and the online encouragement is so helpful.” – Laura
Being a parent is an important ministry but can be really rough, as Diana, who struggles with a chronic illness, made clear.
“For me, it is important that my children are engaged with the Bible because in our present age, nothing is promised and everything is uncertain. I want them to be able to get to know God fully and have faith, and be deeply rooted in Christ. A lot of young kids nowadays don’t know who Jesus is and what he did on the cross for us. I want them to hold on to their faith and fear the Lord. I believe God made me a parent and I also answered the calling of motherhood for a reason.”
Diana continued: “I think the greatest challenges in reading the Bible with my children is my time. I’m a housewife / stay-at-home mother with my two children and sometimes I get tired from doing the household chores and not being able to read the Bible with them every night. There are nights that we are skipping our Bible bedtime stories, but they normally ask me to read with them.
“Second is the screen time. I am guilty of giving them television or iPads as sometimes I get busy at home juggling looking after my children and preparing meals. Third is my health. I get really tired quickly as I have alpha thalassemia, a condition with very low haemoglobin and iron. Sometimes I don’t have the energy at the end of the day.”
“I want them to be able to get to know God fully and have faith, and be deeply rooted in Christ.” – Diana
Ali recognised the crucial importance of early childhood for developing a love for God and his word.
“Reading the Bible/children’s Bibles is so helpful in teaching our children about God, his character, his plan for salvation in Jesus and his purposes in and for us. Reading the Bible regularly with children helps them to establish helpful patterns that can foster daily Bible reading habits as they grow older. Combined with prayer, it shows the importance of a relationship with Jesus in our family and gives our children the opportunity to develop their own relationship with him.
“Our eldest daughter developed a real love for the Bible out of this, carrying her Bible almost everywhere when she was younger.” – Ali
“The program has been immensely helpful for us. It’s provided us with a Bible for each of our girls that has been really appropriate for them, and is not one that we would have naturally chosen if we set out to buy one. Our eldest daughter developed a real love for the Bible out of this, carrying her Bible almost everywhere when she was younger. It’s battered and broken, taped together in as many places as not, and it’s such a joy to see our daughter continue to love reading God’s word as she engages with older children’s Bibles now.
“We are excited to see our youngest daughter now enjoying the accounts presented in this well-loved Bible. We really value the cards and Bible reading tips that arrive around the time of our girls’ birthdays, and these are an encouragement to us in continuing to read the Bible with them.”
If you (or someone you know) had a baby in 2022, you can register them for Bibles For Bubs at biblesociety.org.au/bubs.