The Instruments of Educating

I keep in mind flannelgraphs and the scent of Play-Doh—balled-up chunks that had been merged, divided, and merged once more. Many instances, they had been well-used, brownish, grayish, nondistinct blobs. For that motive, it was all the time thrilling to get a brand new plastic cup of Play-Doh. The facility of a definite coloration may overwhelm a little bit child.

We began off Sunday college with Play-Doh round a small desk and chairs. With every successive yr or grade promotion, we moved down the corridor to the subsequent classroom, to larger chairs, and to a taller desk. Every transfer would imply much less time with Play-Doh. Ultimately it disappeared.

The flannelgraphs had been their very own establishment. These had been colourful cutouts of robed people: kings, shepherds, an occasional angel, bearded males with arms frozen in numerous gestures. There have been animals like lions, birds—and all the time, sheep. Due to these, I knew precisely what a first-century village in Nazareth regarded like from the early age of six.

Studying the Bible’s Large Image

I grew up in Sunday Faculty surrounded by one of the best tales ever advised—the tales of the Bible. I made tabernacles out of popsicle sticks. I puzzled how a lot sweet a “widow’s mite” may purchase me. I believed Daniel was simply plain cool, however not as cool as David, the shepherd who would grow to be king, who took down a menacing large with nothing however a slingshot.

I cherished rising up with the Bible and studying the tales. It wouldn’t be till years later, nonetheless, that I might see the massive image of all these tales. I keep in mind studying one ebook specifically in Bible school on the narrative of the Pentateuch. It was my first publicity to biblical theology. Like the peerlessly becoming bushings and gears of a watch, the tales I discovered by means of flannelgraph and Play-Doh started to fall into place. Patterns emerged. Theology emerged. I believed, The place has this been all my life?

I think I’m not alone. And I think that is true of the way in which we study most issues. We study the elements. We might even grow to be fascinated by the elements. However once we perceive how the elements click on into the entire, that’s one other degree altogether.

A Framework for Tales

Biblical theology is the entire, made up of the fascinating elements of the Bible. Biblical theology is the grand flannelgraph, made up of all of the tales. All of the bearded males and all the ladies in colourful robes, kings, shepherds, fishermen, and even the angels—all contribute their half to the grand story that’s biblical theology.

The primary flannelgraph figures we meet aren’t carrying robes. As a substitute, they’re inserted behind timber and bushes. In a single scene, they’re pleased and peaceable. Then, they’re lined by fig leaves. With heads hung low, they cower and transfer away, headed into their exile. Subsequent come two brothers, heading off right into a subject. The trainer merely peels one away. This retains occurring till the determine emerges—the one who was born in a steady surrounded by animals, shepherds, a younger man, and his spouse who had simply given start.

These are tales that seize our creativeness. They achieve this primarily as a result of they’re true. And since they’re true, they make sense of all existence. They reply the questions of life that even six-year-olds have. What I want I had been taught, along with all these nice tales, was how all these tales match collectively into the grand story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.

Give Youngsters the Puzzle Field

Maybe we don’t train youngsters the grand story as a result of we don’t suppose they’re prepared for it. Maybe we predict they received’t fairly get it. We’re not doing kids any favors by preserving that grand story from them and holding it off till later years.

We use the repetition of the tales to remind us, many times, of the one true and holy God over and in opposition to a solid of sinful characters.

If we give our children puzzles, we often give them the image on the field along with giving them the items. After we train the tales of the Bible with out serving to them join these tales, we’re giving them puzzle items solely. It’s straightforward to be fascinated by the items, however it’s laborious to make sense of the items with out that image on the field.

So how can we train youngsters biblical theology? We assist them to see that the opening scene within the backyard of Eden within the first chapters of Genesis leads all the way in which to the closing scene in a backyard within the final chapter of Revelation. We additionally assist them see what occurred within the center.

We present them not simply the ugliness of selfishness and disobedience, however we present them sin, willful revolt in opposition to an excellent and holy God. We use the repetition of the tales to remind us, many times, of the one true and holy God over and in opposition to a solid of sinful characters—some wealthy, some poor; some younger, some outdated; women and men; kings, monks, and prisoners. All sinners.

We use repetition to drive residence the fact that we’re all eager for a Redeemer, for the one seed to return. When Christ does come, we don’t shrink from instructing them that that is essentially the most distinctive individual ever born. That is the God-man. He’ll stay completely, in contrast to Adam and in contrast to all of Adam’s little kids. He can be completely obedient. He would be the essential substitute, a pure, white, spotless lamb. He’ll shed his blood for our sin.

We will use phrases like justification, propitiation, imputation. We take time to show what these phrases imply. We speak about sin and judgment. Condemnation. We additionally speak about mercy and beauty. Salvation. We use the New Testomony Gospels to show in regards to the lifetime of Christ. We use the New Testomony Epistles to clarify the total that means of that life, and of that demise, and of that resurrection. We speak about our new household in Christ, the church. And we learn John’s ebook of Revelation with wide-eyed surprise of the worship scene of fantastical creatures and myriad angels and the saints of all of the ages earlier than a jeweled throne room upon a sea of glass. And there may be the thrice-Holy God, and there may be the Lamb.

Educating youngsters the tales of the Bible is a very good thing. After we hyperlink these tales collectively and train them the entire story, train them biblical theology, we’re making a very good thing even larger nonetheless.

Stephen J. Nichols is the creator of Bible Historical past ABCs: God’s Story from A to Z.

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