The Power of the Word
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Recently we had a morning that got off to a really rough start. If I recall correctly it was a battle over me wanting to start school and Ian wanting a second bowl of cereal after he’d already left the table and gone to play on his computer. At least that was how it started. It ended up with dramatic wailing, angry screams and lots of tears (all on his part–somehow I managed to keep my cool). Even once he had “stopped” and sat down to work, the sniffles and subtle moaning with each breath continued. Suffice to say I was not moved by this pathetic display. (Of course, since he gets his dramatic flair from me, I understood where he was coming from and exactly what he was trying to accomplish. However, my understanding did little to curb my irritation.)
I had some errands to run before lunchtime, so I really wanted to get through our schoolwork, and this drama had already taken up precious minutes. I try to always start our day with prayer and Bible, but part of me really just wanted to jump into our math, the one subject that we can actually get “behind” in if we skip a day. (With most of our subjects I just move along to whatever’s next each time and don’t worry about how fast or slow we’re progressing.) However, I decided to hold fast to my convictions, and I had Ian pull out his Bible and turn to Psalm 100, which we’re reading every day and working on memorizing this month.
He began reading, but he kept skipping words (out of laziness? seeing if I was paying attention? I’m really not sure), lapsing into “baby talk” (a habit we’re trying to break), dissolving into tears again, etc. I just kept taking deep breaths and trying to speak in a patient, pleasant tone (purely by the grace of God, to be sure) as I told him to “try again, in a normal voice, reading carefully.” Eventually he did just that (I think we had to start it six or seven times), and I was amazed. The power of the Word of God was so evident as he read. His voice calmed down, the sadness left, and a peace fell in the room.
When he finished Psalm 100, he obviously felt better. I told him that reading the Bible often helps me when I am feeling upset and had him turn to Psalm 23, which he memorized a while back. I wanted him to make the connection between the passages we’ve memorized and the written word, since some of them have been in his heart since before he was able to read. He’s not quite a strong enough reader to just sit down and read through these psalms in the ESV, but because they were familiar, he was able to work through them. (I’ve made a point of having him memorize the ESV version so he’d find the passages just as he’s learned them once he started reading.)
His demeanor continued to be transformed as he read the words out loud, so after he completed Psalm 23 I had him turn to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, the only other long(ish) passage he knows. By the time he had finished, we were both ready to move on to his memory verse cards. (Each week I print out his verse in as large a font as can fit the whole verse on one page. On Monday he cuts it into word “cards,” and then every morning he puts the verse in order. As he manipulates the words each day, he not only gets reading practice but also firmly plants the verse his heart.) He often dawdles through this work, but that day he got his verse in order faster than ever before. The peace I saw on him was a remarkable change.
The experiences we had that morning made me think a lot about our Bible time each day. It usually consists of something related to whatever story we’re going through in our evening family devotions (using Long Story Short by Marty Machowski), as well as reviewing our memory verses (using the Scripture Memory System from Simply Charlotte Mason). Now that Ian is getting better at reading, however, and after seeing the transformation that took place when he got into the Word, I want to make sure he is spending time reading out of his Bible each day. I still feel like there’s a place for Bible story books, but I want to make sure I am helping my children develop an appreciate for the “real thing.” For now, we’ll continue reading Psalm 100 each day until it is memorized, and then perhaps we’ll work on another psalm or start going through Proverbs.
I am so thankful that God has given us the Bible. There really is power in the Scriptures, not just to learn about God and his interactions with man from the beginning of time, but to come face-to-face with him. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).