If you are the parent of a young child, the word most often uttered by your child is quite possibly “Why?” Children are naturally curious. They are hardwired to ask questions, because the answers help them learn more about the world around them than they can easily discover with their senses.
For some reason though, a lot of Christians don’t like “Why?” questions. They are scared they may not have the right answer or the answer may only be held by God. There is a fear allowing children to ask “Why?” may lead them to doubt the very existence of God. I challenge you though to let “Why?” be your friend as you teach your children about God’s Words.
The twist is you are asking “Why?” We often get so caught up in making sure kids and teens understand the action, we forget to help them examine why God put that information in the Bible. As a result, we produce young adults who can quote scripture and tell lots of great stories from history, but have no earthly idea what they believe or why they believe it.
Asking “why” is especially important for kids and teens who have been taught a lot of Bible. We often see these kids zone out or cause trouble because they have heard the same story umpteen times already. To them, Bible classes and devotionals are either boring or at best an opportunity to catch up on some daydreaming. Why not make the Bible challenging for them too?
The best way to use “Why?” as you teach the Bible to your kids is to ask the question before you begin reading the Bible. This is especially important if your kids have heard the story before. Tell them this time as they listen to the story, you want them to think about why God put that passage in the Bible. Was there some principle He wanted us to learn? Was it an example of something we should or should not do? Is it a warning about the consequences of disobeying God? Is it there to comfort us?
There are probably a million reasons why God put certain things in the Bible and possibly no one answer is exactly “correct”. What you are beginning to train you children to do is:
- See the Bible is not just a another book filled with stories, but every word in the Bible is something important God wanted them to know – for a variety of reasons – some of which may not be immediately clear
- Realize the Bible still speaks to them today in meaningful and important ways
- Learn God has important concepts and lessons He wants them to learn
- Understand God has given them a blueprint for living a godly life
- Trust God always has a plan and a reason, even if they can’t quite understand it at the time – they need to trust God knows what is best for them
- Acknowledge God expects our worship and our obedience
So the next time you read the Bible with your kids, ask them “Why?” before they have a chance to ask you. Let their responses reveal a piece of their heart to you. Use their answers to help guide them into godly ways of viewing the world around them. Then if you are feeling really brave, encourage them to ask you some questions too. You may be surprised to discover your faith growing as well.