Theological Concepts for Young Children

Theological Concept

Conceptual Focus

Age Range

God the Father

God is love and cares for each of us personally and intimately. He is accepting and trustworthy. God gives us good things and has special plans for our lives.

1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Peter 1:17; John 1:1-2,18;

Birth +

 

Jesus

Associate every teachable moment with Christ’s love and care as demonstrated through the family, nature (especially animals), Jesus’ life and ministry. Be sure to include teach the children that Jesus is their Friend, Creator, Source of Life, Divine, Comforter, Healer, Helper, Savior, etc.

John 1:1-18, 32-34 51;

Birth +

Prayer

(Reverence)

(The Lord’s Prayer)

Teach how to pray by praying with and for the child. Consistently require reverent prayer posture. When the child is able to actively participate teach them when to pray and various different kinds of prayer such as: The prayer of thanksgiving, peace, for help, forgiveness.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9; 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Birth +

Reverence

(Holiness of God)

(Jesus is God’s Son)

(Righteousness of Christ)

Develop the habit of group worship time, especially set aside for songs and Bible stories. Teach proper deportment for worship. Model personal time for worship and teach the value of private devotional and prayer time. Be purposeful in teaching about the sovereignty of God, His Son and how we should behave inside the Lord’s House.

Leviticus 19:30 & 26:2; Psalm 89:7

Birth +

Sabbath                                     

Form the habit of Sabbath keeping early. Teach the purpose of the Sabbath day, from where it originated proper preparation, observance and the need for corporate worship services.  

Exodus 20:8-11; Leviticus 19:30 & 26:2

Birth +

Law of God

Learning right from wrong and the value of rules is a life skill. Begin teaching these early with love and patience. God’s 10 commandments and health laws are principles that should guide us in all that we say, think, feel and do.

Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 6:5-9; Leviticus 11

4-6 months +

Obedience

Learning to listen and do. Learning that only in obedience can one be truly happy.

Ephesians 6:1; Exodus 20:12; 1 Samuel 15:22

6 months +

Creation

Nature and its laws can help teach any spiritual concept.  Creation, the fall, the flood, re-creation after the flood and re-creation after Christ’s second coming.

Romans 1:20; Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13;Revelation 21:1;

12 months +

Angels, Ministry of

Angels help us; protect us; take our prayers to Heaven. Every person has an angel from God. Two kinds of angels.

Psalm 34:7; Hebrews 13:2

2 years +

Service  

(Call of God)

(Dedication & Consecration)

We all belong to Jesus. He made us; He made everyone. Jesus asks us to serve others. We can serve others in many different ways through our habits of thoughtfulness, helpfulness, carefulness, order, thoroughness, follow-through, missionary activities and acts of kindness for those less fortunate.

1 Samuel 1:11, 27-28

2 years +

Salvation

(Forgiveness)

(God’s Power to Save)

Disobedience (Sin) brings unhappiness. Sin is anything that weakens our ability to follow Jesus. Obedience to Jesus brings happiness. Repentance is the willingness to turn from sin. Forgiveness is the love of God accepting our repentance and teaching us new ways to live.

1 Samuel 15:22,23

2 years +

Scripture

Read stories from scripture. Use songs to help memorize Bible verses. Teach respect for God’s Book and how to use Bible stories to learn life lessons and make decisions.

Psalm 119:105; 2 Timothy 2:16-17

2 years +

Stewardship

Teach faithfulness in tithes and participation with the giving of liberal offerings for celebrations and missions. Teach altruism and self-forgetfulness by encouraging self-denial through giving to help others.

Malachi 3:8-10

2 years +

Satan

(Two Kinds of Angels) (Guardian Angels) (Lucifer, Fallen Angel)

There is an angel that does not love Jesus. He will try to make us think bad thoughts; he will try to make us do bad things; he will try to make us say hurtful words. Only Jesus can save us from Satan. Jesus will help us every time you ask.

Revelation 12:3,4,7-9

2.5/3 years +

Idols

(Witchcraft) (Pride, Stubbornness)

Seeking after or praying to anything or anyone other than God makes it an idol. Anything that is more important than God is an idol, even pride and stubbornness. Eventually, idol worship can be equated to love of self and show, always wanting one’s way, and disobedience.

1 Kings 21:25-26; 2 Kings 23:24; Psalm 106:36-39; Ezekiel 14:3; 36:22-31

2.5/3 years +

Jesus’ Death & Resurrection

Use the world of nature to help explain life and death; spring and fall; resurrection, eternal life and life in Heaven. Explain how Satan tried to kill Jesus, but Jesus is alive and in Heaven, preparing a home for us.

Acts 13:28-35; Ephesians 1:20:23

3 years +

Eternal Life & Second Coming

(Faith) (God’s Promises) (Heaven)

Only Jesus can give life to people, plants and animals. Only Jesus can heal our ouches and hurt feelings. Only Jesus can take away pain, anger and sadness. We trust in Jesus because He has promised to come take us to Heaven. We are looking forward to His coming. We are looking forward to being in Heaven.

Acts 16:31; 17:31

3 years +

Fruit of the Spirit

(Book series: Ladder of Life)

Becoming a Christian requires the use of prayer, songs and the Bible. Teach how to live close to Jesus; to be like Jesus; to treat others as Jesus would treat them.

Galatians5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9-10; 2 Peter 1:5-7

3 years +

Healthful Living

Young children enjoy learning about their body, family and community. Temperance and regularity help us take care of our bodies. Being healthy helps make good decisions.

Leviticus 11;17:12; Genesis 35:2; Deuteronomy 12:22-25;14;23:12-13;  

3 years +

Tools for Life

Teach young children how to behave and treat others with respect and dignity. How to: Greet, speak, listen, problem solve, become a friend, serve others, pray, study the Bible.

Exodus 20:12-17; 22:21; 23:9;  Leviticus 19:9-37; 23:22; 25:35-37; Isaiah 1:16-18; Matthew 5:21-48

3 years +

Baptism

When we ask God to forgive us, He washes away our sins. When we are baptized, we are making a promise to follow Jesus; to be like Jesus. (Symbols of baptism: The OT Sanctuary laver and foot-washing.)

John 13:3-17;

3.5 years +

Heaven

Describe the glories of Heaven and who we must be in order to enter. Describe Heaven before the entrance of sin, what is happening now and what we can expect after Christ’s second coming.

John 14:1-3

3.5 years +

Beatitudes

Following Jesus can be very difficult when other people are not kind. Jesus promised that even when people are not kind to us, we will be happy because we will know that we are doing what is right and good.

Matthew 5:1-16

3.5 years +

Communion

We must forgive and be forgiven our sins; we are to love and serve others; we are to be followers of Jesus.

Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; 1 Corinthians 11:24-29

3.5 years +

Old Testament Sanctuary

The articles of furniture in and around the Sanctuary are all symbols of Jesus and His ministry of salvation.


Leviticus 26:2; John 14:6; John 9:5; John 6:48; Revelation 8:4

3.5 years +

Pillars of Faith

Biblical teachings/concepts often known as doctrines. God speaks through His Word, the Bible and His prophets.

Numbers 11:29;  Amos 3:7; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

3.5 years +

© 2008. Christine Gillan Byrne. Young Child Ministries. 406 Polk Rd. 78, Mena, AR 71953. www.youngchildministries.com

Portions adapted from Donna J. Habenicht and Larry Burton. (2004, Feb/Mar). Theology for Children. Journal of Adventist Education, 66(3), 35-40.

 

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