Imagine your children twenty years from now. Will you be able to answer a hearty “yes” to these questions?
The third of the seven commitments featured in the book Zealous: 7 Commitments for the Discipleship of the Next Generation focuses on teaching the whole counsel of God.
In this 7-part series, we're spotlighting each commitment with a summary, an excerpt from the book, examples of applications of the commitment, and recommended resources.
This generation is to teach the next generation the whole counsel of God—a core knowledge of the breadth and depth of Scripture that is essential for coming to salvation in Christ and living a life of faith. Teaching the whole counsel includes five elements that each address specific and essential questions: Bible Survey and Book Studies (What's in the Bible? Who is the Bible about?), Biblical Theology (What's the main message of the Bible?), Systematic Theology (What are the essential doctrines of the Christian faith?), Gospel Proclamation (What do we need to be saved? How are we saved?), and Moral and Ethical Instruction (How are we to live?)
In discerning what is an intentional and faithful effort to teach the whole counsel of God to our children, it can be helpful to think in terms of the following five categories:
1. Bible Survey and Book Studies—Begin in the preschool years by giving children a chronological, story-based presentation of the truth. This will introduce them to the key people, places, events, and themes of the Bible. Along the way, it is important to emphasize God as the author and main character in each of those stories and certainly of the Bible as a whole. This will provide children a fundamental Bible foundation upon which the other truth will stand. Once children can see the breadth of God’s Word as it has been revealed, then it is helpful to look more deeply into the individual books of the Bible as the children grow.
2. Biblical Theology deals with the overarching storyline of Scripture, whereby God progressively reveals His redemptive purposes, which come to their complete fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The aim is for the student to discover how the Bible’s many diverse stories, written over time, all serve to communicate one, main unified message. Children need to see how the various themes in Scripture all connect to Christ and His work of salvation.
3. Systematic Theology is a topical approach to teaching the founda- tional doctrines of the Christian faith. Systematic theology presents the Bible’s teaching on various subjects, one at a time, and summarizes each topic based on the entirety of Scripture.
4. Gospel Proclamation is an explicit and comprehensive presentation of the essential truths of the gospel, leading to a clear understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ and what it means to respond in true repentance and faith.
5. Moral and Ethical Instruction acquaints students with the nature, role, and importance of God’s laws and commands, the wisdom lit- erature, and the moral and ethical teachings of Jesus and the apostles. This instruction is necessary for understanding God’s character and standards and our need for the gospel, along with guiding believers in righteous and godly conduct.