What is the Bible?

The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me.
 I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.

Hands up if you know this song. I learned it as a child, and soon discovered that a great answer to the question “What is the Bible?” was simply to say “The Word of God.” As a child, I was content with that answer; as an adult, I’m still content with that answer, but realize much more can be said to explain this.

Children are naturally inquisitive. To encourage conversations about – and love for – the Word of God, start by simply reading the Bible together with them. Respond to their questions. Return the favour and ask them questions too! Here are three questions you may wish to use.

“What is the Bible?” A great place to start answering this question is to read 2 Timothy 3:15–17. Talk about Scripture being “God-breathed” and full of instruction and guidance for us. Talk about how God’s Word is truth and about how God loves humanity and wants a relationship with us. The Bible is one way God shows us who he is and what it means to know him. As we spend time reading the Bible, we discover who God is, who Jesus is, who the Holy Spirit is, and what it means to live as a follower of Christ.

“Who wrote the Bible?” I like asking this question. The obvious answer is the 40-or-so humans who recorded Scripture (Moses, Paul, John, Isaiah, etc.). But a mysterious, hopeful, and vitally important part of the answer is “God.” I like to describe it as a “God-initiated God-human partnership.” Read 2 Peter 1:20–21 and discuss the idea of the Holy Spirit “carrying along” the prophets. Use the illustration of a sailboat in your discussion if that helps your child understand. Help children appreciate that the Bible really is authored by God.

“What do I do with the Bible?” Be prepared for honest answers! The goal with this question is to move beyond “reading” and “memorizing” (both good things!) to “believing” and “living.” When faced with a decision on what to do, discuss with your children what the Bible says about the issue. To take this to a deeper level, find ways of talking about the Holy Spirit’s role in guiding our lives.

God’s Word is full of living power (see Hebrews 4:12). Read it often with your children. Encourage discussion. And rely on God to help you answer the questions that come up!

Leonard Klassen is an associate pastor at King Road MB Church, Abbotsford, B.C. He and Bonnie get to answer a lot of questions from their two sons!

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