Earlier this week I shared ten of my favorite Bible resources for kids. Each of those resources serve the purpose of introducing kids to the Bible. My list included story Bibles, “big picture” Bible books, Bibles aimed at children, family devotionals, and a Bible study resource.
Introducing children to the Bible is only part of telling the next generation of the glory of the Lord (Ps. 78). It’s also important to introduce children to Christian theology. I’m actually convinced that teaching children a biblically and historically rooted theological framework is more effective than teaching Bible content and stories.
We don’t just want to introduce our children to an ancient book. We want to introduce our children to the eternal God who inspired the book. We want to introduce our children to the specific elements and implications of the Christian faith. We want them to learn and know words like gospel, salvation, grace, faith, justification, sanctification, holiness, and obedience. We want our kids to know God, so we need an organized framework or system that clearly explains who God has revealed himself to be.
The psalmist exhorted the Israelites to tell their children of the wondrous deeds of the Lord. We do this by reading the Bible and teaching them the deep things of God.
I can think of few more daunting tasks than attempting to explain big truths to young minds. Explaining the Trinity or the relationship between justification and sanctification are frightening prospects. But we know how crucial and immediately practical it is to teach our kids they and everyone else in the world are made in the image of God.
As parents, we feel the equally heavy weights of importance and difficulty in teaching Christian theology to our kids. We recognize our need for help. Thankfully, there are many resources available to do just that.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of ten of my favorite theology resources for kids. The books are listed in no particular order. Most of them are best suited for children ages 6-12, though children younger and older can benefit from them.
- The Ology: Ancient Truths, Ever New | Marty Machowski
- Machowski takes on a massive task in writing what amounts to a systematic theology for kids. It is creative, fun, accessible, simple, and rich with deep truth.
- God’s Very Good Idea: A True Story of God’s Delightfully Different Family | Trillia Newbell
- I’m so thankful for Trillia Newbell has extended her voice and ministry to children and families. Her new book should be required reading for all children’s ministries and all Christian families. She teaches idea of imago Dei and the beautiful diversity that God has created in the world and church. Click the link and buy two copies. One for your family and one for another family!
- The New City Catechism: 52 Questions and Answers for Our Hearts and Minds
- I love catechesis and catechisms. I’ve even developed a catechism myself. I think they are sadly missing in many churches and families. It has become a lost tradition in the church. I’m praying a widespread return to catechesis is imminent with the publication of The New City Catechism. This book is perfect for morning, evening, or bedtime devotions.
- The New City Catechism Devotional: God’s Truth for Our Hearts and Minds | edited by Collin Hansen
- This devotional pairs wonderfully with The New City Catechism.
- The Radical Book for Kids: Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith | Champ Thornton
- Champ Thornton’s book will easily become your child’s favorite book. It’s exciting, interesting, and thought-provoking. It covers a plethora of topics related to the Bible, history, worldview, and theology. Truly, your kids will love this book!
- The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross | Carl Laferton
- Last Easter, I used this book with the preschoolers and elementary aged children at my church. It shows the historical and theological significance of the cross through story. The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross is a biblical theology of sorts. It shows how what was lost in the Fall was restored in the cross. Grab a copy to teach the gospel story in a simple, straightforward way.
- Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing | Sally Lloyd-Jones
- Sally Lloyd-Jones is an amazing story-teller. This book will help your kids stand in awe of the majesty of God.
- God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies | Justin & Lindsey Holcomb
- This is one of those books I wish we didn’t need, but so glad we have. I don’t have to advocate for the importance of teaching our children how to protect their bodies, but I know those conversations can be paralyzing. This book is an easy conversation starter that I pray helps protect many children from abuse.
- Everything a Child Should Know About God | Kenneth Taylor
- This is another book that teaches big truths to young minds in a simple, yet significant way. It walks through much of Christian theology in a child-friendly manner. It’s a great tool that can easily be plugged into times of family worship.
- The Pilgrim’s Progress | John Bunyan
- My list wouldn’t be complete without one of the most read books in history. The Pilgrim’s Progress is an amazing story that vividly teaches readers about the Christian faith and life. I look forward with joy to the day I can read this great book to my boys. If your kids are learning to read, I can’t think of a better bedtime story to begin.
What would you add?
Mathew Gilbert is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew and his wife, Erica, live in Tupelo with their two boys, Jude and Jack.