• I know I’m special because Jesus loves me (John 3:16).
• Jesus is happy when I obey my parents and play well with others (Ephesians 6:1).
• When I am kind to others, I am following Jesus’ example (Matthew 7:12).
• I must be an example to others as Jesus is my example (1 Corinthians 11:1).
• My sins caused Jesus to die (Romans 5:6-8).
• Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, so I should be willing to sacrifice for others (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
• Jesus spent his life teaching others the way of salvation. I must be willing to do the same (Mark 16:15-16).
Children begin learning at birth. They immediately begin accumulating information. This data comes from all five senses. As the child grows, the acquired facts are related to each other in a way that becomes meaningful. For example, a baby hears the sounds of words everyday. Soon, the words come to have meaning. The child will respond to his name being called. Eventually, the baby begins to say the words himself to get a response (asking for a drink). The words that are used around the child become part of his vocabulary.
Many parents do not feel the need to bring their children to Bible class. Some believe that newborns and very young children will get nothing out of the class. This, however, is not true. All children, even newborn babies, can greatly benefit from attending Bible class. Consider, for a moment, the lines above.
I know I’m special because Jesus loves me.
One song most every child can sing is “Jesus Loves Me.” In the beginning, young children may not understand the full meaning of the words. As they grow, the words will begin to have a strong meaning for them. Everyone needs to feel they are special, that they are loved. This is a good beginning. Knowing that Jesus loves me can be some very powerful words through the tough growing years to come. If the child is taught this concept early, it will remain with him even through the difficult times.
Jesus is happy when I obey my parents and play well with others.
Toddlers can learn the difference between happy and sad. They know when they do something that does not make Mommy or Daddy happy. Young children learn to play nicely with others. When children can relate these concepts to what they know, real people, it makes sense to apply this knowledge to Jesus. Let children know that they can please Jesus. Name things that make parents happy and tell them these things also make Jesus happy. Use these ideas to begin teaching obedience to God at an early age. Consider the examples set my Hannah (1 Samuel 1) and Timothy’s mother and grandmother (2 Tim 1:5).
When I am kind to others, I am following Jesus’ example. I must be an example to others as Jesus is my example.
As children grow, they can comprehend increasingly difficult topics. Show from the scriptures how Jesus treated others. Let students know that Jesus is our example and we should follow him. List ways that students can be kind to others. The age of the child will determine the type of things he can do.
My sins caused Jesus to die. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, so I should be willing to sacrifice for others.
Discuss sin in terms the children can understand. (Sin is breaking the rules.) Talk about sacrifice in general and the sacrifice Jesus made. (Sacrifice is giving up something you want or need so someone else can have something they want or need. Jesus gave up heaven so man could have eternal life and forgiveness from sins.) Children need to know that there are things they must do to please God and some of these things may not be pleasant. They should also be taught responsibility and consequences for their actions.
Jesus spent his life teaching others the way of salvation. I must be willing to do the same.
As children grow, their understanding of their responsibility to God grows as well. Bible students should be taught God’s plan for their life. Help them to keep in mind that Jesus is the best example we have. He spent his whole life preparing the world for his kingdom. This should be important enough to us that we do the same.
The different statements discussed here are but a few of the basic concepts that can be easily taught to children. An infant cannot be expected to immediately understand the meat of God’s word. Children must start with the basics. If they are not taught at a young age about Christ, when they are older they will have no foundation to build on for the meat (Hebrews 5:12-14). Start teaching children from birth about the love Jesus has for them. As they grow, include simple ideas on how to please God. Gradually increase their knowledge of God’s will for man. When the children are older, begin teaching them about the awesome sacrifice Christ made and our necessary response to that sacrifice. Children are never too young to learn about Christ. In fact, the sooner they are taught, the better their foundation will be. God instructed the Israelites on how to teach their children in preparing for the coming of the savior (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). Can it be any less important to instruct them about the savior now that he has died for us?