Ironic, isn’t it? We have access to more information than the generations that came before us, yet we distrust that information with increasing cynicism. There was a time when we believed what we read or heard until the information was proven false. Now, we assume most of the things we read on the Internet are suspect until authenticated.
This is the world in which our kids are living. However, there is one source of information that is absolutely true all the time—God’s Word. Our challenge is to teach kids the Bible is authoritative. It’s the one book we can trust and not question. Congruous to that challenge, is the need to guide children to accept as truth only that which they can verify for themselves in Scripture. Such was the case for people from Josiah to Timothy.
- Kids need their own copy of the Bible. During a dark period of church history, common people were denied access to the Scriptures. What they knew of God’s Word was limited to whatever the professional clergy chose to tell them. People were not allowed to question what they heard, and they had no personal access to the Bible. This, however, was never God’s plan, as illustrated by both Josiah and Ezra’s public reading of the Scriptures. (See 2 Kings 23 and Nehemiah 8.) God intends for kids to hear and read the actual words of the Bible for themselves.
- Kids can trust the historicity of the Bible. If you are like I am, you often may skip over the introductory matter of some Bible books. Doing so when reading the gospel of Luke can cause you to miss an important insight. God inspired Luke to write his gospel based on “carefully investigated” truth, in order for Theophilus to “know the certainty of the things about which” he had “been instructed.” (Luke 1:3-4) Every historical fact in the Bible is true, and many are based on eyewitness accounts.
- Kids should learn Bible skills. One of my favorite, obscure Bible stories is the one of the Bereans in Acts 17. These synagogue-goers did not accept at face value what Paul and his companions taught. They refused to be gullible. Instead, the Bereans “examined the Scriptures daily” to make sure Paul’s teachings were true. (Acts 17:11) When we provide kids with practical Bible skills, they will be equipped for the rest of their lives to test what they hear against the truth of God’s Word.
- We must teach kids the Bible. Paul gives a clear, yet indirect, mandate to teach kids the Bible while they are still young. What a gracious reminder Paul provides Timothy when he says, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim 3:14-15) Don’t miss that last part. God’s Word points us to Jesus. The same Jesus who wants to rescue the kids you teach.
Ultimately, the reason you and I are called to guide kids to explore the Bible and understand the truths of God’s Word for themselves is so that they can meet and know the God of the Bible through His Son Jesus. We can and must accept this challenge. But, as in the closing words of that children’s television program, Reading Rainbow, “You don’t have to take my word for it.”
Landry Holmes is the Manager of Lifeway Kids Ministry Publishing, Nashville, TN. A graduate of Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Landry served on church staffs before coming to Lifeway. He is a church leader, writer, workshop facilitator, and publisher. Landry also teaches children at his church in Middle Tennessee. He and his wife Janetta are the grandparents of two adorable grandbabies.