Teaching Kids That the Bible Is True

I’m going to offer a brief disclaimer here at the beginning of the post. I believe that the Bible is true. I don’t believe that it just contains truth. I don’t believe that it is just symbolic (although I do believe there is some symbolism). I don’t believe that only parts of it are true. I believe that the Bible is the true and inspired Word of God. If you don’t believe that, you may not find much value from this post. That’s okay. But if you do believe that, if you agree with me, do your kids know it?

I’ve taught many kids in my church (a conservative, Bible believing church) and in Christian school (a conservative, Bible believing school), and I’m always surprised by the number of kids who don’t seem to understand what it means that the Bible is true. I used to wonder at that until I started realizing how teachers- me included!- talked to kids about the Bible and how we taught from the Bible. I began to realize that, inadvertently, we can communicate to kids that the Bible isn’t really true but is just a good story. As I realized that, I knew that I needed to be careful about the way I shared the Bible with the children I taught and now as I teach my own children.

Teaching kids the Bible is true
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Be careful about reading “Bible stories.”

When I taught and now with my own kids, I’ll often have them “come sit down, so we can read a story.” When I say the word “story” the kids associate that with fiction because that’s usually what I mean. I’m sharing a cute picture book or reading a chapter from our current read aloud. It’s a story. When I’m reading from our history book, I don’t call it a “story”. I say “Come and let’s read today’s history lesson.” It’s fact. It’s history.

The words God gives us in the Bible aren’t stories. Much of the Bible is history. It’s fact. When we call what we’re reading “stories” we can confuse that in the minds of kids- who are often very literal. Instead, why don’t we say, “Come let’s read today’s Bible lesson.” Or if “lesson” sounds a little tedious: “Come let’s read what God has to say to us from the Bible today.”

Directly point out that the Bible is nonfiction.

Besides being careful about our choice of words, we can directly spend time talking to the kids about the difference between fiction and nonfiction and the fact that the Bible is nonfiction. It’s true. I think it’s very good to point out that much of the Bible is actually a history book, in fact. It’s the history of the Israelite people and the life of Christ.

I was able to have this conversation with my middle child the year we studied the ancient history cycle. We used a Christian worldview based curriculum, so there were many times that part of our day’s reading was from the Bible. One day after a lengthy Bible reading she asked “Why did we read the Bible so much? I thought we were doing history!” It opened up a good way to talk about the fact that, yes, the Bible is history.

Use the Bible when you teach Bible.

This ones seems obvious, but it isn’t. There are many, many wonderful resources for teaching Bible in church and in our homeschools. I love to look through the great options we have for Bible curricula. And I’ve used some I really love. But I think it’s important that our children make the connection that what we are teaching comes from the Bible. Older kids can probably make the leap. They see you pull out the Bible curriculum book, and they know that inside is a lesson written, using Bible verses and thoughts from Scripture. But younger kids see you pull out the lesson book and wonder why you say you’re teaching Bible, but you don’t have a Bible.

With my own children, I try to choose Bible curricula that has me- and them as well as they are older- reading directly from the Bible, not just a lesson book. With children that I’m teaching in a group environment I always carry my Bible and open it- even if I’m using a teacher’s book to teach the lesson. I want the kids to make the connection that what I’m teaching really does come directly from the Bible.

Use resources kids understand, but make sure they are accurate.

Sometimes, in an author or publisher’s zeal to make something cute and relatable for kids to learn the Bible, they lose accuracy. We’ll find a cute Bible story book or an animated movie, and kids love it. But it may have inaccuracies. When we use these resources, eventually kids will get old enough to realize that the version they read or watched in a cartoon doesn’t match up with what they can read for themselves. And they may make the leap to think that accuracy doesn’t matter because the Bible isn’t really true.

I think that if we value the truth of the Bible, we will want to choose children’s Bible resources that present the accounts from the Bible in an accurate way. We can still use translations for children, Bible adaptations, and even animated movies- as long as they stay true to the Word of God. As my children have gotten older, I’ve been a little more lax with this because we’ve been able to have some very good discussions about what kind of adaptations are okay and what aren’t. It encourages critical thinking to have them compare the adaptation with the Bible account and talk about whether or not it meets the standard for truth. Younger children, though, don’t usually have that level of critical thinking and are much more literal. So, when my kids were young, I was especially aware of this.

Teaching kids the Bible is true

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