Bringing Big Doctrines Down to Kid Size
by Crystal Bowman
As a Christian children’s author, my main message to children is that God loves them and cares about them very much. But I believe children can understand deeper biblical truths as well. The word ‘doctrine’ describes what we believe and why. So how can we teach Bible doctrine to children in ways that they can understand?
Is God Real? Children can be taught that there’s a God in heaven, but we can go deeper when we explain the evidence of God’s existence in nature. We cannot see the wind, but we can see what it does. Wind blows a sailboat across a lake. It blows the leaves on a tree and carries a kite through the air. Children understand these examples from everyday life. In the same way, we know God is real because we can see what He does. We can look at the sun, moon and stars He created. We can see God’s beauty in rainbows and sunsets, and we can see His power in a mighty ocean. We can watch a flock of geese fly in V formation as God leads them to a warmer climate for the winter. Children can have a greater awareness of God’s existence by learning to recognize His active work in the world around them.
What Is Grace? The way to teach grace is to help children understand that God already loves us and we don’t have to earn His love. Grace is when God gives us blessings we don’t deserve. It’s like getting a present when it’s not your birthday or getting an A even though you got some answers wrong. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” When we teach children that salvation is a gift God gives to us by grace, it removes the burden of having to earn our salvation. This gift comes through believing that Jesus paid for our sins on the cross. All we need to do is accept the gift He freely gives—just like accepting a birthday gift. What Is Faith? When teaching an abstract concept such as faith, it’s important for children to be shown what faith looks like, so they can understand its meaning through concrete examples. Noah had faith when God told him to build a boat even though it had never rained. Abraham had faith when God told him to move to another country, even though God didn’t tell him where to go. The woman who suffered with a bleeding disease had faith when she touched the hem of Jesus’ robe to be healed. Through sharing stories like these from the Bible, children can learn what it means to not only have faith and trust in God, but to put their faith into action. What Is the Bible’s Message? Children learn familiar Bible stories at home or in Sunday school, but it’s important for them to understand that the Bible is also one big story that tells about God’s love for His people and His plan to save us from sin. As children spend time reading the Bible or using devotionals to help them learn more about the Bible, they will grow in their knowledge and understanding of who God is and how He wants us to live. They will learn how the Old Testament tells us about God’s promise to send a Savior, and how the New Testament fulfills that promise through Jesus.
Of course, there are many other Bible doctrines that young children can understand if they are taught with age-appropriate examples and kid-friendly language. Whether it’s kids’ devotionals, Bible storybooks or picture books, we can reach children with big doctrines by using practical and concrete examples that they can relate to and help them dig deeper into God’s Word. I am honored to be the co-author of the new devotional Our Daily Bread for Kids—365 Devotions from Genesis to Revelation. Released October 3 by Our Daily Bread Publishing House, our prayer is to encourage children and families to dig deeper into God’s Word.
God is real, and His love and grace are amazing. Let’s pass our faith to the next generation by keeping them filled with the truth of God’s Holy Word.
Crystal Bowman is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 100 books for children. She also writes lyrics for children’s piano music and stories for Clubhouse Jr. Magazine. When she’s not writing books, she enjoys going for walks, listening to music, and hugging her eight grandkids. To learn more, visit www.crystalbowman.com.