Friday, February 26, 2010

Oddities while looking for a Bible

My kids are 6 and just 9. They both read. My 9 year old can read any thing...highschool level is not a problem. My 6, almost 7, reads chapter books.

So, they have been begging me to read the Bible. But it is a book full of violence, sex, immorality, and rock and roll...if you know what I mean.

Does my 6 or 9 year old need to be reading about "women lusting after women and doing depravous acts with their bodies" ? etc. (Straight quote from Romans. )

Just because they can read, do they have to be reading about the horrendous violence in the Old Testament - simply because it's in "God's Word".

Today I went to the Christian Bookstore. Maybe that was my first mistake. Of course, they had cute covered Bibles for all different ages. The covers were different, but the inside was always the exact text. No editing out of "prostitutes" and "men lusting after men" or "sexual sins with their bodies"...just all the raw gorey details of the Bible.

There was a lady checking out who overheard my questions and decided to jump on her opinionated box to declare to me, "well, if your kids can read it then I feel they are ready to know about the full sinful nature of mankind. It's God's Word after all. If they can read it then they should know about it all." Blah blah blah. I sort of tuned out to the rest of her speech. I did let her know that I did not agree with her.

Truly, do non-Christian, loving parents, seeking to raise their kids morally look at the things that are taught to kids in Sunday schools at early ages about extremely violent acts in the Bible and think we are crazy? If I stopped for a moment and stepped out of my Christian bubble, I'd definitely be confused as to why we think we need to be talking to 2 year olds in Sunday school about some of the violent moments in the Old Testament like Cain killing Able or having them memorize the 10 commandments asking mommy as she changes their diaper,"What is adultery?"

Just because my daughter mastered the English language by 2, she was not ready to be sat in front of any English spoken R- rated movie. Just because they are great readers does not mean they have to be burdened down by our adult issues of sexual lust, violence, and all the rest. That's not their burden to bear yet.

I would love to hear your thoughts! I just want a truly age-appropriate Bible!!

In the meantime, I ordered this Bible for my soon to be 7 year old:


Anonymous said...

Running Gal-
I really appreciate your insight. So often we take things for granted in the church because 'it's just always been that way', not really examining it from any other point of view.
Jesus found ways to speak to people on their individual level, what related to them. To the fisherman, He called them to be fisher's of men. To the woman at the well, He spoke to her of Living water.
So, I can only believe that He wants His Word to be receivable to children at a level they can relate to. You bring up an excellent point: should children be exposed to the extremeness of a sinful world, shadowing their precious innocence? I agree with you; they shouldn't be.
I'll admit, I haven't taken days to pray and think about this :-), but I do have a forming thought...
Despite Godly parent's best efforts children are invariably exposed to the immorality of the world, to some extent. They see and hear things from a variety of sources that raises questions in their minds and imprints confusing images.
Perhaps, while children should be spared from the adult portions of the Bible for as long as necessary, those touchy subjects can be introduced as the need arises. To address, and explain, God's viewpoint when they are exposed to the world's. ???
Just a fellow Christ follower's thoughts :-)
As with all aspects of life, thank God for the Holy Spirit's guidance and direction!
I pray He sheds more light on this often-overlooked area for you, and others.
God bless,

runninggal said...

I love your thoughts!! You put it better then me! Thank you for helping me think through this!


The Mahnke Family said...

hmmm, interesting to think about... However, I will tell you that your sweet girl (and boy when I had him) has heard the story of Cain and Abel as well as the 10 commandments! Both of those items are a part of our Bible curriculum and are taught in what I believe to be an age appropriate way. For instance, when questions came up about adultery, I told the kids that God's plan is for one man to marry one woman and they should stay married as long as they live. Adultery is choosing to not follow God's plan for marriage. They were fine with that explanation and no further questions were asked. You're right though, there are some subjects that are probably better to hold off on reading until their mind is more able to handle the information. (Song of Songs??!!)

We have used the Adventure Bible in our home and the kids like it. I do think that it does have all the wording that you were referring to though... My kids have been fine with it so far since I usually help them choose what passages/stories to read (mostly so that they don't get to a super boring/hard to understand part and then give up reading His Word altogether!) Maybe if you and Cory give guidance to the passages they read it would help. Just a thought... Sorry that the lady in the bookstore was mean!

runninggal said...

Hi Holly! Thanks for your ideas.

The Adventure Bible has reworded things but I still struggle with it. I don't think it's appropriate for a 6 year old or 8 year old to be reading passages like, "Men began lusting after men and doing sexually depraved acts with their bodies"...etc. THat is literally what a passage in Romans from that Bible said.

Maybe the 10 commandments was a bad example, but there is so many passages in the Bible that are meant for adults and not for 6 year olds. I really would love to find a Bible that rewrote it so that it is developmentally appropriate. I think I found a good option in the Day by Day Bible - we'll see when it comes.

Due to your great teaching, both Bekah and Cade can just sit down and read. They want to read the Bible - so we need to find one that we wouldn't need to filter first but is appropriate. Just like I wouldn't let them watch a Christian movie or commentary on Sexual perversion, I don't think they should be reading about that stuff yet.

What do you think?