Looking over the homeschool marketplace, I would make two observations.
So, I asked some pastors and Christian leaders, “Why is it important for children to learn the content of the Bible?” This is not an attempt to be flippant or trite; I’m really concerned. Many parents don’t teach the content of the Bible to their children.
How would you answer?
Homeschool families will invest considerable sums on grammar, history, Latin, literature, and math, while they invest very little to learn the Bible. That would be OK if they spent considerable time studying God’s Word—even without a financial investment. Unfortunately, all too often, they respond this way: “We integrate biblical thinking into all we study” or “We have our Bible education as a devotional time that includes the whole family.” Both of those approaches are good, but neither is enough.
The approach of classical Christian education has us learn the content—the facts—of a subject, then how that content relates to other content. Finally, having mastered the facts and how facts relate to each other, students learn to be influencers with what they’ve learned.
Applied to the Bible, we would never start teaching apologetics or systematic theology to a kindergartener. They have other things to learn first. The problem might be that we don’t value a strategic approach like classical pedagogy offers when it comes to God’s Word. Maybe we should.
How should our children learn the Bible? Just like the way many classical educators approach teaching history. Start with who, what, where and when—the grammar stage. Then get into how one thing relates to another. These are “how and why” questions. Questions like “How does the Old Testament relate to the New?” and “Why did God destroy everyone but Noah and his family?” and “Why did John the Baptist decrease in his ministry after he baptized Jesus?” are not questions for the younger student. These are too hard, and students need to be made ready for them.
But questions like “What were the 12 tribes of Israel?” or “What is the Scripture reference for the ‘Sermon on the Mount’?” are both important and timely for young children. Knowing the who, what, where and when is more than fun. It’s crucial. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalms 119:11)
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So, how did the pastors and friends answer, “Why is it important for children to learn the content of the Bible?” The best answer I got was from a pastor and dear friend, “Because we love them and want them to go to Heaven.”