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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to Teach Your Children the Bible

Should You Believe the Trinity?

The booklet is sprinkled with Scripture passages. The names of early church fathers follow many of the quotes. Historical documents, ancient artifacts and modern research fill the pages. This thing has way more information than most of the Sunday School curriculum I am handed at church. The booklet tells me I should reject a man-made idea and go with the wisdom of God found in Scripture.

I don't.

After studying the booklet for several weeks with some Jehovah's Witness friends of mine, I still believe in the Trinity.

Despite strong Scriptural support for beating your children, some families reject this practice.

Going against the "plain teaching" of geocentricism in the Bible, not too many people still accept this idea either.


Put another way: How did we come to these conclusions?

And what drives our decisions about a great number of other contested ideas, such as speaking in tongues, tithing or the efficacy of Christ's death and resurrection? And, given that, how do we teach our children the truths found in Scripture?

I certainly don't have it all figured out. But here are suggestions based on my experience from life thus far:

Read the Bible with your children. Summaries, lessons and devotions are great and can be incredibly helpful. But don't forget to go to the source itself. I grew up memorizing NKJV verses for Awana. If I could handle that, your children can learn to follow along with your translation(s) of choice. ...especially as you talk them through the passages and answer their questions.

Pray for wisdom. Enough said.

Consider the lives of others. One of the benefits of reading biographies of great Christians is you can see how they lived out their faith. As we examine the lives of great men and women of God, we can see what produced good fruit and what did not.

Study the Scriptures. When you encounter a difficult passage or teaching that doesn't feel quite right, make use of the Body of Christ. Read commentaries, talk to friends and teachers, consider the context and the rest of Scripture, look up articles and, again, read the passages themselves.

What about you? How do you teach your children the Bible? What difficult questions have you had to answer/are still trying to figure out? What tips have you found helpful as you study Scripture?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester


se7en said...

We read the Bible to our kids over and over again... they have a story bible at bedtime, my little ones have another story bible with school and we have read Ergemeiers 5 times now. Then we read through a real Bible at breakfast everyday ... just a couple of chapters a day... and when we get to the end we start over... It seems to work for all of us in terms of figuring out how it all fits together and the plan of the Bible. It takes about half a year to read it through once... so twice a year we get the Bible from cover to cover... I am understanding it a whole lot better now that we read it like this than when we jumped around reading a book at a time... So the best way to learn the Bible... read the Bible!!!

Anonymous said...

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Luke Holzmann said...

Thanks, Se7en and Growup! <smile>


Karen Joy said...

Not that this is exactly your point, Luke... but my mother read two chapters from the Bible every night (except church nights -- Sun & Weds) for my entire life, living at home. She'd finish Genesis, then on to Matthew. Then Exodus, then Mark. And so on. I knew the Bible better than just about any kid I knew because of it. She never offered any commentary, but she would answer questions when they came up, and, in retrospect, I think she did a bit of editing on the fly for some of the stickier bits.

I will never forget the day when I was 16 and a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses came to the door. No one else was home at the time. There was a man who did all the talking, and a lady who hung in the background, who looked increasingly ill at ease as I countered the man's statements, suggesting to him that he was wildly (but craftily) misquoting virtually every verse. He finally said, "Fine. You know so much? You find it in your Bible and show me." I asked him to hold on, fetched my Bible (which had a concordance), and did just that.

Although I really enjoy conversations with my children -- scriptural topics included, I think that, most of the time, if we just keep exposing our children to Scripture, that, eventually, it will sink in, as maturity unfolds, and as God's Spirit speaks to our children's spirits. They will get to know His nature and His ways, if they just READ, and/or if we read to them.

I don't read a lot of commentaries. I do appreciate good Scriptural exposition, and can get some good, meaty info out of Greek/Hebrew word studies. I also enjoy historical studies, which lend a deeper insight into one passage or another... But, still, I predominantly let the Scripture stand for itself, asking Him, as I start to read, "What is it You want to tell me in this? Please don't let me miss anything." I see the Bible as, in essence, a love story, with God revealing Himself to us, Jesus' bride and the Father's children.

I TOTALLY think that God and Scripture can stand up to scrutiny, and sometimes, it can be really helpful to unpack a particularly troublesome verse. However, it is my observation that too many people -- Christians included -- get caught up in dissection, instead of simple contemplation, led by His Spirit. Then, reading the Bible becomes simple knowing ABOUT God, instead of KNOWING GOD, Himself.

It's a fine line.

Luke Holzmann said...

Karen, I saw this on your blog too. Thanks so much for sharing!



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