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5 Ways to Start Training Your Children in Biblical Truth

5 Ways to Start Training Your Children in Biblical Truth

Proverbs 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Sounds nice, but where do we start and how do we see these results? Seeking these answers requires the constant pursuit of truth and practical execution found in God's word. It's a long and time-consuming journey that takes countless (and many times thankless) hours of hard work. It CAN be overwhelming. But "you eat an elephant one bite at a time" and "a journey of a thousand...", you get the point.

I've outlined five steps to get started on this journey. This is by no means and exhaustive list, but rather a "starters guide to training up a child in the way that he should go". 

1. Train Yourself

Put simply, how can you train your children if you aren't training yourself? Short answer, you can't. I've seen many people try and it only ends with "when he is old, he departs from it." Below are a few ways to begin your training. These are just a "snack" to get started:

  • Attend a biblically sound Church. 
    • Don't compromise on this. You might have your "list of wants" in a Church, but if "biblically sound" isn't at the top, you've got your priorities out of whack. I would take a Church with mediocre music and design with excellent teaching over a super polished "experience" with no depth any day of the week. Why? Because as C.S. Lewis so aptly put it:
Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first and we lose both first and second things.
    • Be in the word of God daily.
    • Learn how to pray and do it daily.
      • This is so vitally important. Perhaps these two books can help you get started if you haven't already developed a solid prayer life. First, The Power of Prayer by R.A. Torrey. Second is Prayer by Timothy Keller. 
    • Learn about different ways to talk with your children. 
      • I'm currently reading a book called Keeping Your Kids on God's Side by Natasha Crain. It's a great guide, suggesting 40 different conversations to have with your children. 

    2. Encourage Questions

    Most parents shut their children down from asking questions over time. There's two main reasons we do this as parents:

    1. We're lazy. When our children ask us questions it requires us to either have the answer or go find it. Both require work. 
    2. We're fearful. We think if our children "pry around" too much they will start to doubt the validity of the Christian faith. The opposite couldn't be more true. 

    When you encourage questions, you teach your children to think critically. If you've looked around lately, you've noticed that we need more critical thinkers in the Church than ever before. The culture is going to do a "full court press" on your kid's soul as early as grade school (i.e. Evolution, Sexual Ethics, Naturalism, Pluralism, Atheism,  etc.) . Will they have answers to the barrage of questions that their peers throw at them? Or will they be ill-equipped because you and me didn't want to train our children in critical thinking? It's not the Church's job to do this. It's yours and it's mine. Let's both raise families that are willing to debate life's most important questions. 

    3. Find Great Resources

    We should constantly pursue great reading material for ourselves and our children. There's a lot out there, but I will highlight two: 

    1. The Radical Book for Kids by Champ Thorton - This book is really special. I was given this book by a great friend for Christmas and we started going through it as a family. It's rare to find such a creative book combined with such biblically accurate content. A must have. 
    2. Bear & Squirrel Episodes - We created these one-week studies to help families dive deeper into God's word with their young children. Simply download a one-week Episode and explore meaningful content in a super creative way. Sit with your children for just 15 minutes each day to invest in their eternity. 

    4. Create Family Habits

    Deuteronomy 11:19-20 says " 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates," We need to create lots of habits in our home to make God's word, God's promises, and God's history of provision ever-present. Lest, as a family we forget those things. I suggest three key times in the day to create biblical habits: 

    • Start the day right with the Bible at breakfast. We actually have our nine year old read from the Bible and then we ask our kids questions. Super easy to do and it goes a long way. We have fun with it and try to engage each kid in a unique way, considering their age. The result is that they look forward to it. 
    • Make dinner a time to reflect on God's goodness. We try to ask each other what we're thankful for that day, specific to what God did. This has been an important part of teaching the kids that even "bad" situations are something that we can be thankful for, not giving them the impression that life is always fair or easy. 
    • Use bedtime to tell stories, sing, and wind-down. We start bedtime by reading the bible (either Kristina or I read). We also read other books like the Radical Book for Kids discussed above. It's a way to revisit the scriptures before bed. Then, we sing. We actually sing two songs, "Our God is an Awesome God" (the version with "putting on the ritz" in it) and "Jesus Loves Me". We want to teach our kids to praise the Lord in all forms, not being embarrassed to cry out to him in adoration. If dad can sing loud (despite his horrible voice) then everyone can!

    5. Remember Who They Are Becoming

    The one single best piece of advice I received from my Pastor about child raising is this; "You're not raising children, you're raising adults." This profound statement short-wired my brain (in the best way possible) forever. You see, it's easy to get caught in two lies: 

    1. We own our kids. No, our kids are on "loan" from the Lord and we're responsible for stewarding over them, investing in their future, and seeing a return. 
    2. They'll always rely on us. No, our job is to prepare them to be adults so that they can be independent. They should be equipped to understand the Gospel and (hopefully) rightly repent and follow Jesus on their own. 

    When you raise your kids with a biblically accurate perspective, it's much easier to double-down on the training. We shouldn't "hide our kids under the mattress" but rather send them out as a "Kingdom Investment" delivering a 100x return. 

    Lastly, I'll say this, the job of "adult raising" is not easy. Especially when you attempt to do it biblically. Therefore, don't isolate yourself. Get into a small group or a tight community with other Christian Parents. Share with them your experiences and seek wise council. The enemy is prowling around like a lion, seeking to devour us "sheep". It's much easier to kill a sheep when it's alone. 

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