I’ve written before about the importance of sharing solid truths with children. It’s important because we need to fill their minds with truths that will carry them through life. We need to lift their eyes to see the gospel and the amazing Saviour that we have in Jesus!
So why do we start so late?
In my experience most children’s books or material only really get ‘meaty’ once the children are a bit older. Until then we’re happy to give them children’s books that depict Noah and all the animals smiling in the ark. We give children books that have happy pictures and happy endings, but often they don’t do the most important thing: they don’t get to Jesus!
If we heard a preacher who was speaking from the Old Testament and he failed to take the congregation to Jesus, we wouldn’t be happy. Yet, that is what we so easily do with our children. We need to train our children in the understanding that the whole Old Testament points to Christ!
Why is this so important?
1. It helps children see that the Bible is one story.
We need to start teaching children that the whole Bible is one story. The gospel is more than Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, it certainly is no less than that but it is much more. Explaining the gospel to children means that we should want to take them from Genesis to Revelation. This sort of training at an early age will help them understand more about the Bible and help them stand against the questions that they’ll face later on in life. I know so many people who when you walk them through a Bible overview they are amazed that the Bible is one big story. Let’s teach them that from the start!
2. It helps them ‘keep an eye out for Jesus’ in every passage.
Reading the Scriptures and Bible story books with kids is hugely important, but every single time we do that we must legitimately take them to Christ from the passage. It would be unfaithful to the text to just tack Jesus on the end of the story without helping children how we made the jump from Old Testament to Jesus, for example. I’m a firm believer that we can always get to Jesus from every text and we can always apply the teaching of Scripture. We must teach children that Scripture was not written for them individually, yes there are application and lessons we can learn for ourselves but the Bible isn’t written for the individual. The Bible is written so that the world can understand who God is, it is God’s revelation of Himself to humanity. So teach it that way, teach children that from Genesis right the way through to Revelation we can see Jesus!
3. It helps them start to think about how to apply the Old Testament.
We do not want to become New Testament only Christians! The Old Testament is much larger than the New, it explains the laws and context in which Jesus lived and it points forward to Christ. If we want to understand the cross properly where do we go? We’d go to Matthew 27 (and other accounts of the cross in the Gospels), but we should also go to places like Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, Numbers 21 and much more. The Old Testament is key to understanding the New! This week someone explained it this way…
“The Old Testament is the clarification of the New, so we cannot simply not read the Old Testament because without it we won’t fully understand the New Testament”
Having a good and healthy understanding of the Old Testament will also mean that we don’t just do character studies when we read it but we actually wrestle with the text and figure our how it applies today. Getting children to think that way from an early age will help them so much when they grow up.
We need to set good examples to children, we need to be feeding ourselves ‘meat’ truths of substance that challenge us and stretch our minds. It’s so helpful to dig deeper and not just stay on the surface level of Scripture. Why wouldn’t we want the same for our children? There are plenty of resources out there that teach, I mentioned a few at the end of this post. Teach your children in such a way that they will thank you for setting them off well in life and do it for God’s Glory.