I have felt that way at times, but what I have found helpful is to remember the big picture of what I am teaching—the gospel. Our goal is not to teach stories or doctrines in isolation. Our goal is to teach our kids the gospel—the unified story of Jesus that runs throughout the Bible. So let’s look at five keys to teaching kids the gospel based on Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
4 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. 7 Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (HCSB)
- Know the Gospel (v. 4)
God begins with an important theological statement about Himself—God is One. God is unique, there is none like Him. As we begin thinking about how to teach kids, God invites us first to ponder who He is. Why? Because we cannot pass along that which we don’t have ourselves.
We need to make sure that we are spending time with God, considering who He is and His ways. A big part of this is camping out on the gospel and diving more deeply into its riches to understand the beauty and splendor of Christ. Remember that our best teaching always comes from the overflow!
- Love the Gospel (v. 5-6)
There is a natural progression from verse 4 to verses 5 and 6. Spending meaningful time with God will stir our affections and increase our love for God and the gospel.
Don’t miss what we are to love in verse 6—God’s words. We don’t usually think about loving God’s commands, but it makes sense. When we know God and love Him, we understand that all He does is for His glory and our good. We love God’s commands because we know and trust His heart behind them.
Notice, the first three verses all center on us, not our kids. That’s critical. The best way to prepare ourselves to teach our kids is to give God space to work in our own hearts and lives.
- Share the Gospel (v. 7)
We are to teach the gospel repeatedly—looking for new ways to help our kids understand its beauty and power on a deeper and more profound level. The original Hebrew in that verse carries the meaning of “piercing the heart,” which is a great visual for us. We want what we teach to get deep down into our kids’ hearts. That is why we have to be sure to teach the gospel—only the gospel satisfies the heart.
This also reminds us of our need to teach the “why” of the gospel, not just the “what.” Teaching is not just transferring facts. Facts tend to get into the mind and not go much farther. The gospel needs to get into the heart as well. And that is why we need to teach God’s heart—the “why” of the gospel.
- Live out the Gospel (v. 7-8)
We usually think of teaching in a more formal sense, but that just scratches the surface. Notice when we are to talk about the gospel with our kids. When we sit, walk, lie down, and stand—in other words, all the time. The idea is not that we always teach formally, but that we weave the gospel into our daily rhythm of life. This is powerful! We want our kids to see that the gospel makes a difference in how we think, feel, and live.
- Be Marked by the Gospel (v. 9)
When you think of writing God’s words on your doorposts and gates, picture a house address. An address defines your house—it is how a delivery person or guest can differentiate your house from other houses. That is what the gospel should do for us. It should define us and set us apart from others around us. And if we are living out this passage to this point, being marked by the gospel will naturally occur as we live out the gospel and show our kids and the world, the sweet fragrance of Christ.