People who care for children know that they are naturally curious. As soon as they learn to talk, they start asking questions about everything from the mundane to the extraordinary. Some even ask mundane and extraordinary questions in the same breath, “Why do we keep butter in the fridge, and why is there cold?” Answering these questions is both endearing and challenging, especially when those questions fall into religious territory.
Discussing religion and religious literature, such as Christianity and the Bible, is important for all families, whether they’re secular or believe in the Christian faith. Keep reading to learn how to discuss the Bible with your children, regardless of your family’s beliefs, and why that discussion is so important.
Caregivers and adults in secular families know that while secularism is on the rise, religion is still a prevalent part of our society, especially Christianity. This knowledge can lead our little ones and our growing ones to ask questions about the Christian faith and its book. There are several ways you can go about having this important discussion.
Teach Critical Thinking and Respect First
Regardless of personal beliefs, everyone can agree that we want to raise children who understand how to interact with others who differ from them. Critical thinking and respect are two of the most important skills we must instill in our children so that they can have productive, kind conversations with everyone. When your child asks questions about religion and religious literature, whether broad or specific, you can start the discussion with a focus on critical thinking and respect. Teach them how to analyze what they learn from all sources. Teach and demonstrate respect through conversations and interactions.
Caregivers are children’s first teachers. As you teach them the basic life skills of critical thinking and respect, you can also expand to educate them with answers to their specific questions. Answer them as honestly and thoughtfully as possible when they ask both broad and specific questions. Your answers should include knowledge from as many sources as possible, especially regarding religions and religious literature.
If they’re asking about God, you can teach them what different religions believe about God, and what you believe. Suppose they’re asking about one specific religion, such as how the Bible is different from other religious texts. In that case, you can explain the history behind the Bible and what Christians believe about it. Once you’ve provided the specific answer, you can expand to include other religions, such as how Judaism and the Torah impacted the Bible’s Old Testament.
In some families, the caregivers and other adults are Christian believers. While this can make answering questions about religious faith and literature easier, we can’t dismiss these questions as easy or as something to be addressed at church. We must take the time to answer these questions honestly, and with the attention to detail our children deserve as learning, growing humans.
Answer the Five W’s
Children tend to ask the most popular questions: who, what, when, where, and why. Even if you’re raising your child in the Christian faith, they may still ask these questions about the Bible as they strive to learn more. Answer these questions at an age-appropriate level whenever they’re asked. Sometimes these questions refer to the Bible in general, while other times, children ask these questions about specific Bible stories.
If your child hasn’t asked these questions yet, you can still provide educational answers when reading the Bible together. Reading the Bible together is a great way to open Bible discussions and encourage children’s Bible time. Create a routine around this Bible reading and allow time for plenty of questions. Children also learn when someone asks them questions, so ask them questions as you read. Although you already know the answer, your children will expand their reading comprehension skills and their understanding of the Bible as they answer your questions.
Explain the Bible’s Singularity
One of the biggest questions you’ll face as a Christian caregiver is how the Bible is different from other books. While children may understand that they study the Bible differently than other books, such as those assigned for school, many are still grasping the Bible’s singularity and the truth it holds. Take the time to explain that while humans held the pens that wrote the Bible, it is God’s word. There is no other book that holds God’s word. That’s why we read it continuously, even if we’ve read it all before. Explain this while reading the Bible together or whenever your child asks.
Why Are These Discussions Important?
As we mentioned above, children ask questions all the time. Sometimes they don’t even pay attention to the answer; they just want to start conversations with their caregivers. Sometimes they’re young enough that they forget the answers and ask the same questions when they get older. Regardless of how or how often we’re asked about religions and religious literature, all caregivers need to take these discussions seriously.
How we talk to them about these important topics will influence our children’s natural curiosity and will affect what they ask us in the future. What we tell them influences how they interact with religious people and what they believe. We want to encourage our secular or Christian children to ask questions, treat people respectfully, and feel confident in their beliefs. Therefore, we must know how to discuss the Bible with our children and see these discussions as opportunities to help our children grow.
There are many ways we can help our children grow. Answering their questions and taking these conversations seriously is one way to do so. Reading the Bible with them and making time for other bonding activities is another way to help them grow intellectually and emotionally. Even if your family is secular, exploring the religious book your child is asking about together can create great opportunities for further discussion. If you’re helping a child learn how to read or prefer bigger text, the KJV Store can provide you with a large print KJV Bible. These Bibles are easy to read, and many have the same features you may look for in other Bibles, such as reference columns and thumb indexes.