Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Child's Ability

My oldest grandsons were born in 1982, only a few weeks apart. Just before that I went to work for a company that soon added desktop computers, word processors, e-mail – all the goodies we take for granted now. I could see such a future in these marvelous tools.

By Christmas 1988 I was looking for some children’s computer games. I had already answered the question in my Lotus 1-2-3 handbook “Do you really want to be a programmer?” in the negative, but surely there were people out there who did want to be and understood what turning little sequences of I’s and 0’s off and on could do.

So, I went to a mall computer store and was duly insulted by the salesman after I explained what I was looking for – computer learning games for six-year-old grandsons. His response was something along the lines of “Don’t you think they ought to learn to read first?”

No, I didn’t. I thought a computer program would utilize skills that could help them learn to read. Don’t I wish now that I had found those companies who thought the same thing? Haven’t they done a great job since then?

The salesman underestimated the ability of children to understand, and to learn.

This applies to the Bible, too.

Some ‘tone down’ the Bible for children. An International Children’s Bible might be suggested instead of the King James Version simply because it is easier to understand. How difficult is it to understand:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)


For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)


And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30 KJV)

Do the “-eth”, “ye”, “thou” used in these verses detract sufficiently from their meaning that a child should be protected from them? I think not. Not in my church.

Doesn’t it make more since to focus the lesson to the level of the child’s interest rather than changing the Bible? Does God’s word change if Acts 16:30 reads:

Then he took them outside and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30 ISV)

Do not underestimate God’s word, nor those who seek Him.

But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29 KJV)

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6 KJV)

That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: (Acts 17:27 KJV)

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