As God ministered to me about teaching and writing, I asked Him to show me the age span where children began to leave the “milk” of God’s word and begin eating the solid food and/or meat of God’s word. I believed God wanted me to write Bible curriculum for children. Therefore, I wanted to know the age when children should leave the simple Old Testament Stories behind and move forward to learning about Jesus, the Holy Bible, and other topics related to living Godly lives.
This particular year I was teaching a class of students in fourth through sixth grade. It seemed that several of the fourth graders were having a difficult time adjusting to the change from “milk to meat”, from all fun and games to learning how to use their Bibles, learning the meat of God’s word, and being serious and reverent towards God, His people in authority, and His kingdom.
I believe this adjustment needs to take place by third grade, or at the latest fourth grade because, in only a few years down the road, the children in our classes will be approached by the world and tempted with opportunities to get mixed up in alcohol, drugs, illicit sexual relationships, and a wide range of destructive, sinful behavior and devices. Our children need to know these things can bring destruction to their lives.
As our children grow and mature in Christ, they need to be taught how to look up verses in scripture, how God’s spiritual armor works, how to participate in spiritual warfare, and how to make good choices. Without this training, our children will not be prepared to make the choices or fight the spiritual battles that come their way.
I know God watches out for His people and He takes care of them. Yet God does admonish us to “train them up in the ways of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 6:5-9 tells us, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shall teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when though risest up. And thou shall bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
God entrusts His children with us. He expects us to care for them and to feed them, and teach them how to do these things for themselves. How can our children grow up equipped with the tools and strength needed from God’s word if we don’t teach them? How will they be able to make good choices? How will they be able to confront and deal with the battles of everyday life if we don’t take God’s word seriously and take time to teach them?