Do children need to learn the Ten Commandments?
It is easy to downplay the importance of the Ten Commandments mainly because of the new commandment that Jesus gives us in John 13:34: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” But does this mean Jesus cancels out the Ten Commandments given to Moses?
I believe the notion is untrue.
I believe God doesn’t contradict himself; Jesus’ new commandment could not have cancelled the Ten Commandments. On the contrary, if we take a careful look at all of the commandments, it is easy to see that they boil down to one thing: love. They teach us how to love God and love one another. Have you ever noticed that?
The New Testament doesn’t contradict the Ten Commandments at all. The New Testament strengthens them and continues to teach love all throughout. The Holy Spirit upholds the value of love because one of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22). So I’ll throw you the question again: why is there a need to teach children the Ten Commandments?
As adults, love may be relatively easier to understand because we have more experiences with it. But children don’t have much experience with love. We are not born knowing how to love. In fact, the first part of Proverbs 22:15 says that “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child.” Because of this, teaching them the abstract and admittedly difficult concept of love is better done through specific and understandable commands. And what better set of commands can we use than the Ten Commandments?
For example, even adults have trouble understanding God’s concept of love. Our previous post tells us that many of us don’t know if God really loves us or not. Similarly, it can be hard to understand how to love God fully. But the first four commandments specifically address this and teach us what to do. Here’s the First Commandment:
I am the LORD your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20: 2-3)
Instead of teaching children what can be a vague concept of love, we can teach them to love God by worshipping nobody and nothing else but him and not idolize people and things. The same can be said with the other commandments. For example, the Ninth Commandment tells us that to love other people, we shouldn’t lie and say false things about them. Again, it is much easier for children to follow specific guidelines to learn how to love.
Now that we have established the importance of teaching children the Ten Commandments, it is time to know how to do this. I did a little research and saw many wonderful resources that we can use. Feel free to peruse this list:
- Make the Ten Commandments easier to understand by simplifying A good and accurate simplification can be found here.
- Use printables to remind children of the Ten Commandments every day. Here’s a printable that you can use to display the commandments at home or in the classroom.
- Make crafts to help children enjoy learning. I found a “Road to Perfection” Ten Commandments craft.
- And sing songs to help them memorize the commandments; I find singing songs an ideal way of helping children commit lessons to memory. Here’s a song from YouTube that my son and I thoroughly enjoyed!
Memory Cross also has resources to help children learn the 10 Commandments. Click this link to learn more.
The Ten Commandments for kids video.
If you have another other resources take a moment and post them in the comment box below.