Many Christian parents face a paradox: How can some children hear the good news of the Bible and believe, while others hear the same message and remain unaffected? While the process of faith may be miraculous, it is not entirely mysterious. Jesus explained it in His parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23). Teaching received without understanding kills the yield. Faith with shallow roots withers and dies. Distractions, worries and desires for other things choke the Word. But one who hears the Word and understands it bears fruit.
How can we help our children receive the Word and bear fruit? Jesus’ parable inspires several practical planting tips.
Many parents and teachers attempt to impart faith primarily through the transfer of Bible facts. Those seeds will not likely take root unless kids truly understand the meaning of the facts. Sunday school worksheets often use fill-in-the-blanks and word puzzles to drill children on their factual knowledge. But unscrambling the word forgiveness in a puzzle is far less important than understanding the meaning of forgiveness.
Hearing is not enough. Reading is not enough. Memorizing is not enough — unless your goal is to produce a Bible “Jeopardy” champion. Concentrate your time on helping kids really understand God’s Word, its relevance today and how you apply it.