Back-to-School Devotion Based on Jesus Learning to Read by Henry O. Tanner

Are you excited to start school? Did you know Jesus went to school? He probably learned in a synagogue school.

Look at Henry Tanner’s painting, Christ Learning to Read, and notice that neither Jesus nor his mother, Mary, have halos. In earlier times Christian artists often added halos to show a person was holy. We must never forget that Jesus is fully and completely God.

But Henry Tanner knew the Bible teaches that Jesus is also fully and completely man. This means He was born and grew just like you, but without sin. So Tanner shows Jesus as a regular boy.

And as Jesus grew, He had to learn things just like any other boy or girl, including how to read. Wow! The One who created us with the ability to talk, the very author of the Bible itself, humbled Himself to learn how to read just like you!

Why We Need to Learn to Read

The titles of Tanner’s 2 paintings tell us why Jesus and all of us should try to learn to read. Jesus learned to read so He could read the Scriptures. He delighted in reading and meditating on God’s Word. He knew,

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” (Proverbs 1:7a).

Christ and His Mother Reading the Scriptures by Henry O. Tanner, 1909, Dallas Museum of Art, public domain

3 Things We Learn from Reading God’s Word

  1. When we read God’s Story in His Word, we learn that God made this beautiful world and everything in it. He made the oceans and singing whales that swim there. He made the mountains and the little pikas that build burrows on the highest slopes. He made fierce tigers that blend in to jungle grasses. And He made you in His own image to be creative and curious, and able to sing and write, paint and play games, study the stars and knit, and do all these things for His glory.
  2. The Bible teaches us also that our sin is the reason for the trouble and sadness in the world.
  3. But most important of all, the Bible tells us God loves us and has sent Jesus to be our Savior so we can be part of God’s family. And someday He will return to restore our world to its first beauty and we will live with Him forever.

And God’s Story is the most wonderful story of all and the very best reason to learn to read.

Hide a few of these verses in Your Heart for Light for Your School Year

  • Psalm 1:1-3
  • Psalm 19:7-14
  • Psalm 119:11,18, 105
  • Proverbs 1:1-7
  • Proverbs 4:23

Prayer: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for giving us your Word and the ability to learn to read so we can know how much You love us. We pray we will treasure Your Word in our hearts, so we can glorify You this school year in our work and our friendships.

Molly and I hope you enjoyed this devotion based on Christ Learning to Read by Henry O. Tanner. And we pray you will have a wonderful school year! Next week we’ll have an art activity based on the painting

Don’t miss what’s coming to Kathy the Picture Lady blog in late August through September!

Many wonderful new children’s books are releasing, so starting with the last post of August, I’ll be interviewing 6 children’s authors, and Molly will talk to some of the main characters in each of their new releases of picture books and board books!

Molly hopes you’ll join us to learn more about such fun characters as a mole, a rocking chair, frogs, animal daddys, pugs, and all the people and creatures that came to the manger when Jesus was born!

Molly has enjoyed reading these books and is eager to learn to read all the special new books we’ll be reviewing in late August and September!

Also Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages. Add link

 

 

 

 

16 thoughts on “Back-to-School Devotion Based on Jesus Learning to Read by Henry O. Tanner

  1. barbaralatta

    Kathy, I love how you tied Jesus as a boy in with this painting. It does help kids see Jesus as a young child like they are.

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    1. Kathy O'Neill Post author

      Thank you, Barbara. I agree, and Tanner’s Bibical paintings do such a great job of showing Jesus as a real person, that I thought this was a good back to school painting! May God bless you this week, my friend!

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  2. JD Wininger

    Love how you first explain the artwork, then provide a biblical lesson from it, and follow with fun projects to reinforce our learning. This one is like a “Sunday School Lesson in a Box” for back to school weekend. Thank you Ms. Kathy!

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    1. Kathy O'Neill Post author

      Oh thank you, so much J.D. You’re very welcome, and you must be on my same wavelength–you’ll see why I say that when you see the art activity coming this week!! As I was writing this post I found myself imagining how it must have been for Jesus to read as a boy those scriptures He authored as God and to see the plan for His life and ministry throughout the Old Testament. Such an amazing mystery!

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    1. Kathy O'Neill Post author

      Oh thank you, Sue! Yes Molly is still a cutie and loves to pose for pictures, er . . . treats! Would you believe she’s about 9 now! You gave us a special gift when you told us about her needing a home! I know all the authors whose books I’ll be reviewing, and I know you have some grandchildren who will love them! Love to you and Chuck!

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  3. Katherine Pasour

    A wonderful devotional for “children” of any age. We older folks are the role models for our children. Thank you for this encouraging message.

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    1. Kathy O'Neill Post author

      You’re welcome, Katherine! You’re so right–we are role models and making sure we’re reading the Scriptures is so important for our children to see. Blessings to you, my friend! I hope your horses are doing well!

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    1. Kathy O'Neill Post author

      Thank you, Jeannie!I’m so encouraged to hear you say that. Thank you for your beautiful lessons that come from endearing stories from your family, your teaching, and nature, too. I always come away with fun and practical ways for my family and I to live more for Christ

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    1. Kathy O'Neill Post author

      Thank you, Candyce. Tanner’s paintings are so beautiful and lead to many lessons, and this one about reading the Scriptures is so very important! Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I really appreciate it!

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    1. Kathy O'Neill Post author

      It sure is beautiful, Becky, and you’re so right about the importance of reading! I love Tanner’s paintings especially because they show such things so well in a down-to-earth way! Blessings to you, my friend.

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