Plant The Word Of God In The Heart Of Your Child
By John Matthews
The easiest thing I have ever had to do was to just believe the Bible. But how does it come about that what is easy to me is hard to many? I cannot tell wholly, but this I know – that I believe the Bible because of early teaching and training. The earliest recollection I have of my father, who died before I was quite eight years of age, was of him reading the Bible and praying at eventide. I can see yet that old Bible and almost hear his voice as he read from God’s Word.
Those readings put me, as a child, under conviction. Do not tell me that children may not hear the Word of God and get under tremendous conviction if godly parents are true to their profession and will maintain their family altars.
Unconsciously, those Bible readings, combined with some Sunday school teaching, laid a foundation of belief in my child heart that the Bible was true and could be trusted. No subsequent study, experience in life, question of infidel or criticism of theological professors has ever been able to shake this belief. I should be as much surprised to see the sun rise in the West and go down in the East, as to find a miracle untrue or a promise false!
If we are to get our children to believe the Bible, we must believe it ourselves. Then, we must let them hear it read from our lips, and must pray it into their minds and little tender hearts. The greatest thing my father left me, though there was some money, was the memory of worship at the family altar. He read and prayed the Word of God into my mind until I could no more doubt the Bible than I could doubt my own personality.
A man or woman who neglects to read this Word in the ears of the boys and girls, is letting slip the greatest privilege accorded to us, that of putting an indestructible faith in the Word of God in the mind of the child.
Promises Walking Around
No teacher or preacher can have the authority with the boy and girl as to the power of the Bible as the parents have. Read it to them, and then explain what it means by living it seven days in the week. Let them see the promises walking around home, and the prophecies fulfilled in your life. The child, who hears his or her father read the Bible and listens to his or her mother’s prayers, will believe in religion, God and the Bible in spite of the scorn of the scoffers and the carping of the critics.
Adapted to the Child
The Bible is adapted to the child. There are but very, very few chapters in this volume that a child may not hear with profit. The principles and the pictures, the parables and the precepts are so formed and stated that boys and girls can grasp the truth often beyond their elders. God prepared the Bible for children. Therefore, read it to them.
Some things they may not wholly understand, but, in later years these precepts and promises will blossom and bud and fruit and flower in moral convictions and in spiritual capacity. Then the Holy Ghost will have some foundation to work on when the question of sin, faith, and salvation is brought to bear on the child’s soul.