Plen is a Registered Nurse who teaches the Bible to kids and women. She's practiced her nursing profession in the hospitals and the academe.
Find the gospel in every story that you read in the Bible, because it is there.
All stories in the Bible are not intended to elevate the Bible characters and make them the heroes of the story, but they are primarily written to present Jesus and God's grace of salvation. It is crucial that in teaching the Bible, the very purpose for which the story was written should not be missed or taken lightly. There is nothing wrong with unfolding the worship and obedience of Abraham, the bravery of David, the leadership of Moses, or the prayer life of Daniel, but when teaching is merely settled in the examples which children can learn from different Bible characters, something is going awry. With such method or practice, children may grow emulating the good examples of these men in the Bible, but miss to catch the gospel and remain unsaved. This is because the gospel has not been clearly taught to them, to begin with.
Children may grow emulating the good examples of these men in the Bible, but miss to catch the gospel and remain unsaved.
How then is the gospel exactly shared to children who may not be interested in teachings that contain no stories?
Explaining the gospel to children doesn't mean eliminating the story. There are pretty good lessons that a child can glean from the story itself. However, it is important that in simple terms, the story is explained through the lens of the gospel. Yes, the story about Abraham teaches us about worship, obedience, sacrifice, and faith, but more than these, the story essentially brings us to the picture of salvation-- our Heavenly Father, like Abraham, sacrificed His one and only begotten Son. Jesus, like Isaac, submitted to the Father; but unlike Isaac, Jesus experienced death. For Isaac to be spared from death, a ram was provided by the Lord to be sacrificed instead. Similarly, for sinners to be spared from eternal death, Jesus became the provision and died in our behalf. This old testament story, therefore, points us to the gospel that is better articulated in the new testament, and making this clear to young learners can never be overemphasized. Teach the values surrounding the story, but never miss to highlight the gospel that is present in the story. This should be true to most, if not all, stories in the Bible, both in the old and new testaments. After all, God's Word has been preserved from generations to generations not to create morally upright people, but to bring salvation that there may be genuine transformation.
Teach the values surrounding the story, but never miss to highlight the gospel that is present in the story.
What role does the the Holy Spirit play?
Parents and Sunday school teachers are accountable before God for the children's spirituality. Teaching and modeling are equally important when raising children in the way they should go. The responsibility is huge, and no parent or Bible teacher can successfully execute the role apart from the help of the Holy Spirit. It is vital that parents and Bible teachers are consciously aware of their need to deliberately trust and depend on the work of the Holy Spirit from beginning to end.
- In order to teach the Bible without neglecting the emphasis of the gospel, it is necessary that you understand the gospel yourself by heart. You can never bring someone to the truth if you yourself have not arrived in the truth. Humbly allow the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and lead you to spiritual understanding of the Lord's saving grace.
- As a believer who commits to faithfully disciple others by teaching the whole counsel of God, you are to diligently study the Word and immerse yourself in the gospel. Once your are immersed in the gospel, you will see the gospel in every page of the Bible. This is not human wisdom or ability, but the work of the Holy Spirit who guides you into all truths.
- Teaching children entails creativity. This too, is of the Holy Spirit. To be creative to get the children's attention and interest is not for the mere sake of being strategic, but it is a demonstration of submission to God's enabling grace. One who is empowered by the Holy Spirit will exhaust all talents and skills in order to be an effective gospel witness. Also, it is well to remember that creativity should not supersede the clarity of the gospel. Teaching the gospel becomes a failure when children remember the props or strategies used by the teacher more than the message itself. Creativity aides in a better understanding of the message, not a blockage to it.
- Teaching does not end in explaining a Bible story, encouraging the children to follow the identified values in the story, and then inviting them to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. As the old adage says, "more is caught than taught". Hence, modeling or exemplifying a life that is saved by grace through faith in Christ alone is exponentially significant. Apparently, to live a Christ-like life is impossible without the act of the Holy Spirit.
Bringing the gospel to children is not as simple as many think. Many would opt to teach children than adults, because they think children are easier to teach. They hold this perspective that teaching children requires less effort and accountability. On the contrary, teaching the Bible to children is not a piece of cake. Just like teaching adults, it entails the same hard work for studying and preparing. Many times, it's even more tedious than teaching adults, because you need to come up with a teaching method or strategy that fits the children's level of understanding. Just like when unleashing the Scriptures to adults, the same amount of prayer, grace, and power of the Holy Spirit are needed when bringing the gospel to the children.
Once your are immersed in the gospel, you will see the gospel in every page of the Bible.
Isn't bringing the gospel to children before they become adults a waste of resources?
Never underestimate the work of God in children's hearts. They may be young and immature in their comprehension for spiritual things, but God is able to work in anyone's heart regardless of age, for His power is limitless. So, do your role in faithfully sharing the gospel while wholly entrusting the outcome to Him. Bringing the gospel to children will never be a waste. God saves and secures both the young and the old, as He pleases.