Have you ever attended a kindergarten program? If so, you were probably amazed that such little children could learn and recall so much.
Children understand and can learn a lot more than we think they can.
So why downgrade the education in Sunday school and other settings? Obviously children won’t understand everything an adult would; they need a foundation before tackling more difficult concepts. But does that mean we should avoid unfamiliar words or soften definitions? Does that make our teaching easier to understand, or does it simply give a false concept of truth?
One example of a mature word that can enrich a child’s vocabulary is abide. Christ commands in John 15:4, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” Here the word abide has a definite meaning, and it is the word used in most English translations.
If a child is taught some other, less specific word here, what will he do when he comes across this word in the Bible later? It is much better to use the biblical language and explain what it means. That way, we develop students’ understanding of biblical language in general and prepare them to pick up on connected thoughts in Scripture later.
Use whatever reputable translation of Scripture your church prefers so children will recognize the phrases and vocabulary they hear from the pulpit. Then don’t be afraid to give children the tools they will use the rest of their lives to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).