Yesterday I read a great article from Desiring God about fathers marking up their Bibles as way to encourage their children and pass along the faith. It was a helpful article and made me think about how I could implement it myself for my children. For the last few years I have been starting the New Year with an ESV Journaling Bible and marking it up occasionally throughout the year. The 2013 edition has become a special one that I am going to continue to mark up because of the places and notes that it contains in it from the last year. I want to continue adding to it.
But the Desiring God article suggested working through one copy of the Bible over ten years and then in some way copying it for as many children as you have. I like the concept, but I want to modify it for my own family. And I really want my kids to have their own personalized Bible from me. I thought about the age of my children, six and three, and what I would want to give them when they reach a significant milestone in adulthood.
Then it hit me.
What if starting the year they turned six I prayerfully walked through and annotated approximately four books of the Bible each year for fifteen years? When they reached twenty-one I would have worked through the entire Bible and they would have a fully annotated Bible filled with prayers and encouragement from their dad.
So I've developed a plan (of course) that will have me working through four books of the Bible in a year plus ten of the Psalms each year. Now this isn't my personal devotional reading plan. I still want to get through the Bible on my own this year in a reading format. This is my Bible plan for my children. I am planning on picking up a nice wide-margin Bible that I can begin annotating for Allison this year and start through the plan. In about three years when Ethan turns six I'll begin working on the same project for him too. By the time they are twenty-one both kids will have their dad's prayers, notes and reflections for them through the Bible.
Additionally, I am going to spend time in each year reading these books with my kids out loud. As we work book-by-book through the Bible I imagine certain questions or reflections will be brought up that I can mark as a memento of our reading time together. Certainly the prayers of the Psalms will be how we pray together as well. Additionally I hope that the change and transformation of the gospel will be evident in our lives. I am praying that through this Jesus would show me grace in studying and praying through his Word and that my children would be blessed and taught by their dad through the Scriptures.
I am already eager to see a fifteen-year project realized for Allison and Ethan in the Word.