How to teach the word of God to young children
I am all for educating children. As a matter of fact, I went to school to be a teacher. But I recognize that beyond ABC’s and 123’s the most important thing I need to live and teach my children is the word of God. This is the ultimate key to a successful life. PERIOD. If nothing else, this economy has taught us that you can have enough degrees to bake a cake but it does not guarantee success. I could not resist. I had to use the degrees to bake a cake joke. Funny?…no…ok. Before I make another attempt at a joke, I will try share the tips.
Take time to read stories of young children in scripture.
- This helps them to see that living for God is not just for grown ups.
- Josiah, Moses, Jesus, Samuel, David are a few. Jeremiah & John the Baptist were called from the womb.
- Some children bibles are extremely simplistic in their explanation, sometimes altering the truth of the word. Do not be afraid to “beef” it up for your children. Believe me, they can handle a lot more than we think. Trust me on this one.
- Be animated as you read. Make it exciting for your child.
- Read the story to your children and find creative ways to assess their understanding of the story.
- After reading provide them with materials to make puppets for characters from the story and have them act it out, join in on the fun.
- For the older ones, have them come up with a song or poem to convey the main points of the story.
- Have them draw a picture or paint (depending on how patient you are feeling that day)of their favorite part of the story. Ask them questions like, why was this your favorite part, how did this story make you feel?
- I also LOVE Popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners.
- I am not a big fan of sticking children in front of the television but some days are just like that. I figure if they are going to watch it, it might as well be edifying. Get on Youtube to find videos of bible stories that you have read in the past. This helps to reinforce what they have already learned. You can also click on my “Books” tab to find some of my recommendations from amazon.
Suggestions for helping children memorize scripture (works for young and old, repetition is key).
- It is helpful to have visual charts when working with children.
- Put a scripture for the month on a poster board or note card and post them in prominent areas of the home such as the bathroom mirror, child’s bedroom door, above bed, and refrigerator.
- Use illustrations to go with the pictures for those children that cannot read. The picture cues will help them to remember the scriptures.
- As a family come up with different gestures for words of the scripture.
- Example: If you are learning a scripture that has the word pray in it, you can have the children fold their hands as if they are praying whenever they get to the word pray in the scripture.
- Young children tend to learn really quickly when the material is put to song. It does not matter if you cannot sing, the children don’t care.
- Look for ways in everyday life to teach children how to live out the scripture. This encourages them to be doers of the word & not hearers only.
- Teach children key scriptures.
- Examples include: John 3:16, The Lord’s Prayer Mathew 6:9-13, Psalm 23, Ephesians 6:1.
- To help the children and yourself learn these scriptures, you can make up your own family tune to the scripture and learn a new verse each month. Again do not assume that they are too young to learn it, kids learn well through repetition. Make time each day to review the selected verse. It does not always have to be sitting down. Perhaps its in the car running errands or as you are washing dishes and they are playing nearby, make the time.
Have daily confessions with your children including scriptures.
- This is a good time to incorporate any prophetic words that have been spoken concerning your children; this helps them to be mindful of their destiny even at a young age.
- Example. If you know God has called your child to preach you can have the child say something like, “I thank you God that I am a preacher.” He may not have a clue as to what all of this means but the seeds are planted at a young age.
- Also use this time to help your child understand what God is requiring of her.
- Example: If you have a child that is having difficulty obeying, you can have the child learn Ephesians 6:1 in a personal way. Have the child say something like this: “God I thank you that I will honor mommy and daddy in the Lord for this is right!” You may not see immediate results, but as the word gets in his spirit & you teach him ways to line up, you will see a shift.
- I also like to use this time to introduce some key truths to the Christian faith. For example, my 3 year old goes through what I like to call a daily confession. I ask him his name, his age, who loves him, who died for his sins, and who healed him. I want him to understand early on that he is loved by us, but more importantly he is loved by Jesus. I want him to really get that the blood of Jesus is the only thing that can save him from his sins. Isaiah has an awesome testimony of how God healed him as an infant. I do not want him to EVER forget what Jesus did for him. As he gets older, we will build on this foundation; sharing truths such as the power that’s in the blood of Jesus, repenting of our sins,etc.
- Watch the video below for an example. Isaiah is not used to me recording him as he responds to my questions so for the first few seconds he is caught up in the camera.
Finally, below is a list of scriptures A-Z that I received when my oldest was in preschool. I ABSOLUTELY love it and still use it today, even for my now 10 year old. I tend to review this when we are in the car or on the weekends when we have an extended devotion. Start with the letter A and work your way through the alphabet. I also like to discuss what each scripture means with my children; going beyond memorizing to comprehending which I pray will lead to applying it. Print it out and put on your refrigerator. I hope you find these suggestions to be helpful. Leave me a comment and let me know!
A-Z Memory Verse
A-All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
B-Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved! Acts 16:31
C-children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Ephesians 6:1
D-Depart from evil do good seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14
E– Enter by the narrow gate. Mathew 7:13
F-For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
G-Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Mathew 28:19
H-Honor your father and mother Exodus 20:12
I-I am the way the truth and the life John 14:6
J-The just shall live by. Romans 1:17
K-keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Psalm 34:13
L-Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5
M-Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Psalm 100:1
N– No servant can serve two masters. Mathew 6:24
O– Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8
P-pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Q-Quench not the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19
R-Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth. Ecclesiastes 12
S-Submit to God. Resist the devil and He will flee from you. James 14:7
T– “ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
U-Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1
V-Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19
W-Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. Mathew 25:13
X-eXalt the LORD our God, and worship at His footstool— He is holy. Psalm 99:5
Y– Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
Z-Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice because of Your judgments, O LORD. Psalm 97:8
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About the Author
Anika Jones is a speaker and author of the book Lessons Learned Along The Way: A 40 Day Devotional. She blogs about faith and family at LivingForLater.com and posts weekly videos on her YouTube channels, Living For Later (@livingforlater) and Living Life Now (@livinglifenow). Anika loves speaking about developing intimacy with God and understanding who we are in Christ. She serves alongside her husband in ministry. They live in Illinois with their 6 children.