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Ten Essential Gospel Truths to Teach Children

In our desire to lead children to faith in Christ, parents and teachers can feel overwhelmed by all they want and need to teach children. Have you ever wondered what’s most important to teach children about the Gospel? Following are 10 essentials:

1. God is the sovereign Creator of all things.

Scripture: Psalm 19:1, Psalm 22:28; Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 44:24

Implication: God made you. You belong to God. God is your ruler.

2. God created people for His glory.

Scripture: Psalm 29:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; 1 Corinthians 10:31

Implication: God created you to know, trust, and love Him most of all.

3. God is holy and righteous.

Scripture: Leviticus 19:2, 37; Deuteronomy 32:4; Romans 7:12

Implication: God is holy and righteous. God’s commands are holy and righteous. You must obey God’s commands all the time.

4. Man is sinful.

Scripture: Romans 3:10-18, 20, 23

Implication: You have disobeyed God’s commands. You are a sinner.

5. God is just and is right to punish sin.

Scripture: Isaiah 59:2; Romans 1:18; Romans 6:23a

Implication: You deserve God’s punishment of death and hell. You are helpless to save yourself.

6. God is merciful. He is kind to undeserving sinners.

Scripture: Psalm 145:8; Ephesians 2:8-9

implication: You must depend on God’s mercy in order to be saved.

7. Jesus is God’s holy and righteous Son.

Scripture: John 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:15

implication: Jesus came into the world to save you.

8. God put the punishment of sinners on Jesus, so that His righteousness might be put on them.

Scripture: Isaiah 53:5; Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24

Implication: Jesus died on the cross to be punished in your place.

9. God offers the free gift of salvation to those who repent and believe in Jesus.

Scripture: Mark 1:15; John 3:16-17; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8-9

Implication: God tells you to believe in Jesus and repent of your sins and you will be saved.

10. Those who trust in Jesus will live to please Him and will receive the promise of eternal life— enjoying God forever in heaven.

Scripture: Luke 9:23; John 11:25; 1 John 2:15; Psalm 16:11

Implication: If you are trusting in Jesus for your salvation, you must follow Him. Jesus has promised that when you die He will bring you to heaven to live with and enjoy God forever.

These essential truths are excerpted from the booklet Helping Children to Understand the Gospel which includes a fuller explanation of these essential truths and child-appropriate teaching of them. In addition this resource helps parents discern stages of spiritual growth and prepare the hearts of their children to hear the Gospel.

Much More Than a Story

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These days it has become very commonplace to describe the Bible as a “story.” God’s own story. One great interconnected story from beginning to end. An absolutely true story. The story of how God sent His Son into the world to rescue sinners like us. The Gospel story. The most important story ever told…All these statements are true. So yes, let’s be diligent to teach children the story of the Bible. But let’s also be very intentional to teach our children that…

The Bible is much more than a story—it is God’s authoritative Word.

Why is this distinction important? Here are a few reasons:

  • The Bible describes itself in terms that go beyond its story-like nature. For example:

Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. (Psalm 119:89 ESV)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV)

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)

You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. (Psalm 119:4 ESV)

  •  Children will encounter thousands of stories in their lifetime. To simply describe the Bible as a story (albeit the most important story) does not give the Bible the respect and diligence due God’s holy Word. The Bible must “stand apart” in our minds and hearts, not only as a unique story, but also as the authoritative Word of the Living God. There are many stories, but there is no other authoritative Word of God.
  • Recognizing the Bible as God’s authoritative Word makes a proper response to it more imperative. Good stories tend to draw children in by appealing to their emotions and feelings. The story of the Bible—especially the Gospel—serves to do this, too. But the power of the Word goes beyond appealing to our emotions. For example, the Bible does not simply ask, “Do you love Jesus? Would you like to follow Him?” Rather, it communicates an authoritative life and death command from our sovereign Creator to “Repent and believe the Gospel.”
  • The true, authoritative Word of God declares the unchanging character of God, His wisdom and commands to help us live fulfilling and victorious lives, and the reality of man’s feelings poured out to God in the Psalms as man struggles to trust God. Though these truths can be seen in the stories of the Bible, they are somewhat opaque and left to our discerning. But set in the declarative statements of the Word, they are clear, sure, convicting, and powerful.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is a beautiful, seamless, grand story. But it is also much more than a story. It is the authoritative Word of God—absolute, objective, universal, and unchanging truth. So, as parents and teachers, let’s be careful to give our children the weight of the Word of God as God’s clear declaration of His character, His dealings with man, His work in the world and faithfulness to His people, His expectations of man, and His sure promises.

(Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)