Teaching kids theology from the earliest age shapes their character and will as they discover the nature of God and seek to develop godly characteristics. By understanding God’s purposes for his world, his method, and his mission, the will is orientated to serving God and living for his glory. As well as informing the character development of children, theology also informs how they live in the world. How kids live should directly correlate to what they believe, and so theology becomes foundational for their actions as well.
- Teaching theology to kids is teaching Scripture.
The charge to raise children in the knowledge and love of God is clearly given in the Bible (Deut. 6:6-7; Ps. 78:1-8), and teaching theology is one of the ways to fulfill that charge. The most pressing concern for those entrusted with the discipleship of children should be the faithful communication and application of God’s Word. The discipline of theology is simply the systematic correlation of biblical truths about God and all other things in relation to him. If children are learning these truths from infancy, it is able to make them wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15). So teaching kids theology always means teaching them the Bible.
- Teaching theology to kids helps them read the Bible better.
When children read the Bible, they bring their thought systems, assumptions, presuppositions, and proclivities to the text; they read Scripture through the lens of whatever theology they’ve imbibed. By teaching kids theology, we are making those things explicit, subjecting them to scrutiny, and making sure that the system they bring to any biblical passage is biblically informed. Knowing theology helps kids read their Bibles better.
Knowing theology helps kids read their Bibles better.
- Teaching theology to kids is a life-orientating gift.
From the moment children are born, they are seeking to make sense of the world around them. As they develop, they begin to create a matrix of meaning related to life, which eventually forms a framework through which they interact with and assess every experience. By teaching children theology from a young age, we nurture the formation of a biblical worldview and guide them towards living a life orientated to God and motivated by his salvific mission in the world.
- Teaching theology to kids well requires hard work and determination.
There’s no doubt that it can be hard to teach theology well to children. The greatest resistance to teaching theology to children arises because the children complain that they find it dull and boring. This complaint relates entirely to the methodology used to teach the children rather than to the content–we must never lead children to believe that ‘the glorious deeds of the Lord’ are boring because of bad teaching.
Significant effort must be given to teaching theology in a way that makes it accessible and interesting to all children. It takes hard work and determination to communicate abstract biblical truths in a concrete way, but it can be done. It takes thoughtfulness and creativity to illustrate theological points in a way children will understand, but it can be done. The theology we teach arises out of the drama of the biblical narrative, which means that the our theology is not just abstract formulations but is rather inseparable from the concrete story of God’s ways in the world.