“Whatever men learn of God from images is futile, indeed false.” – John Calvin.
I read this bombshell last week while in Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. Calvin was in the middle of explaining why idols and icons are not acceptable in Christian devotion and are horrible substitutes for the written, inspired text of Scripture. Calvin has rightly assessed that truth has come to mankind in ONE time-tested form: written words. God has spoken to mankind through His Word.
In light of this, it occurred to me that if there is one thing that a parent should earnestly desire (I mean, earnestly!) – it is that their children know and love the truth. Now, if the truth were found through examining images and visual artforms, then my goal in parenting would be to train my child’s artistic eye to discern and love the truth, but this is not the case. God has spoken to us through the writings of Scripture. If I can give but one thing to my children, may it be this: love for reading and understanding the Bible.
This task of raising Bible-loving children starts when they are so very young, even before they come to be. It starts with both parents growing in their own love and discipline in reading (in general) and in their Bible intake (in particular). If we don’t give ourselves wholly to loving words and truth, then our apples will not fall far from us.
Once our children are up and about growing in their ability to read and write, we need some solid strategies to build the Bible into their affections. How do you seek to inspire your children to love reading and to love God’s Word?