The young 20-year old pastor looked intently at his large congregation and said, “I believe that the proper study of God’s elect is God! Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man as a devout earnest continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity.” And that study of God was to be the main foundation of the faithful ministry of that young pastor, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, during his many years of ministry to a congregation of over 5000 in Victorian London each Sunday.
In more modern times, the American pastor and author, Dr Tozer, has written, “A right conception of God is basic to practical Christian living. It is to worship what the foundation is to the temple.”
But, most important of all, God Himself says in his Word, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom; let not the mighty man glory in his might; nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this –that he understand and knows Me.” (Jeremiah 9:23,24)
The main purpose of the Bible, the Word of God, is to reveal God to us; and to help us understand what He is like and what He does; and on the basis of that understanding to get to know Him.
Believing this statement will have two results in the life and ministry of every teacher of children.
- As they study the Word of God in their Quiet Time they will ask themselves this most important question; “What does this passage teach me about God? What can I learn from it about Him?” The book of Jonah, for example, is not primarily about Jonah and his disobedience. It is primarily about God. Chapter one shows He is PERSISTENT (and does not give up on us easily); chapter two shows that He is always PRESENT (even in the belly of a great fish); chapter three shows He is POWERFUL (and can change the hearts of all in a great city); and chapter four shows He is PATIENT (with us as He was with Jonah).
- As they prepare their Bible lesson for the children the first question they should ask themselves is, “Is there a truth about God in this passage which I would like my children to understand?” –and that truth could be the central truth for your lesson. Many of today’s children have no concept of God and what He is like. If you are teaching the story of Joseph your main truth could be “God is WISE ;He has a plan for your life and is working to achieve it” If you are teaching the story of Noah your main truth could be “God is FAITHFUL; He looks after His children and always keeps His promises”
Teaching children truths about God gives our teaching real depth and provides a sound foundation for their lives. You might even want to do a series of Bible lessons with each one dealing, in systematic order, with one truth about God and what this truth should mean in the lives of both saved and unsaved children.
The more we (and the children) understand about God, and the more we get to know Him, the more we will be able to worship Him, and the more we will be able to deal with the problems we face in our lives and ministries. When a problem arises, our first and most important reaction must be to focus on Him and all that we have learned about Him. As we do so, He will give us the strength to handle the problem.
“Let him who glories glory in this—that he UNDERSTANDS and KNOWS Me (Jeremiah 9:24) “The people who KNOW their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits” (Daniel 11:32) “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3)
Lesson 1 – You need to take time to learn, from the Bible, what God is like. The truths you learn will help you in your Christian life. You should also teach these truths to your children.