At Children Desiring God, we talk a lot about the necessity of teaching our children and youth the whole counsel of God
. One measure of how well we have succeeded in doing this is to see whether or not they can answer these crucial questions, with increasing biblical depth, as they age and mature:
- What’s in the Bible?
- How should we read and understand the Bible?
- Who is the Bible about?
- What’s the main message of the Bible?
- What are the essential doctrines (truths) of the Christian faith?
- Why do we need to be saved?
- What must we do to be saved?
- How are we to live?
Providing our children with answers to these questions is absolutely essential if we want them to genuinely know, honor, and treasure God, through Christ, and live as faithful, fruitful disciples. We cannot make them alive to Christ and bring about saving faith, but we are responsible for teaching them the necessity, means, and fruit of faith as revealed in God’s Word. In other words, they need to be taught the whole counsel of God.
This entails proclaiming the majestic breadth and depth of Scripture—both the whole, grand narrative and the individual, glorious parts. (See “The Great Story and the Single Verse
” by John Piper.) We believe this is best accomplished with an intentional, strategic plan that acquaints children and students with the following:
- a chronological overview of the Bible’s key stories and themes.
- a study of the Bible’s historical, redemptive narrative (biblical theology).
- an examination of the essential doctrines of the Bible (systematic theology)
- God’s moral and ethical instruction: His law and commandments, the wisdom literature, and the teachings of Jesus and the apostles.
- an explicit and careful study of the essential truths of the Gospel.
For more help in thinking through a strategic plan for teaching children the whole counsel of God, download this handout
. Not only does the handout provide a summary of these points, it also gives churches and parents practical questions for evaluating your current biblical resources and programs, as well as a list of suggested resources for use in the home.