Child Guidance

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Section 18—Maintaining the Religious Experience

Chapter 77—The Bible in the Home

The Bible Is a Versatile Book—In its wide range of style and subjects, the Bible has something to interest every mind and appeal to every heart. In its pages are found history the most ancient; biography the truest to life; principles of government for the control of the state, for the regulation of the household—principles that human wisdom has never equaled. It contains philosophy the most profound; poetry the sweetest and the most sublime, the most impassioned and the most pathetic. Immeasurably superior in value to the productions of any human author are the Bible writings, even when thus considered; but of infinitely wider scope, of infinitely greater value, are they when viewed in their relation to the grand central thought. Viewed in the light of this thought, every topic has a new significance. In the most simply stated truths are involved principles that are as high as heaven and that compass eternity.1 CG 505.1

The Word of God abounds in precious jewels of truth, and parents should bring them forth from their casket and present them before their children in their true luster.... In the Word of God you have a treasure house from which you may draw precious stores, and as Christians you should furnish yourselves for every good work.2 CG 505.2

In It God Provides a Rich Banquet—In giving us the privilege of studying His Word, the Lord has set before us a rich banquet. Many are the benefits derived from feasting on His Word, which is represented by Him as His flesh and blood, His spirit and life. By partaking of this Word, our spiritual strength is increased; we grow in grace and in a knowledge of the truth. Habits of self-control are formed and strengthened. The infirmities of childhood—fretfulness, willfulness, selfishness, hasty words, passionate acts—disappear, and in their place are developed the graces of Christian manhood and womanhood.3 CG 505.3

The beautiful lessons of the Bible stories and parables, the pure, simple instruction of God's Holy Word, is the spiritual food for you and your children. CG 506.1

Oh, what a work is before you! Will you take hold of it in the love and fear of God? Will you put yourselves in communication with God through His Word?4 CG 506.2

It Is the Standard of Rectitude—The Word of God should be judiciously brought to bear upon the youthful minds and be their standard of rectitude, correcting their errors, enlightening and guiding their minds, which will be far more effectual in restraining and controlling the impulsive temperament than harsh words, which will provoke to wrath. This training of children to meet the Bible standard will require time, perseverance, and prayer. This should be attended to if some things about the house are neglected.5 CG 506.3

The truths of the Bible, received, will uplift the mind from its earthliness and debasement. If the Word of God were appreciated as it should be, both young and old would possess an inward rectitude, a strength of principle, that would enable them to resist temptation.6 CG 506.4

The Holy One of Israel has made known to us the statutes and laws which are to govern all human intelligences. These precepts, which have been pronounced “holy, and just, and good,” are to form the standard of action in the home. There can be no departure from them without sin, for they are the foundation of the Christian religion.7 CG 506.5

It Strengthens the Intellect—If the Bible were studied as it should be, men would become strong in intellect. The subjects treated upon in the Word of God, the dignified simplicity of its utterance, the noble themes which it presents to the mind, develop faculties in man which cannot otherwise be developed. In the Bible a boundless field is opened for the imagination. The student will come from a contemplation of its grand themes, from association with its lofty imagery, more pure and elevated in thought and feeling than if he had spent the time reading any work of mere human origin, to say nothing of those of a trifling character. Youthful minds fail to reach their noblest development when they neglect the highest source of wisdom—the Word of God. The reason why we have so few men of good mind, of stability and solid worth, is that God is not feared, God is not loved, the principles of religion are not carried out in the life as they should be. CG 507.1

God would have us avail ourselves of every means of cultivating and strengthening our intellectual powers.... If the Bible were read more, if its truths were better understood, we should be a far more enlightened and intelligent people. Energy is imparted to the soul by searching its pages.8 CG 507.2

It Is the Foundation for Home, Social, and National Prosperity—The teaching of the Bible has a vital bearing upon man's prosperity in all the relations of this life. It unfolds the principles that are the cornerstone of a nation's prosperity—principles with which is bound up the well-being of society, and which are the safeguard of the family—principles without which no man can attain usefulness, happiness, and honor in this life, or can hope to secure the future, immortal life. There is no position in life, no phase of human experience, for which the teaching of the Bible is not an essential preparation.9 CG 507.3

Knowledge of the Scriptures Is a Safeguard—From a child, Timothy knew the Scriptures; and this knowledge was a safeguard to him against the evil influences surrounding him and the temptation to choose pleasure and selfish gratification before duty. Such a safeguard all our children need, and it should be a part of the work of parents and of Christ's ambassadors to see that the children are properly instructed in the Word of God.10 CG 508.1

Love for the Bible Is Not Natural—Youth are ignorant and inexperienced, and the love of the Bible and its sacred truths will not come naturally. Unless great pains are taken to build up around them barriers to shield them from Satan's devices, they are subject to his temptations and are led captive by him at his will. In their early years children are to be taught the claims of God's law and faith in Jesus our Redeemer to cleanse from the stains of sin. This faith must be taught day by day, by precept and example.11 CG 508.2

Youth Especially Neglect Bible Study—Both old and young neglect the Bible. They do not make it their study, the rule of their life. Especially are the young guilty of this neglect. Most of them find time to read other books, but the book that points out the way to eternal life is not daily studied, Idle stories are attentively read, while the Bible is neglected. This book is our guide to a higher, holier life. The youth would pronounce it the most interesting book they ever read had not their imagination been perverted by the reading of fictitious stories. CG 508.3

Youthful minds fail to reach their noblest development when they neglect the highest source of wisdom—the Word of God. That we are in God's world, in the presence of the Creator; that we are made in His likeness; that He watches over us and loves us and cares for us—these are wonderful themes for thought and lead the mind into broad, exalted fields of meditation. He who opens mind and heart to the contemplation of such themes as these will never be satisfied with trivial, sensational subjects.12 CG 509.1

Parental Disregard Is Reflected in Children—Even when quite young, children notice; and if the parents show that the Word of God is not their guide and counselor, if they disregard the messages brought to them, the same reckless spirit of, “I don't care; I will have my own way,” will be shown by the children.13 CG 509.2

Give the Word Its Honored Place—As a people who have had great light, we are to be uplifting in our habits, in our words, in our domestic life and association. Give the Word its honored position as a guide in the home. Let it be regarded as the counselor in every difficulty, the standard of every practice. Will my brethren and sisters be convinced that there can never be true prosperity to any soul in the family circle unless the truth of God, the wisdom of righteousness, presides? Every effort should be made by fathers and mothers to bring their own minds up from the lazy habit of regarding the service of God as a burden. The power of the truth must be a sanctifying agency in the home.14 CG 509.3

Parents, give your children, line upon line, precept upon precept, the instruction contained in God's Holy Word. This is the work you pledged yourself to do when you were baptized. Let nothing of a worldly character keep you from doing this work. Do all in your power to save the souls of your children, whether they are bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh, or whether they have been received into your family by adoption.15 CG 510.1

Make It the Home Textbook—Parents, if you would educate your children to serve God and do good in the world, make the Bible your textbook. It exposes the wiles of Satan. It is the great elevator of the race, the reprover and corrector of moral evils, the detector which enables us to distinguish between the true and the false. Whatever else is taught in the home or at school, the Bible, as the great educator, should stand first. If it is given this place, God is honored, and He will work for you in the conversion of your children. There is a rich mine of truth and beauty in this holy book, and parents have themselves to blame if they do not make it intensely interesting to their children.16 CG 510.2

“It is written” was the only weapon that Christ used when the tempter came with his deceptions. The teaching of Bible truth is the great and grand work which every parent should undertake. In a pleasant, happy frame of mind place the truth as spoken by God before the children. As fathers and mothers, you can be object lessons to the children in the daily life by practicing patience, kindness, and love, by attaching them to yourself. Do not let them do as they please, but show them that your work is to practice the Word of God and to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.17 CG 510.3

Study Diligently, Systematically—Observe system in the study of the Scriptures in your families. Neglect anything of a temporal nature, ... but be sure that the soul is fed with the bread of life. It is impossible to estimate the good results of one hour or even half an hour each day devoted in a cheerful, social manner to the Word of God. Make the Bible its own expositor, bringing together all that is said concerning a given subject at different times and under varied circumstances. Do not break up your home class for callers or visitors. If they come in during the exercise, invite them to take part in it. Let it be seen that you consider it more important to obtain a knowledge of God's Word than to secure the gains or pleasures of the world.18 CG 511.1

If we would study the Bible diligently and prayerfully every day, we should every day see some beautiful truth in a new, clear, and forcible light.19 CG 511.2

Let All Study Sabbath School Lessons—The Sabbath school affords to parents and children an opportunity for the study of God's Word. But in order for them to gain that benefit which they should gain in the Sabbath school, both parents and children should devote time to the study of the lesson, seeking to obtain a thorough knowledge of the facts presented and also of the spiritual truths which these facts are designed to teach. We should especially impress upon the minds of the youth the importance of seeking the full significance of the scripture under consideration. CG 511.3

Parents, set apart a little time each day for the study of the Sabbath school lesson with your children. Give up the social visit if need be, rather than sacrifice the hour devoted to the lessons of sacred history. Parents as well as children will receive benefit from this study. Let the more important passages of Scripture connected with the lesson be committed to memory, not as a task, but as a privilege. Though at first the memory be defective, it will gain strength by exercise, so that after a time you will delight thus to treasure up the words of truth. And the habit will prove a most valuable aid to spiritual growth.20 CG 511.4

Parents should feel it a sacred duty to instruct their children in the statutes and requirements of God as well as in the prophecies. They should educate their children at home and should themselves be interested in the Sabbath school lessons. By studying with the children they show that they attach importance to the truth brought out in the lessons, and help to create a taste for Bible knowledge.21 CG 512.1

Be Not Satisfied With Superficial Knowledge—The importance of seeking a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures can hardly be estimated. “Given by inspiration of God” able to make us “wise unto salvation,” rendering the man of God “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:15-17), the Bible has the highest claim to our reverent attention. We should not be satisfied with a superficial knowledge, but should seek to learn the full meaning of the words of truth, to drink deep of the spirit of the Holy Oracles.22 CG 512.2

Apply Lessons to Child's Experience—In teaching children the Bible, we may gain much by observing the bent of their minds, the things in which they are interested, and arousing their interest to see what the Bible says about these things. He who created us, with our various aptitudes, has in His Word given something for everyone. As the pupils see that the lessons of the Bible apply to their own lives, teach them to look to it as a counselor.... CG 512.3

The Bible has a fullness, a strength, a depth of meaning, that is inexhaustible. Encourage the children and youth to seek out its treasures, both of thought and of expression.23 CG 513.1

Each Must Study for Himself—Mothers and fathers carry a heavy responsibility in regard to their children. Those parents who believe and study the Scriptures will realize that they must obey the commandments of God, that they must not walk contrary to His holy law. Those who allow anyone, even the minister, to lead them to disregard the Word of God must at the judgment meet the result of their course. Parents are not to trust their own souls and the souls of their children to the minister, but to God, whose they are by creation and by redemption. Parents should search the Scriptures for themselves, for they have souls to save or to lose. They cannot afford to depend for salvation upon the minister. They must study the truth for themselves.24 CG 513.2

Make Bible Study Interesting to Children—Let the youth be taught to love the study of the Bible. Let the first place in our thoughts and affections be given to the Book of books, for it contains knowledge which we need above all other.25 CG 513.3

In order to do this work, parents must themselves become acquainted with the Word of God.... And instead of speaking vain words and telling idle tales to their children, they will talk with them upon Bible subjects. The book was not designed for scholars alone. It was written in a plain, simple style to meet the understanding of the common people; and, with proper explanations, a large portion of it can be made intensely interesting and profitable to very small children.26 CG 513.4

Do not think that the Bible will become a tiresome book to the children. Under a wise instructor the Word will become more and more desirable. It will be to them as the bread of life; it will never grow old. There is in it a freshness and beauty that attract and charm the children and youth. It is like the sun shining upon the earth, giving its brightness and warmth, yet never exhausted. By lessons from Bible history and doctrine, the children and youth can learn that all other books are inferior to this. They can find here a fountain of mercy and love.27 CG 514.1

Parents, let the instruction you give your children be simple, and be sure that it is clearly understood. The lessons that you learn from the Word you are to present to their young minds so plainly that they cannot fail to understand. By simple lessons drawn from the Word of God and their own experience, you may teach them how to conform their lives to the highest standard. Even in childhood and youth they may learn to live thoughtful, earnest lives that will yield a rich harvest of good.28 CG 514.2

Give Freshest Thought; Use Best Methods—Our heavenly Father, in giving His Word, did not overlook the children. In all that men have written, where can be found anything that has such a hold upon the heart, anything so well adapted to awaken the interest of the little ones, as the stories of the Bible? CG 514.3

In these simple stories may be made plain the great principles of the law of God. Thus by illustrations best suited to the child's comprehension, parents and teachers may begin very early to fulfill the Lord's injunction concerning His precepts: “Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:7. CG 514.4

The use of object lessons, blackboards, maps, and pictures will be an aid in explaining these lessons and fixing them in the memory. Parents and teachers should constantly seek for improved methods. The teaching of the Bible should have our freshest thought, our best methods, and our most earnest effort.29 CG 515.1

Take the Bible as the Guide—You must make the Bible your guide if you would bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let the life and character of Christ be presented as the pattern for them to copy. If they err, read to them what the Lord has said concerning similar sins. There is need of constant care and diligence in this work. One wrong trait tolerated by parents, uncorrected by teachers, may cause the whole character to become deformed and unbalanced. Teach the children that they must have a new heart; that new tastes must be created, new motives inspired. They must have help from Christ; they must become acquainted with the character of God as revealed in His Word.30 CG 515.2