I think that one of the most important things in teaching kids the Bible is to be accurate to the Bible writers’ intentions. Although men first wrote the words on stone or papyrus, the ultimate writer of Scripture was God. Boy, we really don’t want to mess His words up! We really want to do our best to relay His message, accurately, to the best of our ability.
Know Scripture and Context
This could mean that we have to be a bit more mindful about a few things. We certainly need to know Scripture well. We need to know the heart of God through His words. So proper preparation and overall biblical knowledge is really important. We also need to understand the context of the passage by reading the surrounding text. History and setting are both really important to clearly know the intention of the writer.
So when we teach kids, we need to present Scripture, as it is written, without changing its content or intent of what the author was trying to convey. But even if we don’t alter its content, there are ways we can actually alter the message without changing it at all.
Don’t Teach What You Want it to Say!
Sometimes we might decide what we want Scripture to say. We might have preconceived ideas of what it means based on our own thoughts or we may want Scripture to line up with our culture. Both of these are dangerous as we can change Scripture by reinterpreting it. Don’t do it!
Don’t Change the Emphasis
If we change the emphasis, we can project a completely different message than the written Word intended. Several years ago, I was at an extended family gathering and someone brought the game, Mad Gabs. I hadn’t seen it before, and it was a lot of fun. Maybe you have played it. You have to read the words on the card and figure out the answer to a clue by changing the emphasis of the words. If you changed the emphasis, it said something completely different than what was written on the card. We laughed at all of them but one was especially funny! I think the clue had something to do with seconds. The words were:
“Six Steamy Knits.”
I will let you think about it for awhile so you can have some fun with it, and give you the answer at the end of this blog.
What a difference it made when the emphasis was place on a different syllable and the punctuation was changed. It meant something completely different.
We have probably all changed emphasis to change perspective, (I am sorry to say.) It is sometimes difficult to face our imperfections (sins). I am sure somebody reading this may identify with this experience or something similar. After showing up late to an event, have you ever said something like this? “I am so sorry I am late! The traffic was so bad!” While this is very true, it is just more convenient to leave out the fact that you left late and wouldn’t have made it on time anyway. You didn’t say anything untruthful, yet, you have altered the perception of what really happened. This is so easy to do. (I know this because this example came to my mind because I have done it. I was convicted at one point and I have been conscious to be entirely truthful these days.)
We want to be very careful to teach Scripture in such away that we don’t alter its meaning by over or under emphasizing any part so the intention is changed. You can be more accurate if you know Scripture well, Know the context, prepare well, and be sure to teach what it says and not what you might want it to say.
And the answer to the game was: Sixty Minutes.