Guest Author - Preena Deepak
One of the most important responsibilities for Christian parents is to introduce the Bible and its teachings to their children. The earlier Bible lessons are introduced, the better for young minds that can easily get carried away by the fancy thoughts of the world.
Since young children are not capable of understanding Bible portions, parents often use picture Bibles and books to help teach Bible stories. This is a good start and the pictures help children understand Bible stories much better. However relying on these resources alone is not advisable.
First of all, certain images in picture Bibles generate a wrong idea about the person, event being described. Since pictures get registered in the mind and are not forgotten easily, such wrong depictions could create a faulty understanding of facts.
An example for this can be seen in the story of Joseph, especially when he meets his younger brother Benjamin. Most illustrators depict Benjamin as a youth whereas in reality, Benjamin was at that time the father of ten sons and certainly not a ruddy lad. (Genesis 46:21)
Secondly picture Bibles do not present the Bible in its entirety. This is because young children cannot comprehend all Bible content and some portions are not age appropriate as well. Though there is a legitimate reason for picking out portions that can be presented, this nevertheless creates a void in understanding. Growing up children may find it hard to accept that much more happened between the stories they are so used to listening to.
What can parents and caregivers do to ensure that they present Bible facts without affecting the further understanding of young children?
Parents must always make sure to read through any content before exposing it to their children. Reading the Bible passage that corresponds to a story from a regular Bible and then introducing the story through pictures can help parents identify errors or gaps if any and fill in wherever appropriate. Switching over from picture Bibles to regular ones as soon as the child is old enough is another essential. Parents could also use other resources besides picture Bibles like songs, CDs and Sunday school to introduce the bible to their children. More than all of this, every parent needs to get on his/her knees for their child, as only God can train and instruct young minds about Himself.