Monday, May 3, 2010

Bible Teaching—What's the Point?

Why teach children Bible stories? Can young children really understand stories about God and His Son, Jesus?

Bible Stories help children learn to develop a personal relationship with Jesus.
The first five years of a child’s life are the most important developmentally. We can help children develop into worshipful people who love God and Jesus. During the preschool years, a child can easily be taught foundational attitudes about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the church that will stay with him for the rest of his life. Psalm 139:1-16 reminds us that God knew us before we were even born and “all the days ordained for [us] were written in [God’s] book before one of them came to be.” Even the smallest child can begin to understand that God is love by interacting with a Christian teacher or friend who communicates a love for God and His Word through words, actions, and attitude.

Bible Learning Activities teach children God’s Word, the Bible. 
A child’s learning abilities are greatest during her first five years of life.  In fact, a child’s learning and remembering abilities are far greater during her first five years of life than they will ever be again. This is an ideal time to begin saying memory verses with children. Even very young twos who aren’t talking much can begin to absorb God’s Word as you and the other children say simple Bible Words together.

Creative Bible Activities help children grow in their faith. 
We can easily communicate important spiritual concepts to children—even toddlers and preschoolers. They are open and ready to worship God. Little children have an inborn desire to worship. We can give them lots of opportunities to sing, pray, and praise God during our time with them. So in our children’s Bible programs, we want every activity we do to focus the child’s attention on God, Jesus, or the Bible.

Our Bible programs can help meet children’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. 
Children need Christian role models in addition to their parents. We are those role models. As the children watch us pray, worship, read the Bible, use kind words, and show love to them, they learn important Christian concepts.

Our programs should lay a foundation for faith in Jesus Christ. This does not mean that every child will make a personal decision to follow Jesus before the age of five or six. Some will. But even preschoolers and toddlers can understand that Jesus is God’s Son; Jesus was born, grew up, and told people of God’s love; and Jesus loves us. We need to begin planting God’s Word in the hearts of children, so that they are able to make a personal decision for Christ in the future. We can teach the Bible as God’s Word, including saying and understanding Bible verses; teaching children to respect, obey, and love God’s Word; and helping them understand what is appropriate behavior. Preschoolers can understand that the Bible is God’s special book, the Bible contains stories about God and Jesus, and the Bible tells us that God loves us.

The continual aim of our programs should be to help children develop a relationship with Jesus.
We also need to help them learn responsibility to God, parents, and others. Many older children and even some adults today do not accept responsibility for their actions. We can teach our students that God planned for families, and children should love and obey their parents. We can also help them understand that wrong behavior is sin, and good behavior pleases Jesus. This is an important concept for even the youngest child to understand. If a child understands this, he can understand that God sent Jesus to forgive him. This provides the foundation for the child to accept Jesus as Savior.

Even young children can learn to worship and serve our awesome God!

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