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How Young Is Too Young to Teach Your Children Doctrine?

II Timothy 3:15  “And that from a child though hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation…”

After a heavy rainstorm filled all the potholes in the streets & alleys, a young mother watched her two little boys playing in the puddles through her kitchen window. The older of the two, a 5-year-old, grabbed his brother by the back of his head and shoved his face into one of the waterholes. As the boy recovered and stood, laughing and dripping, the mother ran toward them in a panic.

“Why on earth did you do that to your little brother?” she said, as she took the older boy by the shoulder.

“We were just playing church mommy,” he said. “And I was baptizing him. … You know, ‘In the name of the Father, the Son and in the hole he goes.’”

When trying to teach young children biblical truths, sometimes they don’t always get it the same way we think that we’ve taught it.

One night in our family devotions, we were teaching our children about the doctrine of the Trinity. We explained that God is three persons, but one God—God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The next night as we began to review, I asked for one of the kids to name who the three persons of God are. Our 4-year-old son excitedly raised his hand and blurted out, “God the Dad, God the Kid and God the Holy Guy!”

We had a hard time not laughing, but were thankful that even at his young age, he was beginning to grasp Bible doctrine in a way that even he could understand.

Question: Is a child ever too young to begin learning Bible doctrine? I think we’d do well to let the Bible answer that question…

Deuteronomy 6:6  “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children…”

Proverbs 22:6  “Train up a child in the way he should go…”

Mark 10:14  “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not…”

Ephesians 6:4  “Bring them (your children) up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

II Timothy 3:15  “And that from a child though hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation…”

God never makes an age distinction when he tells parents to start teaching and training their children, but rather implies that once you have them, regardless of how young or old they may be, it is your responsibility to nurture them spiritually both in doctrine and practical, biblical living.

I firmly believe that the younger we begin teaching the children, the greater potential we have of reaching them for the rest of their life. This includes teaching them some of the great doctrines of the faith.

You and I both know that the world is actively trying to pursue our kids with their philosophies, brands and messages from the time they are toddlers. Because they have tapped into this timeless principle, that “the early bird gets the worm.” They know that if they can influence a child’s thinking and decision making from the start, they can potentially influence them for life with brand loyalty and a lifetime of profits.

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Andrew is a husband, the father of four awesome kids, and a children's pastor at a thriving church. He is passionate about intentional parenting and helping other parents and leaders effectively reach the next generation. He blogs about kids and family at https://godlyparent.com/, and provides proven resources for VBS and children's ministry at KidzBlast.com.