Ligonier Ministries has posted this really helpful article by Joel Beeke: “The Blessing of Catechizing Our Children.” For those unfamiliar with what is meant by catechism, and why it is an important tool in training children (and adults) in the Christian faith, Mr. Beeke states the following:
Creeds and catechisms are other valuable tools or methods by which we may communicate the truths of the Word of God to our children. These documents provide clear, concise definitions of basic doctrines and key words in easily memorized form so our children can hide them in their hearts. Bible references (“proof texts”) anchor these definitions in Scripture. The catechisms not only teach basic Christian doctrine, but also show us how to live according to God’s law and how to pray. When we catechize our children, they learn the basic truths of Christian faith and living, and we reinforce and deepen our own knowledge of them.
Our English word catechism is derived from the Greek word katecheo, meaning “to sound from above,” “to recount something,” or “to instruct someone.” For example, Acts 18:25 says that Apollos, the great preacher of the apostolic age, “was instructed in the way of the Lord.” Luke wrote his gospel, or “declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,” for the sake of “the most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed” (Luke 1:1–4). These verses indicate that Apollos and Theophilus had been catechized.
As time passed, basic Christian instruction, or “catechesis,” was cast in the form of questions and answers, and this form remains in use today. In carefully scripted dialogue between teacher and student, questions are posed and answers are given. The answer is provided not just to be memorized, but also to give the teacher opportunity to explain it. Scripture proofs help teacher and student trace the answers back to their sources in the Bible. Specific catechisms have been prepared to serve all age levels, from the youngest children up through all levels of development into adulthood.
Here are just a few resources you might want to take a look at to get you started:
- The Baptist Catechism Set to Music by Scott Orrick
- My First Book of Questions and Answers by Carine MacKenzie
- Big Truths for Little Kids: Teaching Your Children to Live for God by Susan and Richie Hunt
- The Big Book of Questions and Answers About Jesus: A Family Devotional Guide to the Christian Faith by Sinclair Ferguson
- Big Book of Questions & Answers: A Family Devotional Guide to the Christian Faith (Bible Teaching)
Upcoming Event: This is such an important method of teaching our kids about God that Sally Michael will be presenting a seminar on this at our upcoming conference. Click here for more information.
(Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)