Train Up A Child Day Five
5. Train your child to a knowledge of the Bible.
You cannot make your children love the Bible, I allow. None but the Holy Ghost can give us a heart to delight in the Word. But you can make your children acquainted with the Bible; and be sure they cannot be acquainted with that blessed book too soon, or too well.
A thorough knowledge of the Bible is the foundation of all clear views of religion. He that is well-grounded in it will not generally be found a waverer, and carried about by every wind of new doctrine. Any system of training which does not make a knowledge of Scripture the first thing is unsafe and unsound.
You have need to be careful on this point just now, for the devil is abroad, and error abounds. Some are to be found amongst us who give the Church the honour due to Jesus Christ. Some are to be found who make the sacraments saviours and passports to eternal life. And some are to be found in like manner who honour a catechism more than the Bible, or fill the minds of their children with miserable little story-books, instead of the Scripture of truth.
But if you love your children, let the simple Bible be everything in the training of their souls; and let all other books go down and take the second place. Care not so much for their being mighty in the catechism, as for their being mighty in the Scriptures. This is the training, believe me, that God will honour. The Psalmist says of Him, " Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy name" (Ps. 138:2); and I think that He gives an especial blessing to all who try to magnify it among men.
See that your children read the Bible reverently. Train them to look on it, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, written by the Holy Ghost Himself, — all true, all profitable, and able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
See that they read it regularly. Train them to regard it as their soul’s daily food, — as a thing essential to their soul’s daily health. I know well you can not make this anything more than a form; but there is no telling the amount of sin which a mere form may indirectly restrain.
See that they read it all. You need not shrink from bringing any doctrine before them. You need not fancy that the leading doctrines of Christianity are things which children cannot understand. Children understand far more of the Bible than we are apt to suppose.
Tell them of sin, its guilt, its consequences, its power, its vileness: you will find they can comprehend something of this.
Tell them of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His work for our salvation, — the atonement, the cross, the blood, the sacrifice, the intercession: you will discover there is something not beyond them in all this.
Tell them of the work of the Holy Spirit in man’s heart, how He changes, and renews, and sanctifies, and purifies: you will soon see they can go along with you in some measure in this. In short, I suspect we have no idea how much a little child can take in of the length and breadth of the glorious gospel. They see far more of these things than we suppose.
Fill their minds with Scripture. Let the Word dwell in them richly. Give them the Bible, the whole Bible, even while they are young.
One of the most irritating things to me is reading the curriculum of modern day Bible Study classes for children. The lack of depth, the way they dance around the truth, the way they treat children as though they have no ability to understand the things of God... when Christ Himself told the grown men of Israel to come to Him as children... it honestly makes me sick.
Then to see the youth materials and even the college... oh my... it's like these writers sit in their smugness of knowledge and tell them they are just too ignorant to understand it all in it's true depth... perhaps our current day of mediocrity has also swept into the church... or more likely the mediocrity began in the church and made it's way as an ideal into our society.
I am a firm believer that as goes the church goes the nation.
And as goes the home goes the church.
Children understand much more of the Word than we want to give them credit for, and they are usually hungrier for it.
Give them the meat.
They can handle it.
We never wasted our time with storybook bibles... we read to our girls straight from the real deal. We explain the words as we go, if we didn't know it, the girls learned how we looked it up to discover the meaning. We also don't avoid certain chapters because they will have us discussing uncomfortable subject matter. I can think of no better way to discuss or approach uncomfortable stuff than to do it with God's Word.
So how much time in your home is devoted to you as a parent teaching your children the Scriptures?
How often do you read the Scriptures with them?
When a problem arises do your children see you seek answers and direction from the Word of God?
When your children have a question do you answer them from your own opinion or do you say, "well let's see what God has to say about this?"
It's really just that simple :-)
It's really just that simple :-)
Our Bekah began having nightmares. She began to fear that someone would come in during the night and hurt her while we all slept. This fear had crept into her mind and she could not get it out. How were we to help her?
We sat down with her and we opened the Bible. We shared Scriptures with her that showed her how God was with her. We looked at several different verses and had her read them to us. Then we prayed with her.
We taught her how to get help from the Word of God, from God Himself...
A few mornings later she came running into our bedroom and joyfully exclaimed, "Momma, God took all those bad dreams away!" She had experienced the mighty hand of deliverance of her God and she knew it was God who had done it and not us and not her own strength or mere mind power or chance. God had once again showed Himself to be God.
As a Bible study teacher I have finally come to realize the truth that Mr Ryle points out in the beginning of this post, I cannot force anyone to fall in love with the Word of God and love studying it the way I do... but that doesn't mean I stop teaching.
That doesn't mean I stop trying.
That doesn't mean that I don't keep asking... have you had your quiet time this morning?
I can't force love of the Bible, but I can lay a foundation of it's truth, and teach my children to respect it.