Training our Children to Know and Love the Word of God
The children that we have been given are no mistake; God has intentionally given them to us. Since this is true, then we have to be intentional about how we raise our children. They have been entrusted to our care to be raised in the child-training and admonition of the Lord (Eph.6:4). This is a duty given to us as individual parents, as well as corporately given to us as a church. So how do we go about doing this in an effective manner?
Well we cannot go about training our children if we neglect the training manual, which is the Bible. But why is it so essential that we instruct our children in the Word of God? Deuteronomy 6:5-7 gives us the answer.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
This Scripture makes a fascinating connection between the love of God and Scripture. It teach us that it is through knowing the Scripture ourselves, AND teaching it to our children, the entire family grows to love the Lord. So if we desire for our children to love the Lord, then the practical steps to that end is instructing them to know and understand the Scriptures. Here are some ways we are to do this:
- Read the Scriptures – This is the basic foundation for biblical knowledge and truth. Our children must hear often the Scriptures read and explained to them. Be reminded of what the Apostle Paul tells us, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom.10:17).
- Asking Questions – The Socratic Method of teaching is to ask questions to draw out answers from the student rather than merely giving right knowledge. This is the method that should be employed when reading the Scriptures – ask your children many questions of what the bible is saying and meaning. This is a way for you to hear if they are understanding the bible content correctly and rightly applying it in their life. Every week the Family Discipleship Guide in the bulletin gives you questions to the passage of Scripture that was preached on the previous Sunday morning. Use these questions to engage discussion with your children.
- Interacting with the Truth – Years ago when I taught a class for 3-5 year olds the highlight of every night was when we would do some type of interactive activity to help learn the lesson we had just learned. Sometimes we would play a game that assisted their learning; other times we would use crafts; or, when appropriate, we would act out Bible stories. The kids loved it and it helped me as the teacher to know if they were understanding the truths that were being taught. As a parent, this is your opportunity to be creative and have some fun with your younger kids especially.
- Memorize – I am always fascinated by how much children are able to remember. Their little minds seem to be sponges. Filling it with Scriptures is therefore appropriate at an early age. They may not be able to understand all that they memorize, but this is the time to do it. I can still remember verses that I memorized at a very young age.
- Catechize – The Children’s Catechism acts as a framework by which all biblical knowledge is organized. Children who have memorized the catechism will be able to understand big concepts when they encounter them in the Bible, such as, who is God; what is justification; how do I fulfill the 5th Catechismal training is essential to our children’s understanding of the Bible.
- Teach them from daily experiences – Notice above in Deut. 6 that Moses emphasizes the need for applying biblical principles to every area of life (as you sit, rise, walk along the road, etc.). This is where we show our children that the Bible is more than something we read every time we do family worship; it is a way of life applicable to every area of life. Our duty is to train them with a biblical world and life view; the ends and outs of everyday life is where this happens.
- Have them learn from example – The old adage that “things are not taught, as much as they are caught” is true here. We can give good lip service to the Scriptures but it will not mean much unless children see it is important to Mom and Dad. Setting aside time for your own personal Scripture time will speak volumes to your child.
We are not guaranteed that if our children are instructed in the Word of God they will automatically love the Lord. Just as eating healthy does guarantee we will live a long life. However eating healthy is more beneficial towards that end than eating a diet of junk food. So too creating an environment where children are instructed and trained by the Scriptures will be far more advantageous than one where they are not trained at all. This, along with the promises of Scripture (Isa.40:8; 55:11; 2 Tim.3:16), give us a sure hope that by the blessing of Christ and the grace of the Holy Spirit our children will grow to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
May the Lord be pleased to bring our children to true saving faith by using our efforts both individually and corporately.
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