10 Things Children Should Learn About Faith

Faith[NOTE: This post is 4 years old but continues to receive a large number of visitors from Google searches on teaching kids about faith. A lot has happened here on the blog since I wrote this–including having the opportunity to write a book that was released in March 2016 by Harvest House Publishers: Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith! If you’re here because you’re looking for resources to help you effectively raise your kids to follow Jesus in the midst of this secular world, please take a moment to check it out!] 

Yesterday, my 3-year-old daughter asked about the word “faith” after hearing it in the devotional book she received for Christmas. I told her that faith means we believe in God even though we can’t see Him, hear Him or touch Him. Hearing myself say that out loud, I realized for the first time just how difficult the concept of faith can be. My definition was true in a simple sense, but as my kids grow I want them to understand the greater richness of the word as used in the Bible.

This inspired me to study the different instances of the word translated as “faith” in the New Testament. Based on my (digital) study Bible, there are 245 such instances. I read each of the passages and categorized them into 10 key insights on faith that I hope to teach my children as they grow.

10 Things Children Should Learn About Faith

1. Faith is what saves. Amongst the many verses that attest to this, Ephesians 2:8 clearly states, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”. Our children first and foremost need to learn that faith in Jesus is the only thing that results in salvation of our souls.

2. Faith can grow. Since the Bible clearly establishes faith as the requirement for salvation, it is natural to think of it as something we either have or don’t have. While that is true for saving faith, many verses make it clear that the faith of (saved) Christians can and should continue to grow (e.g., Romans 4:20, 2 Corinthians 10:15, Philippians 1:25, 1 Thessalonians 3:10, Romans 14:1). Our children need to understand that growing faith is a life-time process that starts with saving faith.

3. Faith can fail. In Luke 22:31-34, Jesus foretells Peter’s denial. In verse 32 Jesus says, “…but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” Our faith can fail due to our circumstances. When facing such circumstances, our children need to know they can pray for their faith to remain firm.

4. Faith is a gift. Romans 12:3 and 1 Corinthians 12:9 tell us that faith is a spiritual gift from God and therefore it varies by person.  When it first registered for me last year that strength of faith is actually a gift, I honestly felt a sense of relief; I had always thought something was wrong with my faith because it’s been more of a struggle for me to believe than for many other Christians I know.  Our children should understand that faith DOES vary amongst believers and that comparisons are fruitless. What matters is our personal faith growth.

5. Faith can move mountains.  Jesus says in Matthew 17:20 and 21:22 that if you do not doubt, your faith can move mountains; note He didn’t say that “medium” faith will move hills! Our children need to understand that the power of prayer lies in full conviction.

6. Faith means to trust. The book of Matthew quotes Jesus saying “O you of little faith” on five occasions. On all but one of those occasions, He was addressing the disciples regarding their fear or worry (6:30, 8:26, 14:31, and 16:8). If little faith results in worry, that implies great faith results in trust. When our children are worried or scared, we should help them pray specifically for God to grow their faith; faith that results in trust is the remedy for fear.

7. Faith is protective. There are two New Testament verses that use faith as a metaphor for spiritually protective armor (the “shield of faith” in Ephesians 6:16 and the “breastplate of faith” in 1 Thessalonians 5:8). Our children need to be aware of the need for spiritual protection in their daily lives, and that faith is the basis for that protection.

8. Faith results in action. Hebrews chapter 11 recalls many of the most faithful people of the Old Testament. Each verse starts with the pattern, “By faith (person) (did something)”.  It wasn’t enough for the author to point out that each of these people HAD faith; the focus was on what that faith produced. Our children need to understand that authentic faith results in action.

9. (Great) Faith is believing before you experience.  In almost every instance where Jesus acknowledged someone for having great faith, it was in the context of believing in Him prior to experiencing healing (e.g., see Matthew 8 for the “greatest” faith of the Centurion). Our children need to know that faith doesn’t require waiting for signs or experiences that lead to the “conviction of things not seen”; Jesus acknowledged great faith as first believing in Him.

10. Faith is a decision everyone makes. Even if a person does not have faith in God, he or she must have faith in another “unproven” alternative about the afterlife (even if it’s that nothing exists). Our children need to realize that faith is a decision everyone makes, not just Christians.

11 Comments

  1. Bev on January 4, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    Great and thought-provoking. TFS with us!



  2. La Juan on January 6, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    This is very true. A lot of adults still need this teaching as well as our children. Thank you for sharing this. God Bless.



  3. Janet on January 30, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Sometimes I think we get too caught up in the physical or mud idea. We need to remember through his faith and obedience he was given sight. Remember the Israelites who would not look upon the staff and be preserved. This required only faith and obedience.



  4. Melanie @ Carmel Moments on January 10, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    Great thoughts. Now when my children have questions about faith I have place to come to for some simple answers that I can share with them.
    Thanks for sharing!



  5. Francis Malombe on June 28, 2014 at 5:52 AM

    This is very helpful for our children, how I wish all could access this!!! God bless you for the sharing.



  6. Rachael enemakwu on July 11, 2015 at 2:31 PM

    Thanks for this post it helped me prepare for my sunday school class and i believe my kids will enjoy the class. God bless u!



  7. Esther on October 17, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    how do i teach that concept of faith to a two year old in a way he or she can understand. I am teaching Rom 10:17 but i dont even know how to teach it to some one with an attention span of 5min or less.



  8. Patricia on February 20, 2016 at 6:21 PM

    Great!!!



  9. David Gerhard on June 22, 2016 at 8:53 AM

    Great study on faith. I am exploring the relationship between Faith Hope and Love in a Family Bible board game called Treasure in Heaven. More info on the game can be seen at http://Www.treasureinheavengame.com
    I am a Sunday school teacher on Sunday and during the week I am a small business man. My wife and I designed and had 500 games printed in China. We have sold or given away about 200 of them.
    I really liked your article and would like to read more. We might be kindred spirits. I’d like to gift a game to you to explore as something you might want to recommend to your readers. We love the Lord and we love children and playing this game with children has been one of the most effective teaching moments I have ever experienced. The game generates questions! I am so glad you asked!
    In his Love
    David Gerhard
    928 220 0695



    • Bo Teodoro on July 13, 2016 at 12:26 PM

      My daughter, along with me and another mom, are doing a “Faith Girls” club this summer for 1st-3rd grader girls. Next week’s topic is “Faith.” Thank you so much for these 10 truths you have so clearly identified from Scripture! I am grateful!



  10. Annastasia on April 4, 2018 at 11:58 AM

    Thank you so much. Iam a mummy of a son who is one and half but very curious to know what faith is coz he hears I and his faith teaching about faith