5 Ways To Teach Your Kids Hermeneutics

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5 Ways To Teach Your Kids Hermeneutics

By Shela Ervin
The topic of this article is teaching our kids a healthy hermeneutic when it comes to reading the Bible. Hermeneutics for kids?! Isn’t that a bit overeager and potentially above our young children’s heads?
Well, when it comes to reading the Bible and our lifelong journeys knowing God through its pages, I am convinced that we cannot begin early enough to equip our kids with the right approach to reading the Word. This conviction comes not only because I desire the best for our kids, but because as an adult believer, I have noticed a lack of hermeneutical understanding in many fellow adults. And I’m no exception! I walked with the Lord for many years before someone corrected and refined the way I approached and interpreted the Bible.

What is hermeneutics? Why is it important in the life of a Christian?

We might simply define hermeneutics as the method we use to interpret and understand the Bible. It is a matter of great importance because the meaning we take from the Bible will determine our beliefs, our confidences, and the actions we take as we walk with the Lord.
While this topic can generate high and lofty discussions in graduate level classrooms about methods of biblical interpretation, we can also be confident that the basics will set us up to grasp God’s Word well.
I’m convinced that one of the greatest gifts parents can give their children is a solid relationship with God’s Word. Even after they leave our nests, the Word of God will be their anchor and guide.
Consider these few (of many) ways to teach our children a healthy hermeneutic:

Remember the writer.

It’s easy to read a passage from the Bible and draw out creative ideas for what it might mean. But we need to remember the author! A specific writer wrote the story, letter, poem, or prophecy and wanted a specific group of people to read it.
We should introduce our children to the genre of each book as we read and lead them to think about the author and his intention for writing that book. This is called authorial intent. Whatever the author intended for his audience to understand from the book is the same message that we should take away.

Look and listen for patterns.

Though the Bible is deep and full of information, we should not underestimate kids’ ability to recall details. As you read through the Old Testament narratives, poetry, and sometimes tricky prophecies, ask your kids if the event, phrase, or idea reminds them of anything else they’ve heard so far from God’s Word.
Developing this muscle for recognizing patterns (typology) will set them up to recognize the types of Christ foreshadowed all over the Old Testament, which all point us to the revealing of Jesus as our Savior!

Remember God’s promises.

The Bible is one great and glorious story, whose subject is God and whose wisdom is on full display from Genesis to Revelation. As you begin in Genesis and read the family story of Israel, prompt your kids to notice and remember the different promises God makes to his people. How does he ultimately keep them in the end?
God’s story begins and then builds with many promises, or covenants. He ends up showing off his wonderful character by fulfilling each of his promises in the coming of Christ. This is the story worth impressing upon our kids as they grow up in our homes.

Notice the problems and look for the hero.

If the story of the people in the Bible is like any of our personal stories, they are full of trouble and difficulty. Ask your kids to pay attention and notice what the problem is in each of the stories and passages they read in the Word. More often than not, the problem is sin.
From the Genesis 3 account of the Fall of man to the end of Revelation, the Bible is shouting aloud that people of the world need a hero. As you notice the problem of sin in every book of the Bible, practice gearing up to notice how Jesus Christ is the solution to our greatest problem.

Remember the Divine author.

It should never be lost on us that the Bible is an incredible living book whose ultimate author is God himself! Our kids may not realize this until we point the way and model the wonder we should have.
As the whole family sees patterns, remembers the promises, notices the problem, and looks to the solution, Jesus, don’t forget to look up together to see the Divine writer who planned and produced this wonderful book for us to know him.
Shela is a happy helpmate to her husband in gospel ministry, mom to two young ones, and creates goods & resources with hopes to strengthen Kingdom families into Christ until he comes.

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