How to Answer a Child’s Many Questions About Faith

Wondering

The curiosity of children is quite possibly the greatest player in their drive to learn. It is one of the single most compelling aspects of human life in that it motivates us to go from a baby crawling on the floor, to a toddler toppling over, to a child chasing a firefly through a cool summer night. Curiosity pushes us to communicate with gestures and words in order to ask for the things we want, and it guides us towards the answers to the things we don’t yet understand.

The curiosity of children and the questions they ask also can make us stop in our tracks with disbelief, shed a tear in sorrow, or hide our faces as we quietly struggle to hide the laughter we do not want them to see. My poor parents knew the curiosity of kids very well from raising two boys, yet they were never fast enough to muffle our mouths when an inappropriate question was just too important to ask. A question like, “Mommy, why does that lady have a mustache?”

Not only did my brother and I each ask this very same question on a completely different day, but we asked it about two different women my mom happened to be with at the time! I share this to elaborate on the fact that a child’s curiosity can guide them down a dangerous path (like insulting your parent’s friends and the realization of what would happen when you got home), but it can just as easily guide them towards truth and growth. Either way, parents and grandparents are usually the first to receive a child’s barrage of questions and are tasked with the responsibility to not just give them an answer but to give them a healthy and accepting outlet for their curiosity. This is especially crucial when it pertains to the faith they see us living out as Christians.

Answering a Child’s Questions in the Light of Scripture

As Christian parents and grandparents, we believe that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. We hold fast that it is able to answer our children’s or grandchildren’s s questions about faith.

Questions like:

“Where did God come from?”
“Do I have to get baptized?”
“Why did God kill everyone in a flood if He loves us?”
“How come I didn’t get a bike when I prayed for one?”
“Is my grandpa in heaven even though he never went to church?”

“The great part is that each one of those questions…has an answer in the Bible.”

If you been around kids for any amount of time, you know that these questions usually come the moment you take a bite of food or a sip of your drink. Then they’ll wait for an answer while you choke and cough for 5 minutes at the unexpectedness of their question.

The great part is that each one of those questions, and practically every faith question they can think of, has an answer in the Bible.

“Where did God come from?”
“God didn’t come from anywhere. God is everywhere, and He has always been.”
 (Psalms 90:2Isaiah 57:15)

“Do I have to get baptized?”
“Yes, Jesus says that we all need to be baptized if we are Christians.”
(Matthew 28:19)

“Why did God kill everyone in a flood if He loves us?”
“People had become so bad and didn’t want to change. God showed He loved us by sparing mankind with Noah and his family he still loved God.” 
(Genesis 6:9-22)

“How come I didn’t get a bike when I prayed for one?”
“Either you didn’t have enough faith, you didn’t ask with the right motives, God didn’t want you to have it, or He may have something better for you instead.”
(James 1:6-7James 4:32 Corinthians 12:7-9)

“Is my grandpa in heaven even though he never went to church?”
“The Church isn’t a building you go to, but the people that believe that Christ died for their sins and raised from the dead. If he believed, then he will be in heaven.”
 (Acts 14:27John 3:16)

“Getting to the heart of … their question is something that takes more than an answer. It takes a conversation.”

But what about questions our children or grandchildren ask that may not have a clear and obvious answer in Scripture? Questions like:

“I want to help the poor, but I don’t know how.”

“I want to give my teacher a gift to tell her God loves her. What should I get her?”

The problem we run into with just giving the biblical answers to the questions they ask is that it may not answer the question that your children or grandchildren are actually asking.

Children can and will ask questions about faith from the standpoint that they want an answer because they just don’t know. I’ve found these types of questions are usually asked when my family is reading the Bible together and they don’t understand a passage or story. All that’s really needed is to break it down so it’s easier for their developing minds to grasp. Most of the time, however, when one of my seven kids come to my wife or me with a question about our Christian faith, it’s because they have a decision to make or a personal issue that they are processing. Getting to the heart of the reason why they are asking their question is something that takes more than a simple answer. It takes a conversation.

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SOURCE: Crosswalk, Richard Lee Sorensen