By Marie Bowen, PPL Administrative Director
Every seven years Israel was to read the law to all the people, men, women, and “little ones.”
The reason for this?
...That they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God... —Deuteronomy 31:12-13.
Teaching Scripture to children is essential if we are to pass on our Christian faith. I don’t know if you share my experience of growing up in the church. My family’s life revolved around our little brown church. I can still close my eyes and see the flannelgraph figures moved by my mother’s hand as she told Bible stories that God used to establish my faith. I believe in miracles because I heard missionaries tell their experiences of God’s power, provision, care, and rescue. I was not without questions about the reality of all I learned when I encountered other worldviews in college, but God’s truth planted in the heart of a child is not easily uprooted.
At the end of his life, Moses knew the law and the covenant between Israel and God was meant not just for the existing generation but for all those to come. He realized the danger posed by the failure to pass on the law to the next generation. So with God’s guidance, he established a minimum requirement to read the law to the whole assembly every seven years. That meant each child would hear it at least two or three times before establishing his/her own household.
Teaching children to value human life is also essential
The Questions of the Shorter Catechism are a wonderful tool for establishing in our children the truths of their own value and identity, the knowledge of who God is, and how he relates to each of us. On human life, two questions sum up the dignity of human life and why taking human life is wrong:
Q. 1. Who made you?
Q. 19. Have you a soul as well as a body?
A. Yes, I have a soul that can never die.
Catechism for Young Children