Many times when Christian parents think about teaching the Bible to their children, their thoughts automatically turn to family worship. While family devotions are a great tool, we have to remember that most of the teaching that we do with our children does not happen in that type of environment. Most of it happens in little everyday situations. What we will discover though, is that if we teach the Bible to our children in these “little” moments, a lifetime of learning and character formation will happen.
The Bible itself addresses this. Moses addresses the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 as they get ready to take cross into the promised land. He reminds them that the Lord alone is their God and that they should love him with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then he tells them that the Lord’s commandments should be on their hearts and that they should teach them to their children. He uses several couplets to show that this is to be done in all of life. They should be teaching when they are in their home or walking by the way and when they are lying down or rising up. The point is clear. No matter what they are doing they are teaching their children, and God’s word should be on their hearts so that it comes out of their mouths when the opportunity for instruction presents itself.
There are several distinct types of opportunities that present themselves and we should be quick to use Scripture to instruct our children in each of these situations.
Use the Bible to Instruct Your Children
This is a catch all category and simply covers the fact that we should constantly look for teachable moments to share the words of God with our children. This can happen by looking at a sunset and explaining creation or while performing an act of kindness for a neighbor and talking about why we do this. Answer their questions (I know there are a lot of them) and look for opportunities to talk to them about spiritual things through their ordinary questions.
Use the Bible to Correct Your Children
Parents should also use the Bible as they discipline their children. There are two ways that this happens and the first is using the Bible to point out their foolish and sinful behavior. We’ve been teaching our kids Proverbs in family devotion and that has given us many chances to speak to them about wisdom and folly throughout the day. This is not done to shame them, but to teach them and train their consciences. Parents also use the Bible to positively teach children in discipline. A great example of this is Ephesians 6:1-4. Paul instructs children to obey their parents because this is right. Then he reminds them that “honor your father and mother” is the first commandment with a promise. What a great passage to remind our children of repeatedly! Things will go better for them if they obey.
Use the Bible to Encourage Your Children
As adult followers of Jesus, we often look to the Bible for encouragement and strength. We should teach our children to do the same. When our kids feel guilty because of how often they disobey, remind them of the grace of Jesus and that Jesus loves them. When they are struggling with forgiving someone, show them the reasons from the Bible for why they should give and the blessings that they enjoy from forgiving.
In doing these things, we are giving our children the wisdom and the power of God. Also, they are being set up for a lifetime of seeing God’s word as the endless treasure that it is.
For Further Reading:
Shepherding a Child’s Heart