Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Child Training Bible

For me, the hardest part of training my children (Psalm 22:6) is addressing their hearts and not just their behaviors.  It is easy to fall into the habit of punishing bad actions and rewarding good actions, as if my children are puppies I'm trying to house train.  But children are not animals; they have souls that need training too.  If I only address their behaviors, I may have children that I'm proud to take to the grocery store but who have hearts full of sin and rebellion.

I don't have the power to change or train their hearts on my own, but there is another promise in the Bible that applies here.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Where my wisdom fails, the word of God can change my children's hearts.  But sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to find exactly the right verses to deal with the issue my child is facing.  That's where the Child Training Bible comes in.

This system was developed by homeschooling mom Mindy Dunn and her husband as a way to quickly and easily find Scriptures that relate to a wide range of heart problems in kids and adults, such as anger, defiance, fear, pride, selfishness, and jealousy (among others).  A thick, durable card with each issue running along the top, side, and bottom of the page in different colors is taped to the inside of a standard sized Bible. 

There are three other cards that have the specific Scriptures listed so that you can mark them with a post it tab in the correct place and highlight the verse with the corresponding color. Each sin or issue has six or eight verses to mark.  The set up took some time, but it has paid back with dividends for my children.
It is obvious that Mrs. Dunn picked these verses with care because they go beyond, "You shouldn't do that."  For instance, for complaining, I expected to see Philippians 2:14, but she made sure to include verse 15 as well. 
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, (Philippians 2:14-15).
These verses not only say that we should not complain, but it says WHY.  When my child complains, I can show her exactly why grumbling is not what God wants from his children.  She also included Matthew 12:34-35. 
For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. "The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. (Matthew 12:34-35)
So now we not only have "You shouldn't complain" and "This is why you shouldn't complain," but we also have "This is what your complaining shows about your heart."  Even my five year old could understand that.

I'll admit that at first, my kids were quite grumpy about having to sit down with the Bible whenever there was an obvious heart problem going on.  Sometimes I had to wait for them to cool down enough to listen (not hard to figure out with my son.  He took his hands away from his ears when he was ready).  Sometimes they even got mad at the Bible.  But as time has gone on, they've been more willing and even eager to open the pages of Scripture and pray with me about their struggles. 

Even when I've had to go over the same verses over and over in a week, and it seems like their behavior isn't changing, I can see that their hearts are touched.  When we read the Bible, instead of looking muley, they look thoughtful.  Their apologies are obviously more heart felt.  They pray with me more earnestly.  I have faith that as God changes their hearts through the words of the Bible, that their behaviors will fall into line as well.  Not perfectly or all the time, but enough that I can take them to the grocery store.

If you are interested in buying the parts to the Child Training Bible, you can go to   The cards themselves you buy directly from the website for $9 plus tax.  We bought the Bible, post its, and highlighters on Amazon.  Altogether, I spent $45 for the whole system. The Dunns have a video detailing how to set it up.  If you have found a system of your own for quickly addressing heart trouble with Scripture, we'd love to hear about it in the comments!


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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