Some good words to think about from Paul David Tripp for every parent and everyone who ministers to children and youth…
What a teenager needs, if he is going to live a God-honoring life, is a thorough knowledge of Scripture that allows him to apply its commands, principles, and perspectives to the many different situations that arise in everyday life. He needs to be more than a person who has acquired biblical knowledge; he needs to be a person who is able to approach life with biblical wisdom.
I am convinced that many teenagers are unprepared for the spiritual struggle because they have never been taught to think biblically. They have been in Sunday school, so they know all the familiar Bible stories and they have memorized all of the favorite Bible passages, but these are not much more than isolated, unconnected biblical factoids to them. They haven’t been woven into a consistent, distinctively biblical view of life. The Bible isn’t a way of thinking to these teenagers. It is a book of moralistic stories, a book of dos and don’ts. The result is that, although they have lots of biblical knowledge, they have little biblical wisdom. They do not have a functional, useful, biblical view of life that would keep them from living foolishly.
We must disciple our children to think biblically, to interpret all the facts of life from a biblical perspective. We must teach them to always ask how the Bible can help them to understand whatever they are considering.
(Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens, 2000, page 121)
Getting Practical: As his words demonstrate, imparting biblical wisdom will require a serious, well-thought-out, intentional, long-term plan. Here are a few suggestions for laying a firm foundation for a “biblical view of life”:
- Teach our children that God is the source of all truth, and His Word, the Bible, is truth—objective, absolute, universal, and unchanging truth.(Proverbs 30:5; Isaiah 40:8; Isaiah 45:19; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16)
- Emphasize that God’s truth is authoritative, and all people are under its authority. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
- Provide them with a comprehensive study on the doctrine of God so they have a proper framework in which to understand His purposes in the world and in our lives. (Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 45:7; Isaiah 46:9-11; Romans 11:33-36; 1 Timothy 6:15-16)
- Stress that biblical truth is relevant to everything in life, and make connections between biblical truth and everyday experiences. (Colossians 1:15-19; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 10:31)
For example, take Ephesians 4:29—”Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Then ask: How does this verse address how we communicate on Facebook ?
- Instruct them how to evaluate all things through the truth of Scripture—What does the Bible have to say about…? And give them age-appropriate Bible study tools for finding answers in the Bible. (Psalm 119:15; Romans 12:2; Hebrews 5:14)
- Constantly point them to the enlightening and transforming truth of the Gospel. The Gospel is not meant as merely a “one time decision;” it is a daily, ongoing work in the heart. (John 14:6; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 2:1-10; 2 Thessalonians 2:13)
- Teach them that embracing biblical truth and wisdom leads to true, lasting joy. Point out these benefits as they are experienced so you may encourage your child’s confidence in God and His Word. (Psalm 19:7-11; Jeremiah 15:16)
- Consider incorporating a study on the book of Proverbs into your family devotions or your church’s curriculum
Need a family resource for younger children? Check out Get Wisdom! 23 Lessons for Children About Living for Jesus by Ruth Younts
Or consider these curriculum studies offered by Children Desiring God:
The Way of the Wise (for elementary ages)
Your Word is Truth (for youth/junior high)