Do your children and students understand the meaning and significance of this text? Do they grasp how it daily applies to the Christian life?
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)
The people who have the most access, the best opportunity, and the greatest potential influence—not to mention the biblical responsibility for helping children walk in the truth—are their parents. My plea to parents and grandparents is that they make the most of the fleeting opportunity they have.
The life of a parent today can quickly become consumed by so many good things that there is little time left for what is most important. Parents must not trade the greater things for lesser things.
At Truth78, we talk a lot about the need for “biblical literacy” for the next generation. But biblical literacy is more than just acquainting children with as much of the biblical text as possible. Yes, reading through the entire Bible by the time they reach adulthood is a worthy goal for our children. But we must also train them in how to study the Bible. What’s the difference, and why is it important?
Joe Carter has provided a really helpful article on this topic.
…while encouraging our children to read the Bible and teaching them how to do it well are necessary tasks, they are not sufficient for spiritual development. We also need to teach them how to study Scripture so that they “may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17).
…Two key differences between reading and study are pacing and focus. When we read the Bible,
Some of the most unusual church experiences I’ve ever encountered took place within the context of youth ministry—wacky games and activities, students playing foosball during the Sunday school hour, edgy (but shallow) teaching, sleep-deprived retreats (with no parents allowed), and more. All done in the hope of being “relevant and fun” so youth would want to keep coming back. Yes, some students kept coming back, but many grew up and left the church—untouched by true saving faith and maturity—when the fun stopped.
That is why I found a recent article by 19-year-old Sara Barratt so refreshing. Here is her observation:
Instead of undiluted biblical truths and concrete theology, many [teens] are fed a watered-down message. They’re entertained at youth group and isolated from older, wiser Christ-followers. They’re drawn in with pizza parties, games, and programs, but leave with the burning issues of their hearts still unanswered.
She points to four core topics teens need to hear:
Years ago I watched a movie that, in a sense, took my breath away. It had beautiful imagery and a storyline that gripped your heart and swept you into the characters’ thoughts, feelings, joys, and sorrows. However, this particular movie told a story that, when examined with a discerning eye, made sin appear beautiful and satisfying. Hence, great storytelling can be a powerful gift, but we must be aware of its potential dangers.
We must especially keep this in mind when evaluating Bible story resources for children.
When I was younger, I yearned to go to the Grand Canyon. I read books about it, watched programs, and listened to others tell of their experiences visiting the Grand Canyon. But I wanted to see it firsthand for myself—and once I did I was utterly amazed by its beauty and grandeur. Before, I was only able to share secondhand accounts. Now, I can share from personal experience. It makes a huge difference!
What does all this have to do with teaching preschool? Good question. I share this illustration because there is a common question or concern noted about Truth78’s preschool curricula—He Established a Testimony and He Has Spoken by His Son—which together present 116 chronological Bible stories.
Why aren’t the Bible stories written out for the teachers? It would be so much easier to teach!
Yes, in a way, it might be easier to simply read a pre-written story to a group of preschoolers—very
How can we help children know and love God?
In a seminar at the 2013 national conference, ”Teaching Children to Know and Love God by Knowing and Loving Theology,” Dr. Bruce Ware explained the importance of understanding the “progression of truth” as we teach our children. He lays out the progression as follows:
Head → Heart → Hands → Habitat
or another way of stating it…
Knowing → Loving → Living → Transforming
Why start with the “head”? Why not jump right to their heart? Dr. Ware explains,
The mind’s understanding (knowing the truth) is necessary for the heart’s engagement with that truth (loving the truth). Knowing the truth provides the possibility and basis for loving the truth.
With children, the first priority in what we can assist
Today Americans celebrate the 4th of July, and all across the country millions of people will enjoy a traditional fireworks display. As you are gathered together, it’s fun to hear young and old alike express their fascination and excitement with clapping, cheering, and “ooh”s and “ahh”s. You can’t help but be wowed and amazed. But imagine for a moment bringing a child to a fireworks display and purposely putting a blindfold over his eyes, so that the spectacular display is hidden…absurd!
We have something infinitely greater than mere fireworks to display for our children. Something worthy of our highest “ahh”s and praise. Something that must not be hidden.
Parents, have you ever considered your parenting from this perspective?
Christians parent with one eye on eternity. Their children will live forever. This is a staggering thought…Therefore, the Christian does not parent for this life only. The believing parent labors to prepare each child for the day of judgment. The stakes are inexpressibly high…
Christian parents have one goal during this short window of opportunity. It is to transfer the baton of faith in Christ to the next generation. Victory does not always go to the fastest four-hundred-meter relay team. It goes to the team that most efficiently transfers the baton. No matter how fast the runners, if the transfer is slow and clumsy, the team will probably lose. In the same way, parents prepare their children for the day of judgment by transferring their faith, values, purposes, self-discipline, and motivations to their children.
(William P. Farley, God-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting, ©2009, page 41)