Teaching God’s story

In her excellent book on children's ministry, Ivy Beckwith writes about some of the mistakes we make in teaching the Bible. Although she is writing about the way we teach children, it applies equally to how we preach the Bible:

When we use the Bible with children simply to teach doctrinal tenets, moral absolutes, tips for better living, or stories of heroes to be emulated, we stunt the spiritual formation of our children and deprive them of the valuable, spiritual story of God. When we only distill the Bible into practical applications and little life lessons, we fail to teach children how to use the Bible as a means of understanding God's purposes in the world. We fail to give them the ability to understand their own stories in light of God's story. When we tell them what the Bible says or what to believe about what a particular Bible passage says, we rob them of the ability to experience the text themselves and pull out its meaning in their own context of their world.

In teaching kids the Bible, she says, "we cannot forget that the Bible is primarily about God and God incarnate, Jesus, and God's plan for the redemption of creation." We need material that doesn't use the Bible to "teach children moral lessons." Instead, "We need the Bible to introduce children to God, God's story, and God's ways."

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada