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Parents: Teach Your Kids Theology, Not Just Bible Stories


“The little minds, hearts, and souls of your kids, and the bigger minds, hearts, and souls of your teenage children, need more than stories to sustain and grow their faith. They need the Word of God — and the doctrine and theology contained therein.”


Parenting is no small task (to put it mildly). Striving to raise your children in the fear and knowledge of the Lord is harder still.

Many Christian parents are faithful to provide for, love, teach, and play with their kids. But when it comes to teaching the Bible or, further still, theology, many times they don’t know where to start.

The default, then, can be to rely on faithful Bible “stories.” You know the ones, the tried-and-true accounts of Adam and Eve in the Garden, Father Abraham having many sons, Moses leading the Israelites through the Red Sea, David and Goliath…and then we skip all the way to Jesus feeding the 5,000 with two fish and five loaves of bread before getting to the cross, the resurrection, and the Great Commission.

While recounting these true and historical events to your children in their story form is certainly better than nothing, and far better than just plopping your kids in front of an iPad to watch Disney+, the little minds, hearts, and souls of your kids, and the bigger minds, hearts, and souls of your teenage children, need more than stories to sustain and grow their faith. They need the Word of God — and the doctrine and theology contained therein.

The author of Hebrews reminds us of the importance of “graduating” to a deeper, more doctrinally-sound comprehension of the Christian faith, writing:

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

–Hebrews 5:12-14

Echoing this sound and scriptural admonition, Baptist preacher Shane Pruitt recently tweeted out an important point about how children have the capacity to learn about more complex topics than we may give them credit for — especially when it comes to the Bible, theology, and doctrines of the faith. He said:

“If students can handle learning about algebra, chemistry, geography, literature, & history…They can handle learning about sin, Christology, justification, repentance, faith, sanctification, & the Great Commission. Don’t dumb it down, disciple them up! They can handle it!”

So how can Christian parents “disciple up” their children? Here are three suggestions for how parents can start teaching their kids theology.

1. Use a Children’s Catechism

A children’s catechism is a wonderfully accessible tool to start helping your children understand the propositional truths of the Christian faith. For example, The Kid’s Catechism: An Introduction to the Shorter (Westminster) Catechism starts out like this:

Q. 1. Who made you?

A. God.

Q. 2. What else did God make?

A. God made all things.

You can use a tool like a kid’s catechism during breakfast or dinner, tackling five to ten questions a day. By the end of a few months, even your three-to-five-year-olds will have a solid theological base on the topics of creation, man, sin, and salvation upon which you can build further.

2. Study a Book of the Bible Together and Use a Commentary

As your children get older, you can move from storybook Bibles and kid’s catechisms to studying whole books of the Bible together, directly from the pages of Scripture.

Set aside time each week to begin working through a book of the Bible together; perhaps you could start with the gospel of Mark. And to add even more theological richness to the study, I would suggest grabbing an accessible theological commentary to read alongside the passages. Pastor John MacArthur has written many verse-by-verse commentaries, such as his Mark 1-8: MacArthur New Testament Commentary.

As you study the life of Christ in the gospels or any other book of the Bible, you can slowly draw out the profound theology within the verses. This will not only teach your children sound doctrine, but it will teach them how to read and study the Bible for themselves.

3. Read Popular-Level but Proven Theology Books Together

Finally, when you feel like your children are ready (and they are probably ready sooner than you think) you can start feeding them popular-level yet time-tested and proven theology books.

For example, you could give them Knowing God, by J.I. Packer, one of the best-selling books of theology over the last few decades. In a review at Desiring God, theologian Sam Storms noted that:

“Those who have not yet taken a deep dive into Knowing God should know that Packer never anticipated its effect on the Christian world. In the preface to the 1993 edition, he marvels that it had sold more than one million copies and had been translated into more than a dozen languages — and that was nearly thirty years ago.

So much more could be said about this classic of the Christian faith, and even then, I could hardly do it justice. So let me close with the words with which Packer himself concludes his book.

‘Thou hast said, ‘Seek ye my face.’ My heart says to thee, ‘Thy face, Lord, do I seek’” (Psalm 27:8 RSV). If this book moves any of its readers to identify more closely with the psalmist at this point, it will not have been written in vain.’”

Other helpful and accessible theological books include Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Desiring God by John Piper, and The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.


As Shane Pruitt encouraged parents, taking these steps will indeed help teach your children about “sin, Christology, justification, repentance, faith, sanctification, & the Great Commission.”

For if they can learn the periodic table of the elements, the quadratic formula, or American history, they can indeed learn theology and Christian doctrine.

And by doing so, they can better love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Follow William on Twitter! @William_E_Wolfe

Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.

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