“Mommy, what does God look like?” You have probably heard this question. How do you describe God to a child? How do you capture the span of his reach, the extent of His sight, and the tenderness of His love, in words a child can understand? Yet our children need to know what God is like, even though they cannot know how He looks.
Consider the ways God has thoughtfully and purposefully revealed Himself to us. He first revealed Himself through His creation, but God has also disclosed Himself to us through His Word. Scripture makes known His attributes, His power, His nature, His works, and His relationship with man. Finally, He reveals Himself to us through Jesus, His Son.
We can use these same methods of revelation to point our children to God. Spiritual Habits—Part 1 describes ways to lead your children to God through the marvel of creation. God has also revealed Himself to us through His Word.
What is the big picture?
In the narratives of the Bible, God reveals rich insight into His nature and character. He also manifests His love and plan for mankind. Children need to see the big picture of the Bible. What is the message of the whole of scripture?
Mine for deeper treasure
The Bible, though made up of many individual books, is one story—the salvation of man through the grace of God. In the Old Testament we read of the promise of salvation. The New Testament contains the revelation of Christ and His work of salvation, the fulfillment of the promise. As your children gain familiarity with the Biblical narratives, encourage them to mine for deeper treasure about the message of salvation. Teach them to look for references to Christ throughout the Bible. Guide them to study passages such as the following:
- Exodus 3:13-15 and John 8:58—where God reveals His name and Jesus claims the same name.
- Ephesians 3:14-21—about knowing the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.
- Galatians 3:24—which explains that the Law (scripture) has become our tutor to lead us to Christ.
- Hebrews 1:1-4—describing how God has spoken to us through His Son. Christ is the exact representation of God’s nature.
- Observe—Read slowly. Look for key words and repeated words. Ask questions—who, what, when, where, why, and how.
- Understand—search for the context by reading the passages surrounding the verse or verses. Find additional references in scripture and other resources for better understanding the meaning and intent of the author and the historical and cultural factors involved in the text.
- Apply—Answer this question: What will I do about it?
Be willing to learn with your children, and let them glean what they can. Don’t expect them to grasp everything you understand from a passage. They need time to walk with God, to see His faithfulness in their lives, and to experience His love and forgiveness. (I am working on a new resource that will guide you in teaching your children to study the Bible. Watch for it in 2020.)
Approach the scriptures with reverence and awe. This is God’s message to us. Guard against allowing “Bible” to become just another subject in your homeschool. Plan for it, though, to ensure a habit of reading and studying scripture is established.
Make it yours
Memorizing Bible verses is an effective form of meditation. Encourage your children to make a verse or passage their own by committing it to memory. Join them in daily practice of new verses to learn or a review of verses already memorized. We kept memory charts of the verses our children had “learned by heart.” After they had all left home, it dawned on me that I should have memory charts, too. I made a notebook for myself, just as my children had. You can also find memory helps online at sites such as www.biblememory.com.
Choose your verses wisely. The Bible teaches us how to live, and memorizing passages that help us learn to get along with others is never wasted time. But the Bible is much more than a tool for teaching social skills to our kids. Select verses that teach who God is, that explain His love and nature. Additional resources for grasping the big picture of the work of God in scripture are:
- The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
- Jesus A-Z by Yvonne Riley
- Know What You Believe by Paul Little
- Know Why You Believe by Paul Little
Always guide your children to the fact that God loves them.
Mature in Christ
Maturing in God means bearing the mark of Christ. The ability to know God is a process. Notice as your children grow in maturity and exemplify Christ-likeness. Encourage your children, and if appropriate, tell them when their growth is evident (Ephesians 4:14-15).
Point your children to God through a reverent attitude toward His Word. Guide them to understand the big picture of the scriptures and how that message relates to their lives.
One more way to point your children to God will be included in Part 3 of Spiritual Habits. Coming soon.