Two testaments, 66 books, lots of chapters, and countless verses make up the Bible. There is so much packed into God's Word. There are plans designed to read the Bible through in a year, but that may seem a bit much for kids. God's big story comes down to some key truths and verses that everyone should know. The following list provides the basic truths and verses that help kids understand that God made them and loves them and that following Jesus is the plan for their lives.
God Made Everything…Including Me!
It starts at the beginning, in the Old Testament. In Genesis, God lays out what happened first. During creation, He spoke all of the things into existence. And His most prized possession was people. Page one says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1) The verses that follow give the details about what God made on each day. Genesis 1:27 states, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." These passages establish the fact that God made it all, including humans.
Psalm 139:13-14 makes a list because it's a reminder that even though God made everything when He creates each person, it's unique. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Kids need to know God made them special, and they are to praise Him for it.
God Loves Me
God's message throughout the Bible always comes down to love. Kids must believe that the God who made them loves them unconditionally. Although that kind of love is hard to comprehend, there are verses that give a good start to understanding it. Isaiah 54:10 says, "'Though the mountains are shaken and the hills are removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord, who has compassion on you." In other words, no matter what happens in life, God loves you.
In fact, He loves you so much that He sent the most wonderful gift imaginable. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) God loves people so much that He gave up a part of Himself to earth, to come and die and take away sin. This was the best way God could have shown love to His people.
We Are Broken, But We Can Be Fixed
Even though God created a perfect world, it was soon broken because people messed it up. Everyone sins, which causes the need for a Savior. If something is broken and left that way, it won't get better on its own. It needs someone to fix it. God is the fixer of people. That's why He sent Jesus. Kids need to learn that Jesus is the only way to get to God. John 14:6 says, "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" That's pretty straightforward. You have to know the Son to know the Father.
How do you do that? It's a process of understanding that takes the head and heart working together. Romans 10:9 gives a brief explanation of how to be saved, "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
Life Isn't Easy
Accepting Jesus as your Savior is a wonderful decision, but it doesn't automatically promise a perfect path in life. There is still sin in the world. People make bad choices. Temptation is always near. But the Bible reminds Christians over and over that hope and trust in God makes that path smoother.
Remembering that the fight is against the devil is important. God can help those who put on the armor overcome and be strong. Ephesians 6:10-12 says, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Life is hard, and it's not always easy to know what to do or how to do it. God's Word gives several instructions on making the right choices and striving to do our best.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all of your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 gives a concise outline for what God wants. "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Through every path and choice, Jesus is with his followers every step of the way. At the end of Matthew 28:20, Jesus says, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Heaven is Real
Though life can be difficult and uncertain, God's love for us is sure. In the end, the Christian's reward will be great. God's promises this much. While we wait, the best homecoming is being prepared. In John 14:3, Jesus gave the disciples this commitment, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
The place being prepared in heaven. It's real and going to be the most wonderful reward we could ever imagine. Revelation 2:10b gives this promise, "Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor's crown."
To understand God's love and live for Him, the Bible gives plenty of verses to help kids stay grounded in the truth. You can teach these to kids and guide them in hiding God's Word in their hearts and minds. From this ultimate list, they can trust that God made them and loves them. They can know that their brokenness can be fixed, get tips on how to live for Jesus, and look forward to a future in heaven.