Teaching Children the Whole Counsel of God

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1 Teaching Children the Whle Cunsel f Gd Acts 20:27 fr I did nt shrink frm declaring t yu the whle cunsel f Gd. Jill Nelsn D.A. Carsn What he [Paul] must mean is that he taught the burden f the whle f Gd s revelatin, the balance f things, leaving nthing ut that was f primary imprtance, never ducking the hard bits, helping believers t grasp the whle cunsel f Gd that they themselves wuld becme better equipped t read their Bibles intelligently, cmprehensively. It embraced Gd s purpses in the histry f redemptin (truths t be believed and a Gd t be wrshiped), an unpacking f human rigin, fall, redemptin, and destiny (a wrldview that shapes all human understanding and a Savir withut whm there is n hpe), the cnduct expected f Gd s peple (cmmandments t be beyed and wisdm t be pursued, bth in ur individual existence and in the cmmunity f the peple f Gd), and the pledges f transfrming pwer bth in this life and in the life t cme (prmises t be trusted and hpe t be anticipated). (Preach the Wrd: Essays n Expsitry Preaching: In Hnr f R. Kent Hughes, 2007, ) Element 1 A stry based chrnlgical verview f the Bible which intrduces children t the main character f the Bible Gd and acquaints them with key peple, places, and events If we limit a child s scpe f the many stries in the Bible, we will inadvertently als limit their view f the Gd f the Bible. Thrugh a careful Gd centered presentatin f a wide array f Bible stries yung children will begin t cmmit t memry imprtant truths abut Gd, truths that are repeated thrughut the Bible in a variety f settings. Chrnlgy is imprtant as it reveals the rder f events and the "cause and effect" r directin and prgressin f thse events: creatin, fall, judgment, and redemptin. Yung children need t see these cnnectins if they are t make sense f the whle. Element 2 Biblical thelgy which fcuses n the meta narrative and verarching "stryline" f the Bible. Biblical thelgy sees the Bible as ne cmplete, true stry that prgressively reveals Gd's redemptive purpses, which cme t their cmplete fulfillment in the Persn and wrk f Jesus Christ Children Desiring Gd Cnference The Splendr f Hliness

2 The message f Bible is the saving wrk f a hly Gd t recncile sinners t Himself thrugh the perfect life, death, and resurrectin f His Sn, Jesus Christ, that Gd may be glrified frever. We need t shw children that individual Bible stries are cnnected and all ultimately pint t this main message. Clssians 1:15 19 the Bible is abut Jesus and His redemptive wrk Cautinary nte: Just as we nce may have underemphasized the imprtance f biblical thelgy, we must als nt veremphasize it t the exclusin f ther necessary disciplines. Jhn Piper Nt nly shuld the particulars f the Bible be seen in relatin t the larger stryline f the Bible, but we shuld als realize that the stry exists t reveal the particulars f Gd and his ways. And thse particular glries f Gd are seen and enjyed nt mainly by gazing ver the whle dazzling landscape f redemptive histry, but by fcusing n sme particular thing Gd did r said inside the stry. (The Great Stry and the Single Verse, 10/24/2012 at desiringgd.rg) Element 4 Systematic thelgy that teaches fundatinal dctrines Wayne Grudem Systematic thelgy is any study that answers the questin, What des the Bible teach us tday? abut any given tpic. This definitin indicates that systematic thelgy invlves cllecting and understanding all relevant passages in the Bible n varius tpics and then summarizing their teachings clearly s that we knw what t believe abut each tpic. (Systematic Thelgy, 1994, p.21) It creates imprtant categries in the mind s that the child can recgnize that different "things" r "beings" pssess distinct qualities. Systematic thelgy prvides a structure by which fundatinal dctrines f the Christian faith can be learned. Yu are creating categries, assigning Biblical texts t thse categries, carefully examining the infrmatin in thse categries t cme t dctrinal cnclusins Children Desiring Gd Cnference The Splendr f Hliness

3 Systematic thelgy prvides categries that serve t guard against wrng interpretatins f tpics and specific texts. Element 4 An explicit presentatin f the essential truths f the Gspel leading t a clear understanding f saving faith. 1. Gd is the svereign Creatr f all things Implicatin Gd made yu. Yu belng t Gd. Gd is yur ruler. 2. Gd created peple fr His glry Implicatin Gd created yu t knw, trust, and lve Him mst f all. 3. Gd is hly and righteus Implicatin Gd's cmmands are hly and righteus. Yu must bey Gd's cmmands. 4. Man is sinful Implicatin Yu have disbeyed Gd's cmmands. Yu are a sinner. 5. Gd is just and is right t punish sin Implicatin Yu deserve Gd's punishment f death and hell. 6. Gd is merciful. He is kind t undeserving sinners. Implicatin Yu must depend n Gd's mercy in rder t be saved. 7. Jesus is Gd s hly and righteus Sn Implicatin Jesus came int the wrld t save yu. 8. Gd put the punishment f sinners n Jesus Implicatin Jesus died n the crss t be punished in yur place. 9. Gd ffers the free gift f salvatin t thse wh repent and believe in Jesus Implicatin Gd tells yu t believe in Jesus and repent f yur sins and yu will be saved. 10. Thse wh trust in Jesus will live t please Him and will receive the prmise f eternal life enjying Gd frever in heaven. Implicatin If yu are trusting Jesus fr yur salvatin, yu must fllw Him. (Helping Children t Understand the Gspel. Children Desiring Gd) While every lessn we teach shuld present imprtant Gspel truths, nt every lessn must explicitly present the entire Gspel Children Desiring Gd Cnference The Splendr f Hliness

4 Element 5 Mral instructin the cmmands f Scripture which guide us in the righteus ways f Gd. Deuternmy 11:18 Yu shall therefre lay up these wrds f mine in yur heart and in yur sul, and yu shall bind them as a sign n yur hand, and they shall be as frntlets between yur eyes. Gd's law is a revelatin f His character (Psalm 119:137; Rmans 7:12) Mral instructin is nt a relic f the Old Testament; Jesus ne recrded sermn was full f ethical teaching referring back t and expanding the Old Testament mral instructin. The New Testament is full f cmmands. Gd's law has a 3 fld benefit as described in The Refrmatin Study Bible ESV (2005, p. 264) Its first functin is t be a mirrr reflecting t us bth the perfect righteusness f Gd and ur wn sinfulness and shrtcmings. Mral instructin reveals ur need fr a Savir. A secnd functin, the "civil use," is t retrain evil. Thugh the law cannt change the heart, it can t sme extent inhibit lawlessness by its threats f judgment. Befre and after faith Mral instructin restrains evil. It's third functin is t guide the regenerate int the gd wrks that Gd has planned fr them (Eph. 2:10) The law tells Gd's children what will please their heavenly Father. After faith Mral instrucn guides us in what is pleasing t Gd, s that we might becme increasingly cnfrmed t the image f Christ. Kevin DeYung It sunds very spiritual t say Gd is interested in a relatinship, nt in rules. But it's nt biblical. Frm tp t bttm the Bible is full f cmmands. They aren't meant t stifle a relatinship with Gd, but t prtect it, seal it, and define it. (The Hle in Our Hliness, 2012, p. 45.) 2013 Children Desiring Gd Cnference The Splendr f Hliness

5 Element 6 Bible study skills t prvide the necessary tls fr rightly reading and interpreting Scripture. Give the children Bible lessns and teach them fr a class time; shw them hw t study the Bible and yu teach them fr a lifetime. 2 Timthy 2:15 D yur best t present yurself t Gd as ne apprved, a wrker wh has n need t be ashamed, rightly handling the wrd f truth. Basic hermeneutics (tls f interpretatin) and study skills in which the students d the fllwing: Ask "Wh, What, Where? When? Why? and Hw?" f the text Examine prper cntext interpreting a passage in reference t the whle Nte types f expressin figurative language such as hyperble, metaphrs, analgies Lk fr repetitins, lists, cntrasts, and cmparisns Ntice and understand nuance Yu can start giving children basic study tls and skills at a very yung age. Fr example, by refraining frm simply "telling" the students what the text is saying and instead asking sme specific questins, yu are training their study skills. Resurces fr teaching Bible study skills: The Imprtance f Biblical Literacy fr the Next Generatin (childrendesiringgd.rg free dwnlad) Hw t Study Yur Bible fr Kids (Discver 4 Yurself Inductive Bible Studies fr Kids) 2013 Children Desiring Gd Cnference The Splendr f Hliness

6 Sme diagnstic tests t determine if yu are teaching the whle cunsel f Gd 1.Lk at a span f 5 years in thse 5 years are yu cvering each f the six elements in ageapprpriate and balanced prprtins? Make a chart and evaluate each curriculum. Five years = 30 bxes t pssibly check. Nte main emphasis and then any secndary nes 2. Cnsider yur current scpe and sequence frm preschl t high schl and then ask if these key questins are being addressed: What is the nature f Scripture: its authrity, clarity, necessity, and sufficiency? Hw d we knw that Gd exists? Can yu name and define 12 attributes f Gd? What is the Trinity? What is the chief end f Gd? Why did Gd create the wrld? What is meant by Gd s prvidence? What are angels, demns, and Satan? Why did Gd create man in His image and likeness? What is the significance f Gd creating us as male and female? What is the chief end man? What is the essence f sin? What are the Old Testament cvenants? What is the New Cvenant? What are the 10 Cmmandments? Why did Gd give Israel the law? Hw was the law fulfilled in Christ? What was the purpse f Old Testament temple, priests, and sacrifices? Hw were these cmpleted in Christ? What was the cvenant that Gd made with David? Hw was it fulfilled in Christ? Can yu name 8 Old Testament prphets? What was their primary rle? Why did Jesus, wh is fully Gd, becme fully man when He came int the wrld? What is meant by the kingdm f Gd? What did Jesus accmplish when He died n the crss? What is the significance f Jesus resurrectin? What are the essential truths f the Gspel? What are the elements f salvatin? What must yu d t be saved? Why did Gd send the Hly Spirit? What is prayer? What is the rle f Gd's law in the life f a believer? What is the church its nature, gvernance, and missin? What are the tw sacraments (r rdinances)? What is the priesthd f believers? Hw is marriage a picture f Christ and the Church? What is the secnd cming f Christ? What will Christ d? What are the new heavens and new earth? Can yu describe the main message f the Bible in ne sentence? 2013 Children Desiring Gd Cnference The Splendr f Hliness

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