We can teach our children and students a lot of biblical information–and so we should. We should acquaint them with as much Scripture as possible; it is the only means of making them wise for salvation in Christ and living in a way that is pleasing to Him (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We want their minds to know, understand, and be able to rightly interpret the Bible. However, as Jesus’ words remind us, it is not enough to simply receive knowledge about God.
This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me… (Matthew 15:8-9) And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:26-27)
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.
For children to personally know, embrace, and apply biblical truth, we need to disciple the mind, heart, and will. Toward that end, we must diligently instruct the mind, providing them with the proper tools and skills needed to rightly read, study, interpret, and apply Scripture.
While fully acknowledging that only God can bring Spirit-wrought, grace-dependent faith in Jesus, and lead us to walk as His faithful disciples, it is our responsibility to engage the heart—to guide, inspire, and implore children toward a personal and sincere response to God’s truth.
Finally, true saving faith will be evidenced by a growing desire to walk in obedience to God. While this is dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit, God does expect His children to exert effort, choosing daily to trust Christ, submit to Him, and follow in obedience. Therefore, we guide, challenge, and encourage students to specific Christ-like thoughts, words, and actions.
Though we do not always see the result of our teaching—the informing of the mind with truth—we must help children understand how to apply the truth to their own lives. If they own that truth, embracing it in their hearts, the Holy Spirit will bring opportunities to act on the truth, engaging the will.
Sometimes parents and teachers emphasize one dimension at the expense of the others, to the detriment of the child. For example:
Mind, heart, and will—all three are essential.
Recommended resources for Christian education directors
Recommended resources for parents