Parenting of the LORD is not an easy task. I am human, so are my children, so we have issues.
Since I am a Christian parent, it’s my desire to parent according to Biblical principles. That requires knowing the Bible.
I’ve seen a product being shared and hyped on some blogs and places I visit and, honestly, it makes me sad. Sad because, though I understand the basic concept, I think this product perpetuates an image and idea of the Christian life that is not the heart of the faith. I believe it encourages a law based mentality. I fear it undermines what should be the focus of the Christian parent: sharing and rejoicing in the Gospel.
The product is The Child Training Bible.
The Child Training Bible site (photo credit to them) says this about their product:
This Bible is designed for parents and children to seek answers from God’s Word on common sinful problems. Topics include: disobedience, selfishness, anger, complaining and fear. The Child Training Bible makes it easy for parents to bring the truth of God’s Word into times of instruction. Simply use the key on the inside-front cover of the CTB to locate the sinful behavior and find the section and color flags to go to. Read the highlighted verses with your child and explain what God says about the behavior that needs to be addressed. With the CTB you can make the most of your time with your children by using Scripture to instruct them in righteousness.
I completely agree that the Bible is God’s Word and that it holds the wisdom God desires to share with us- about Him and his ways and the ways he wants to be glorified. It’s just that I believe it’s much, much more than a tool for behavior training and I think this product cultivates the idea that the Bible is primarily that.
Yes, I believe Scripture is “God breathed and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness”, but we shouldn’t be thumping our children with the Bible and I think that’s what this tool does.
God’s beautiful, wonderful Word is not about “how to behave”, it’s about Him. Knowing Him. Loving Him. Glorifying Him.
If we treat the Bible like a reference for behavior training, then I believe we give our kids the wrong impression. If every time they sin, we go to the Bible and flip to a color coded section, then all they see is behavior training. I believe that a child raised with this will think of these color coded “lessons” with Mom for their whole lives and most likely believe the Bible is “a book of rules”, one of the primary beliefs of non-Christians.
I’ve shared before how God has broken my heart and broken through to my mind about how focusing on law leads to a life less loving. I believe, though probably well intentioned, this product is not a good idea.
Does that mean we don’t teach how God desires us to live? Of course not, that would not be grace or godly. We should teach our children how to glorify God in their behavior.
A reference book is a good thing. The Bible is much, much more than that.
A training device is a good thing. The Bible is much, much more than that.
A quick learning tool is a good thing. The Bible is much, much more than that.
Yes! We have to teach our children God’s Word in a real, living way, but I believe this tool makes God’s Living and Breathing Word something that it isn’t: a rule book. Instead, we should be reading books of the Bible together, sharing what we read in God’s Word personally, and encouraging them to see God’s Word as a beautiful, historical, loving record of His Plan.
If we are going to take them to color coded sections, let them be on his love, his grace, his mercy, his righteousness, his Son, his resurrection, his promises, his help…
Do we want our kids growing up thinking of the Bible as a behavior teaching tool or do we want them growing up thinking of the Bible as the beautiful, amazing story of God’s grace and mercy shown to his people all through history?
I know which one I want.
And that’s why I’m sad the Child Training Bible is getting so many people excited.