At what age is it appropriate for children to begin reading the Bible on their own?

Question
At what age is it appropriate for children to begin reading the Bible on their own?
Answer

Thank you for your most excellent question.

I would begin training a child in the Scripture while they are yet in the womb - even before (Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:41; cf. Gen. 18:10-15). Mother and father alike should read to them and even later when they are in their crib.

As they grow, I would continue to teach them the Scripture in family Bible studies (Deut. 6:4-9; Eph. 6:4), church (Heb. 10:25), etc. While continuing family devotions and church, depending upon the child's development, at approximately age five or six they should be able to read the Bible on their own. I observe this principle in 2 Timothy 3:15 which says, "... how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." I would add to this the family's memorizing of the Westminster Shorter Catechism together (see link below).

A good children's Bible is the Child's Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos. When they are mature enough, I would encourage them to read the NKJV or ESV.

Related Resources:

Westminster Shorter Catechism

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).