Recently, a parent surprised me with her criticism of our children’s Sunday School curriculum. I was caught off-guard, not because I haven’t received other critiques (I certainly have), but because of the nature of her concern. Her problem was that her children already know all the answers to all the stories that are taught in Sunday School. They know the answers presumably because they are being taught the Bible at home and they are in a Christian school that has a Bible class. So while the typical complaint of our One Story Ministries curriculum is that it doesn’t have enough repetition, she feels like her children are receiving too much.
Now, I could sympathize with this parent if our Sunday School curriculum only covered the 40-50 “major” stories of Scripture over and over again, like virtually all other children’s materials. But what sets our curriculum apart is that it teaches ALL the stories of Scripture over a seven-year span in chronological order with no repeated stories (other than our Drill Time questions). So is this parent saying that her children know ALL the answers to ALL the stories of Scripture? If this is true, that should be a great testimonial for One Story Ministries rather than a complaint!
Upon further reflection, I started thinking about my own upbringing and Christian education. Like this particular family, I too was blessed with Christian parents, a strong Bible education in a Christian school, and a solid Sunday School to boot. When I was in junior high, I also came to believe that I knew all the stories of Scripture and all the answers to the important questions. I even remember a time where I told my parents I didn’t need to come to church every week because I knew what the preacher was going to say! Yes, I know you are shocked by my arrogance and pride. Believe me, so am I.
I’m not suggesting that any of these children in question are saying they know all the answers simply out of pride. They may be particularly intelligent kids with incredible memories. Whatever the case, there is a much bigger question here: What do we do with all that Bible knowledge? If we have children in our churches who know all the stories, and all the answers, what are they to do? The simple answer: Live out those answers! Do them!
Knowledge of the Bible must never be the end goal of the Christian education of our children. Learning God’s Word is just the first step in a lifelong process. Even if our children could recite the Bible forwards and backwards, that’s not good enough. From that knowledge must grow a love for God and His Word. By the work of the Spirit, there must be a hunger and thirst to know more about God and what He requires of us. Accordingly, we need to see our children begin to live out God’s Word. The answers they can recite to Sunday School teachers or parents must be coupled with a change of heart, mind, and behavior. Knowledge is to grow and mature into a Godly wisdom, by the gracious work of God.
So, if your children have truly learned ALL of God’s Word and know the answers to ALL of the questions, be thankful for this great gift in their lives. Hopefully, they are not just bored with learning the Bible! See if they are DOING what they KNOW. As we read in James 1:22-24,
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
What a beautiful thing it is when our well-taught children become doers of the Word of God–LEARNING it, LOVING it, and LIVING it!