As we consider teaching the scriptures to our children, we may be asking ourselves, “What is really being accomplished by teaching our children God’s Word?” “Do they really need to know it now?” “Can’t they just learn it when they get older?”
Well, in answer to the last question, yes, they can learn it when they get older. Yes, we can put it off, but at what cost… to them, to us?
Do our children really need to know the Bible now? I believe the answer to that question is a resounding “YES!” There is great benefit to teaching our children the scriptures now! Conversely, I believe there is great harm if we do not.
I would like to lay out a few benefits of teaching the Bible to our children now. This is not an exhaustive list, by any measure, as there are many, many reasons to lay a solid Biblical foundation for our children. And while not exhaustive, I do believe that these are life changing reasons to do the hard work (and it is work) of pouring God’s Word into our children.
As we teach our children God’s Word, we are teaching them the importance of obedience to God.
Deuteronomy 6 says “you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Notice the word shall . This is not really a suggestion. The word shall is a command. As parents, we are commanded to teach our children the Word of God… at every opportunity. In fact, we are not just to teach them at every opportunity, we are to create opportunities. By being diligent to teach the Word of God to our children, we are not only teaching them the importance of obedience, but we are also modeling obedience.
So, this first reason is really two-fold. 1) In teaching the Bible to our children, we, as parents, are being obedient to our Father. 2) In teaching the Bible to our children, we are modeling, and thus, teaching our children to be obedient to the Father.
Teaching Our Children About God’s Character
One of the beautiful things about reading, studying and teaching scripture is seeing the God of the scriptures on display. As we learn about the Bible, we are learning about the very character of God. There are many passages of scripture (Psalms, John 1, Philippians 2, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1) that speak directly about the nature of God the Father and the character of Jesus and the function of the Holy Spirit. Also, as we are diligent to study the scriptures, we learn to look for the character of God in the narratives, poems, and historical passages… God is all over the place in Scripture when we learn to start looking for Him.
Learning about the truth of God’s character will serve our children well all throughout their lives! When they began to discover Who He Is and what He is like, they will learn to trust Him! As our children begin to pick up on the character of God, they will see that He is Love… BUT NOT JUST LOVE!!! He is also good and righteous (all the time). He can always be trusted. He is just, yet merciful. He hates sin. He gives grace where it is not deserved. He is constantly working for our good… but more importantly, for His glory. He is above and before everything!
Teaching Our Children to Become Familiar With God’s Voice
One of the questions that is asked most often in our student ministry is “How do I know when God is speaking to me?” In fact, that question is asked very often in the church by adults as well. As we teach our children the Bible, and are faithful to read and study it with them, we are teaching them to listen to God. They are learning how He speaks. They will learn that God will NEVER speak in any way that is inconsistent or contradictory to His Word and His character.
In the famous study by Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God , Blackaby says, “God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.”
As we teach our children the scriptures, we are helping them to learn how to discern God’s voice in the Bible, in prayer, in our circumstances and in the church. We are also helping them to filter out all the noise and voices that are competing for God’s voice.
Look at John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow Me.” The implication here is that God’s sheep (those who believe in and follow Him) listen to His voice because they know His voice.
Teaching Our Children To Have a Biblical World View (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
The definition of a world view is a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world. Essentially, a world view is the lens through which a particular person sees the world, and therefore translates/interprets his/her experiences. Developing a Biblical world view is so very important.
As we are teaching the Scriptures to our children… helping them look for God in the Bible, teaching them to listen to His voice and seeing how He works, His purposes and His ways our prayer is that they will begin to develop a Biblical worldview. God’s Word will help them interpret the world around them and give them the proper principles and direction to navigate through it.
God’s Word will give them the standard of Truth by which they should live and interpret the world and their own experiences. Whereas many people seem to allow the world or their own experiences to inform their truth (which results in an ever-changing truth)…with a Biblical worldview, God’s Word becomes The Truth by which everything else is informed.
Teaching Our Children The “All Sufficiency/Practicality” of the Bible
Finally, our children will begin to learn that God’s Word is sufficient for everything!! It is sufficient for every life situation, circumstance and decision. In God’s Word, we learn to be thankful. We learn how to love others. We learn how to respond when we are hurt by someone. We learn about money, family, serving, marriage, parenting, freedom from addiction, conflict resolution, honoring authority, friendships, etc (seriously, the list could go on and on). The Word of God is all sufficient and incredibly practical for everything we will or could ever face in this life.
Look at what David says,
“Therefore all Your precepts (statutes, rules, commandments) concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:128
ALL of Your [God] precepts… on ALL things are right…
The best thing we can do, as parents, is to equip our children with the truths of God’s Word. And in so doing, we are preparing them in the best way we can for a world that can be mean and unfair and that is often, very confusing. We are pointing them, on purpose, to the God of everything (Colossians 1), Who loves them with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), and has come to give them “life to the full” (John 10:10).