President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” The most valuable education a child can receive, and for that matter, any one of us can receive is learning the “Holy Scriptures” (II Tim. 3:15). The facts are facts, though. The average child in this country will spend 1,000 hours per year in school. As children get older, the time they spend in front of a screen only increases. But the number of hours per year they spend in Bible class — if they attended every Sunday morning and Wednesday night here at Tidewater — is 78.
Even when we consider the influence of peers, screen time and education, this is still a war that can be won. Last week, we looked at the idea that siblings learn to relate to God together. Children learn about God first, and best, from their parents. It is within the family environment that children learn together from their parents how to relate to God (II Tim. 1:5, 3:15). The home is the starting point of developing valuable children into valuable members in the kingdom of God (Deut. 4:9, 29:29).
There are many goals of teaching. We want to help the lost come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved. After they are baptized, we continue to instruct and teach. That’s when the real work begins, so they can accurately and rightly handle the truth, as well as share with others the reasons for their hope. But the key to all of this is knowledge (Rom. 10:14-17). How I can have faith in someone of whom I have no knowledge?
Which brings us to the reason we have Bible classes. Too many people see children as a liability, a distraction, even an afterthought. But children are a blessing (Ps. 127:3-5) and they’re important. Bible classes aren’t just a way to fill time. Remember the question the Ethiopian eunuch posed to Philip in Acts 8:31: “How can I (understand), unless someone guides me?” Our children are asking us the same question. The goal is to lay a foundation for faith and knowledge of the Bible in the hearts of our children. We need to teach them Jesus and help them discover their gifts (I Pet. 4:10).
So, while the church can help a little bit, primarily it falls on the parents’ shoulders. If I want to raise my children to be valuable members of God’s kingdom, I must make sure that my life is right with God. I can’t give my children something that’s not found in me. Look for opportunities to teach your children. Surround them with God in the home. Our children are valuable souls God has placed in our hands — and He wants them back.