The calling of fatherhood is glorious and daunting. The privilege of bringing up children in the training and instruction of the Lord is both thrilling and terrifying. One of the challenges is simply not knowing where to start. In this space, I want to provide a few suggestions.
Make use of good children’s Bibles.
This is a great place to start with the youngest children. Good children’s Bibles don’t just simplify wording or randomly collect “cute” bible stories; instead, they give a faithful sweep of the grand storyline of the Bible from creation to new creation. Along the way, children will begin to understand the basics of who God is, who we are, what our fundamental problem is, and how Christ is the answer. They will also begin to see the history of redemption from creation to fall to redemption to new creation. Good children’s Bibles help us to see the whole and therefore better prepare us to understand the parts.
Of course, you are welcome to start line by line in Genesis with your two-year-old, but I’d expect you to be asking for a meeting by the time you hit Leviticus (maybe sooner). Oh, and you can skip the story bibles with Noah and the animals smiling as God brings the waters of judgment on the entire world.
Here are some great ones.
The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung
The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross by Carl Laferton
Make use of a good catechism
Catechism may be a new or strange word to you but the concept is neither new nor strange. It is simply a teaching tool in the form of questions, answers, and scripture. Catechisms have been used across the centuries for the purpose of instructing Christians in the basics of the faith and only fallen out of use in recent decades. Listen to this example from the Catechism for boys and girls (ages 2 to 9).
Who made you? God made me.
What else did God make? God made all things.
Why did God make you and all things? God made me and all things for his own glory.
Or this one from a catechism for teens and adults.
Q. 1. What is your only comfort in life and death?
A. That both in soul and body (a), whether I live or die (b), I am not my own, but belong wholly unto my most faithful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (c). By His most precious blood fully satisfying for all my sins (d), He has delivered me from all the power of the devil (e), and so preserves me (f), that without the will of my heavenly Father not so much as a hair may fall from my head (g). Yes, all things must serve for my safety (h) and by His Spirit, also He assures me of everlasting life (i) and makes me ready and prepared (j), that from now on I may live to Him. (a) 1 Cor. 6:19; 1 Thess. 5:10. (b) Rom. 14:8. (c) 1 Cor. 3:23. (d) 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7; 2:2. (e) 1 John 3:8; Heb. 2:14-15. (f) John 6:39. (g) Matt. 10:30; Luke 21:18. (h) Rom. 8:28. (i) 2 Cor. 1:12; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14. (j) Rom. 8:24-25.
Collins, Hercules. An Orthodox Catechism
Catechisms provide a systematic summary of biblical teaching in an accessible form. Here are some good ones.
Truth and Grace Memory Books (Three books cover ages 2 through 18 and include a catechism, scripture memory, and hymns)
New City Catechism
Free online http://newcitycatechism.com/
There is also a copy in the library
So, if you were wondering where to begin, or looking for a couple of tools to use as you seek to obey Ephesians 6:4, I trust these will serve you and the children God has given you well.
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