Are you ready to Live PURPOSEFULLY
How I Teach Kids About Jesus and the Bible
A few years in a blog post I answered a few questions about why I pray for my children. The short answer was why not? Why not invite God to be active in their lives and begin nurturing the truth in their hearts? Why wait? That answer opened the door to other questions like, how do we teach kids about Jesus and the Bible and how do we make the Bible make sense to little kids?
At the time I didn’t really have an answer outside of church and Sunday School. That was an area I was still trying to figure out as a mom of little myself. About two years have gone by between now and the time those questions were asked which has given me TONS of opportunity to work this out for my family.
Today I’m going to share some of the tools and methods that I use at home to teach kids about Jesus in the Bible.
First, let’s answer the question:
Why bother to teach little kids about Jesus?
We live in a society that believes very deeply that religion is a choice that shouldn’t be pushed on people. And although the decision to live for Jesus is one that my children have to choose on their own, it’s still my responsibility to raise them up in truth. I as their mother, and my husband as their father, as still accountable to God for the way we raise our children, the influences we allow them to be in front of, and the truth we sow into them.
Accepting the gift of salvation is their choice. But it’s my responsibility to make sure they are equipped with the truth so that they can make a sound choice. That’s where discipleship and introducing them to the Jesus of the Bible come into play.
The Discipleship Factor
One tool that has been instrumental in my understanding of this concept is the book Educating the WholeHearted Child by Sally Clarkson. Although it is marketed to homeschooling moms, there is so much in here that applies to everyday Christian Living, I think most families (parents and children alike) could benefit from reading it. It’s about creating an environment within your family that fosters discipleship (teaching, training, encouraging, equipping, correcting, with the truth and love of Christ). I love this because discipleship focuses our attention on teaching children to love like Jesus. It addresses the heart and character which shapes their action instead of simply trying to regulate behavior.
Focusing on discipleship has also allowed us to establish the Bible and Christ as our standard and example of how we live our lives. Our kids understand (in simple terms) that everything we do we do for God and if He wouldn’t approve of it, we shouldn’t be doing it. It has allowed the Word of God to become our children’s moral compass.
Building On The Truth
2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV) reads, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
God intended for the Bible to be the tool we equip ourselves with here on Earth, the standard that guides our heart, thoughts, words, and actions. It’s the foundation we build our lives on. As a mature Christian, your relationship with God fuels your curiosity, interest, and commitment to reading the Word. For younger children, I’ve found the best way to peak their curiosity and interest in Jesus and the Bible is simply to bring the Bible to life in front of them. These are some of the tools that help me do that.
5 Tools to Help Teach Kids About Jesus and the Bible
I often get asked how to help kids understand the Bible. The Jesus Storybook Bible is a good way to do that. It breaks down the different stories of the Bible and communicates the heart of them in a way that children can understand. Another option is the God’s Love For You Bible Story Book. We started reading it around Christmas time and it became our favorite part of the day. If we hadn’t read at least one Bible story by the time they went to bed my 4 year would make sure I knew the day was not over yet. Not without reading the Bible.
With kids, it’s great to be able to present the Bible to them on their level. But I think it’s also important to foster an appreciation for the Bible unadapted. We received the Fire Bible for Kids as parting gifts when our family moved from Alaska in 2018. We have loved using them and the corresponding (and Free!) app that comes with them! Ours are NIV Bibles which makes it easier for young minds to grasp and understand. I also really appreciate the commentary in these Bibles. They do an excellent job of fostering learning and curiosity and open the door to some fun conversations.
Paws and Tales with Chuck Swindoll is an animated kids show that is centered around building godly character in children. It’s full of fun, loving, practical life lessons that help kids learn what it looks like to live and love like Christ, even at their young age.
Full Disclosure: I grew up on Adventures In Odyssey. Every car ride for as long as I can remember we listened to Adventures. From the time I was a toddler to (slightly embarrassing confession) even now. Yup, I still listen to it. The stories are timeless, the creativity is matchless, and I love how God and God’s love for us are always front and center. You’ll see that for yourself in the very first episode.
I like that when I pop in Adventures and Odyssey or Paws and Tales I don’t have to keep guard up or worry about what they might hear that they shouldn’t hear. I have no problem sitting my 3-year-old down to listen to it. And he (along with my older ones) love to follow every story.
Kids Worship Music
This is a little on the new side for us but it’s been so much fun to “experiment” with. My kids already have such a love for music, it’s been so fun to nurture that seed.
I will never forget the first time I tried having a dedicated worship time in our home. It was amazing. I turned on our Superkid Academy Praise and Worship CD and said, “You know, God is just so good to us! And sometimes when we understand how good God is, it makes us want to dance and sing to Him! Do you want to dance and sing?!” It was as simple as that! Next thing I know, my three boys and I are dancing and singing, worshiping Jesus in our living room.
The One Tool We Underestimate
We have a lot of fun using these tools on a daily basis. I can see the positive impact they have on my kids and I am so thankful for that. But there is one tool that we tend to forget about when it comes to teaching our children about Jesus and the Bible and that is our witness.
The way we speak, act, and engage with our children (and other people in their presence) has a lot to do with how our children will perceive the God that we talk about. It also has a grand impact on our ability to disciple them effectively. Let your kids witness you living what you teach. Let them see Christ alive and working in you!
I’m not suggesting that we are to be perfect peoples. God knows I’m not. It’s ok to be a work in progress! I think one of the most powerful things you can do for your kids is let them witness the Spirit-lead transformation taking place in you. That; in partnership with sowing the Word of God into their lives, creates a powerful influence.
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