"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

Kids and the Bible

Posted in Questions For You, Theological by matt on Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I take a 40 minute walk home from work almost every day. Frugality and a touch of hardheaded laziness kept me from purchasing a gym membership, so I justify it by traipsing all over the city. It’s easier on the joints than running, right?…shudup…

Anyway I spend these walks thinking; classes, new Thai phrases, people, and other things tend to keep me occupied as I dodge motorcycles and wipe sweat.

Then I get home and you’re forced to read it!

So today’s topic is about kids and the Bible. I remember a debate my small group had last semester as to how parents should teach their children Truth. Now, I realize the hilarity of a bunch of naive college kids (who don’t have kids or even much experience with kids) discussing the raising of children, but we had the conversation regardless.

The group’s question can be summed up in this way: “How should the Bible be presented to children?” The two basic perspectives were as follows:

1) The Bible should be communicated simply and carefully. Children are developmentally sensitive and certain parts of the Bible should either be carefully worded or avoided completely. Parents are obligated to protect and nurture their children from the harsh realities of Scripture until they’re ready to handle them on their own.

2) The Bible is straight-forward and should be communicated directly. It’s true that some parts may need to be avoided until the child is older, but the Bible should not be dumbed-down for the sake of easy acceptance. Taking away the sharp edge may provide a temporary sense of safety, but the Scriptures will inevitably become dull.

So my questions are, “Is there a balance between these two?” “How do we protect the child without developing a pansy?” and “What does the Bible itself teach about the instruction of children?”

There ya have it. You can probably guess which way I lean, but I’d love to hear thoughts. I posted this under the category of “Questions” hoping I’d get some answers.

So all you adults who usually just visit this site for the pictures, I want your wisdom!

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5 Responses

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  1. Emily E said, on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Hi friend!! I love reading your blog, and you are in my prayers–you are missed! I don’t have an answer to the first, but I have an idea about the protect/pansy question. I think (or at least one of my goals in teaching) that children should be taught all that they can learn about Christ. They learn that he loves them, he died for them, and that they are to follow him. If you instill from the very beginning to them that they are to follow and obey him, I don’t really think they’ll become pansies, because they’re learning from an early age the importance of Christ in their lives. Now, if they stay at that same basic understanding their entire life and refuse to learn the deeper things of the bible, then yes I think they’ll turn more pansy and not know anything or how to really seek out the will of God.
    and the third question–the verse that comes to mind is”Train up a child in the way he shoudl go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6…teaching the fundamentals, instilling Christ in their every day life…so that it will stay with them throughout their life.
    But yeah–I’m not a parent, so what do I know? But those are my thoughts.

  2. macriner said, on Wednesday, July 2, 2008 at 10:39 am

    I do not have kids. I have a dog. But I have some thoughts.

    I think the most important thing is that a PARENT is teaching their children the Bible. We don’t treat ministers or even Sunday School teaches like we treat a math teacher (I pay my taxes to the school so teach my child how to add/subtract || I pay my tithe so it’s the minister’s job to teach my kid about Jesus). I think a parent will know what their child needs to know in an appropriate time an in the right manner. The key is that the parent and child are conversing about the Bible and why it’s about Jesus.

    A verse that comes to mind is this:

    “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your should and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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.”
    -Deuteronomy 6:4-7

    Another thing from the Bible is A.) Jesus went to the temple as a child – and he schooled a bunch of Religious seminary grads who wore pretty suits with paisley ties. B.) Jesus as a grown man virtually wanted kids to be around him – not cause he was some freak show, rather because he wanted to teach them too… and Jesus said that was his preference for us; that we “learn like kidos”.


  3. matt said, on Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Re Emily:

    Thanks Emily! I actually had you in mind when I was thinking about this stuff. You were the one who made me rethink my stance on a lot of this stuff, so I appreciate your insights.

    There still some confusion about what it means to ‘train up a child’ and what ‘the way he should go’ is, but I guess it’s just something to prayerfully process. Trusting the Spirit of God in a day-to-day way is pretty key, I’d guess. But, like you, I’ve yet to be a parent…I pity the child…

    Re Criner:

    a) Ebenezer counts as a child – I love that little guy!

    b) Thanks for da 2cents; I really like the part about consistently conversing with children about Christ’s centrality in Scripture. I’ve always appreciated the way you emphasize that.

    c) You’re a seminary grad who wears pretty suits 8)

    d) How was your vacation? Did you actually take one? And when, exactly, are you guys gonna have a kid? I wait eagerly…

  4. macriner said, on Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    a.) no comment

    b.) thanks.

    c.) jerk.

    d.) vacation was aight. the wife and I went to ft. worth to the cheesiest b&b ever (how can I say this? there was a bathtub in the shape of a heart in every room.) But we got some relax time till we remodeled my rents guest bedroom and i’m still trying to recover… and no, we do not have kids (btw – can anyone really “plan” kids anyways???)

  5. jkwakefield said, on Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    You have a really small smiley face on your page, to the right and at the top. I thought that was interesting.

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