I recently read an article about how artificial intelligence will transform so many things that the entire way schools teach children must change. The article argued that most of what is done in the workplace will soon be done by machines and robots. If artificial intelligence can provide most of the knowledge and skills traditionally taught in schools, the author suggests, the most important thing we can teach is character. Skills and information might become irrelevant, but character is essential to navigating every part of history—even the years ahead of us.
While I am not sure technology will take over the world as quickly as the author predicts, I do believe that developing our children’s character by teaching them true wisdom is more important than anything else we can do for them.
But to teach character and values, you must have something that defines what is valuable. You need a standard for good character. And, according to the Bible, we find that standard in God.
Raising our children in the age of technology can be daunting. But God’s standard for raising our children is even more daunting—and he helps us reach that standard. God helps us raise our kids to be like Jesus, growing in wisdom and stature and favor. (Check out this article from last year for more about growing up like Jesus.)
Where Wisdom Comes From
The first way we grow to be like Jesus is in wisdom. The Bible teaches us that wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10). This is not a fear that should scare or intimidate us or our kids. In this passage, “fear” means profound awe—a recognition that God is immeasurably greater than us and that he deserves our respect and obedience.
Just think for a minute about who God is and what he has done. These verses from Romans 11 show us why God deserves our awe.
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:33–36)
These verses remind us that God is the ultimate source of all things, including wisdom and knowledge. When we respond to God with the awe he deserves, we are showing true wisdom. True wisdom includes knowing these three truths:
- All things are from God and made through God
- All things are for God. Everything and everyone has a purpose in God.
- All things will be used to glorify God. He is in control of all things. Nothing is out of his control.
We should regularly teach our kids that God is the source of all things. Yes, that includes this great earth and all the animals and people on it—but it also includes all circumstances. Teach them God is the author of their life. God has you and your children right where he wants you on good days and bad days. Nothing can change this. Not a natural disaster, not a political movement, and not even machines and robots taking over many jobs people do today.
How to Teach Our Kids Wisdom
So how do we specifically help them learn wisdom? Proverbs 2 shows us:
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:1–6)
This proverb is telling us that everything we need to teach our kids about wisdom is in the Bible. If we read the Bible to them and with them regularly, they will see that everything in life is addressed in its pages. Hard decisions, friendships, sexuality, purpose, everything.
Here is a practical guide to using the Bible to teach your kids true wisdom. I recommend using the Jesus Storybook Bible for young children. As they grow older (8 and older), use the full text of the Bible.
- Teach them that God is the source of everything (from creation to how we are to live our daily lives).
- Read them Genesis and Exodus
- Teach them Jesus is the perfect model for our life — including that we want them to grow in wisdom like Jesus.
- Read them one of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) end-to-end this year.
- Teach them that we can rely on God’s wisdom to grow. In daily life, point each opportunity, difficulty, fear, and excitement to God’s Word and plan.
- Use Google and see what the Bible has to say about specific topics. For example, look up, “What does the Bible say about success”
- Teach them that we can’t do anything perfectly. Teach them that failure and reaching the end of ourselves is part of relying on Jesus.
- Read them passages like Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23, and 2 Corinthians 12:9–11.
- Teach them that God’s love through the life and sacrifice of Jesus covers us completely and lifts us up to live this life with his power. Remind them, again and again, that even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Read them passages like Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:8–9
- Teach them the assurance that when we trust in Jesus, we will be made like him and will live with him forever in heaven.
- Read them passages like 2 Corinthians 3:18 and 1 John 3:2.
- Teach them how you revere God and love to worship him by ordering your family’s life around his ways.
- Bring them into regular family prayer and devotions
- Take them to worship at church every Sunday