I have three great callings in life.
- Love my wife well
- Raise my children to live godly lives
- Help people grow in their faith and find their purpose in Christ
I am humbled and honored to dedicate my life to each of these areas. Nothing brings me greater joy than my wife, my children, and helping others know God. Whether you’re a regular reader or a first time guest to Phosphorus Project, there is a good chance you share the first two callings with me. Family is the most important thing to me in this world. I hold to a strong Family First philosophy and believe that it does not compete with my Christian Faith. But let’s be honest, that #2 calling can be pretty tough!
How do we raise our children with biblical principles? What is the best way to lead them in the ways and teachings of Jesus without forcing them to adopt our views? We have to guide them and teach them while at the same time, giving them room to explore and even fail. My children will need to develop their own views on faith and spirituality. I cannot force them. So, how do I find that balance? How do I navigate the waters of Family and Faith?
What is the best way to teach my children the Bible?
I am sure there are a lot of good methods. You could have family Bible study during dinner. Night time prayers. Morning prayer. Take them to church. Have them do their own kid’s devotional. Like I said, there are a lot of different methods. But the Bible actually gives us a great strategy for teaching our children.
A Biblical Strategy for Teaching our Children
One thing we see over and over again in the Bible is God’s love of children. The easiest place to see this is in the life of Jesus. Time after time, He calls children to sit with them and spend time with Him. God is greatly interested in the lives of children. This was evident way back in the Old Testament. The strategy we are going to look at actually comes from the Law of Moses! I love connecting to ancient traditions and teachings (which is kind of funny since I am such a “forward thinker.” I love to see the future by looking at the past!) There is an ancient Jewish prayer called the Shema. You don’t need to know that. That’s for free. But it comes out of a passage in Deuteronomy that gives us our strategy.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. -Deuteronomy 6:4-9
You may recognize the first part of this passage: “Love the Lord…with all your heart…soul, and…strength.” Jesus was quoting from this passage! As we move on through the next few verses, you can see how important it is for us to teach God’s Word to our children. Put God’s Word in your heart and “impress them on your children.” Training our children is a high calling!
And then it gets really good! God lays out the perfect strategy for teaching our children in a way they will understand and remember. “Talk about them with you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” So, how does this give us a strategy for teaching our children the Bible? When I read these verses, one statement comes to mind: As you live your daily life.
That’s the strategy! It may seem simple, but it is HIGHLY effective! What is the best way to teach our children the Bible? By making it a part of our everyday life! This can include nighttime prayer and family devotions. But it also includes thousands of teaching moments we experience every single day!
Natural Environment Training
I work with children with autism. To help teach them life skills, we use ABA therapy, or Applied Behavior. It is a way of teaching skills. It is a very cool thing to teach a child what the color “blue” is for the first time. Usually, we use cards to help with this. However, that causes a problem. These children can think in a very literal way. So, we have to make sure we are actually teaching the color blue and not teaching them that the card I have in my hand is the only “blue” in the word! We do this through Natural Environment Training, or NET, and “incidental training.” Natural Environment Training and incidental teaching are used to teach skills in the real world outside of a classroom.
These types of training are very effective because it connects teaching with life. Children don’t prefer to learn in a classroom. They want to know how it applies to life. The same is true when it comes to the Bible. Sunday school is great and children’s and youth ministry are very helpful. But I believe the responsibility of our children falls to us, the parents!
I encourage you to make the Bible a part of your daily life. Don’t make it another academic exercise. The Bible is so much more than that! It is the Life-giving Word of God! Let’s teach our children to look at it that way. When something happens in your daily life, how can you connect it to God’s Word? Do you explain to your kids why you go to church? Why you put money in the offering plate? The next time you go to small group or Bible study, teach your children the importance of learning the Bible with a supportive community.
When you serve others, teach your children about how Jesus called us to take care of the less fortunate. When your children fight, teach them what God says about others. This isn’t just their sibling, but a fellow child of God. The ideas can go on and on and on.
I live my life with one driving principle: Jesus came to bring life! (John 10:10) This is the message of the Gospel. This is the reason we have the Bible. God’s Word penetrates our lives with the Love of Christ. Parents, let us do the same for our children! Let’s turn the Bible from a text book to the Book of Life that it truly is!
How do we teach our children the Bible? We make it a regular part of our daily life!
“Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”