How to Have Biblical Discussions With Your Kids
by Kristina Matz
Two things are true. First, biblical discussions can be daunting in and of themselves, regardless of who we are having them with. Second, real discussions with our kiddos can be daunting in and of themselves, regardless of what we are having them about. So in light of these two truths, how do we press on in order to develop a habit of biblical discussions with our children?
I still remember the first time I read Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. Our oldest was around five years old. I can remember him encouraging a seemingly constant and ongoing conversation about the Lord with our children. Keep in mind, I was saved when I was reading this and had considered myself to be a faithful Christian parent. This now cherished book, along with the teaching we were about to receive at our new church, would show me how far from faithful I was being. Case in point, my gut reaction to Mr. Tripp’s call to living out Deuteronomy 6:7 in my home. I remember thinking, “That seems like a bit of overkill.” Truth be told, I was instantly convicted and confessed my sinful thought to the Lord. But that gut reaction showed me how far I was from where God would have me be.
We did talk about God in our home, but I wouldn’t say it happened regularly or all the time. So the idea of having this kind of conversation be an ever-flowing part of my speech seemed uncomfortable. And, to be honest, for a while it was. I really had to work hard at bringing Christ into the conversation on a regular basis. But over time it became much easier. Over time it developed into the habit of mine and Charlie’s speech. What was awkward to do with our first child at five-years-old became natural to do with our second, third, and fourth child.
If we begin this stage of “getting over ourselves” and the awkwardness we may feel when our kiddos are still infants, we will be well seasoned by the time they can begin to engage with us in the conversation. But if you already have older children, fear not! We had to play “catch up” as well. Just determine to start today and God will give you the grace to overcome the awkward stage and make it to the natural stage.
Biblical discussions should happen continually throughout every season in our children’s lives. They should also look different in each of these seasons. As our children grow, the way that we discuss the Lord with them should also grow. It’s tempting to start small and unassuming with talk about God as Creator and then to camp out there long term. And while I think it’s vastly important to continually teach our children that God is their Creator and their ultimate authority, I think we would fail to be faithful parents if that’s all that we told them about God.
What this primarily means is that we, as their parents, need to be personally equipped to have more in-depth conversations with them. The writer of Hebrews chides the recipients of his letter because of their failure to progress in their biblical study and understanding.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” - Hebrews 5:12-14
Notice that the mature are marked by a kind of training in the Word that comes through constant practice. We cannot expect to be prepared for biblical discussions with our children if we are not daily in the Word for ourselves. We, ourselves, must be trained by the Word if we expect to be able to train our children according to it.
“That means if you think your grasp of spiritual truth is insufficient to teach these things [the full gospel message of Jesus Christ] to your children, you had better start learning immediately. God holds you responsible as a Christian, and not merely as a parent, to have enough knowledge of elementary gospel truth so that you can teach others.” - John MacArthur, What the Bible Says About Parenting, pg. 65
And if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed and a knot has formed in your stomach, let me put you at ease for a moment. I can with full confidence guarantee that you already have everything you need right at your fingertips to equip yourself for this weighty task!
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” - 2 Peter 1:3
The knowledge of God, through the reading of His Word, and the grace of wisdom granted to us through the power of His Holy Spirit are together sufficient for us! And as we learn and grow, let us then encourage our children to think more deeply about the Lord. Discuss the reality of God’s holiness and what that means for us as sinners. Teach them of God’s love through the giving of His Son as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Make sure they know the power of Christ’s resurrection and the proof of His deity that we see in it. These are things we need to be discussing with our children again and again and again. God has given us ample time with these sweet souls. May we begin to feed them these rich truths from their earliest years so that they can chew on them bit by bit as they grow.
Finally, because the responsibility is so great and the undertaking so vast, let us not be afraid to enlist help along the way. Our first and greatest resource needs to be prayer and the study of God’s Word like we addressed earlier. But there are also a number of great resources that we, as parents, should take full advantage of. One of our favorites is a podcast called The Briefing by Albert Mohler. This is a daily 20-25 minute podcast that addresses current events from a Christian worldview. Dr. Mohler’s daily analysis is super helpful for us as parents and gives us greater clarity as we seek to engage our children in biblical conversations about what is going on in the world around them.
There is another podcast that is worth a listen, even with our kiddos, depending on their ages. It is called Simply Put and it is hosted by Ligonier Ministries. Each episode is under ten minutes and takes an aspect of the Lord, the gospel, or the Scriptures as a whole and succinctly explains what it means. An example of an episode is Satan or Original Sin. As a parent, it can be difficult to know how to simply explain something so vast to children still so young. This resource gives us the tools we need to do just that!
We would also highly recommend our Choose Wisely Cards. These cards were created with biblical discussion in mind! Each card includes a playful and relatable story that engages our children and then challenges them to think through Scripture and what it looks like when applied to our lives. The fun and whimsy of each story and illustration help this resource to be unintimidating, both for us and our children! But the richness of God’s Word and the prompt to think more deeply into our motives gives innumerable opportunities for valuable biblical discussion.
While the need for biblical discussion with our children is clear and the idea of such an undertaking can be overwhelming, it is our prayer that you are feeling more encouraged and equipped for the task than ever before as you reach the end of this post. You can do this! What biblical conversation will you engage in with your children today?