My four-year-old granddaughter was puzzled? “Who’s the devil?” she asked. Even with going to church and being raised in a Christian home she had not heard of the fallen angel and how he fit in to God’s plan. Her mother was mortified. “We must be terrible parents.” was her only response.
That couldn’t be further from the truth, but it raises an interesting issue. What are the consequences of a gap in the instruction of our children? The first point of comfort here is that she’s only four. None of us want to be evaluated on whether our four-year-olds know the whole counsel of God. Yet, the idea of bad behavior—sin—and the role the devil plays in it are not inconsequential to even a four-year-old’s understanding of the Christian faith.
I had wonderful Christian parents but could still list some horrible gaps in my understanding of God’s revelations. It happens to all of us. There’s much to be learned.
How do you make sure you don’t have this happen? Or, maybe more realistically, how do you minimize its happening? Scripture provides a simple answer. It is sufficient. We can have complete confidence that everything we need to know and live according to God’s design is found in His Word. The problem is churches and families don’t always use the whole Bible. As “New Testament Christians” we may tend to ignore the Old Testament. As Christians of a particular denomination we may favor certain teaching—and the passage from where it comes—over others.
Here are some practical helps:
Doing just #3 above, every one of your children will hear the entire Bible about every two years while only reading five to 10 minutes each weekday. We found doing #4 to have great benefit in their reading abilities and communications skills, too.
Christianity without biblical literacy can hardly be a robust Christianity.
As for that granddaughter of ours, we’ve grown to expect her to supplement our dinner prayers with “…and we hate the devil.”
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