Teaching Theology to Children: Simplifying Complex Doctrines

Simplifying complex theological doctrines for children is essential for nurturing their faith and grounding them in biblical truth.

Justin Hoke

5/22/20243 min read

A family gathered around a table during a home worship session
A family gathered around a table during a home worship session

As heads of our households, it is our solemn duty and joyous privilege to nurture our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. One of the most profound ways we can fulfill this calling is by teaching our children the deep truths of our faith. However, the complexity of some theological doctrines can be daunting, especially when we seek to convey them to young minds. How can we simplify these profound truths without diminishing their significance?

The Importance of Teaching Theology to Children

The Scriptures are clear about our responsibility to teach our children about God. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 exhorts us: "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." This command highlights the importance of integrating theological teaching into the daily rhythms of life. Teaching theology is not merely an academic exercise; it is a means of discipleship that shapes the hearts and minds of our children, grounding them in the truth and preparing them to face a world that often stands in opposition to God's Word.

Simplifying Complex Doctrines

1. Use the Westminster Shorter Catechism: The Westminster Shorter Catechism is a treasure trove of theological wisdom, presented in a question-and-answer format that is particularly accessible for children. For example, Question 1 asks, "What is the chief end of man?" The answer, "Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever," succinctly captures a profound truth in a memorable way. Using the catechism as a teaching tool can help children grasp and remember key doctrines.

2. Break Down Doctrines into Bite-Sized Pieces: Complex doctrines, such as the Trinity or justification by faith, can be overwhelming if presented all at once. Instead, break them down into smaller, manageable parts. For instance, when teaching about the Trinity, begin with the concept of God as one (Deuteronomy 6:4), then introduce the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as distinct persons who are fully God (Matthew 28:19).

3. Use Analogies and Illustrations: Jesus often used parables and analogies to teach profound truths in an accessible way. Similarly, we can use everyday examples to explain complex doctrines. For instance, to illustrate the concept of justification by faith, you might compare it to receiving a gift. Just as a gift is freely given and received without earning it, so is our justification through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

4. Engage in Active Learning: Children learn best when they are actively engaged. Encourage them to ask questions, discuss theological concepts, and even draw pictures that represent what they are learning. This interactive approach not only makes learning more enjoyable but also helps to reinforce the material.

5. Consistently Reinforce and Review: Repetition is key to learning. Regularly review the doctrines you have taught, incorporating them into your daily conversations and family worship times. As you discuss these truths repeatedly, they will become ingrained in your children's minds and hearts.

Recommended Resources and Tools

To aid you in this vital task, consider incorporating the following resources into your family worship:

  • The Westminster Shorter Catechism: This classic catechism provides a structured and comprehensive overview of Reformed theology.

  • "The Big Book of Questions and Answers" by Sinclair Ferguson: This book is an excellent resource for explaining theological concepts to children in a simple and engaging way.

  • Illustrated Bible Storybooks: Using storybooks that vividly illustrate biblical narratives can help children understand and retain theological truths.


Teaching theology to children is a vital part of our role as heads of household. By simplifying complex doctrines and making them accessible, we can lay a strong foundation for our children's faith. As we faithfully fulfill this duty, we trust that God will use our efforts to draw our children closer to Him, grounding them in His truth and preparing them to walk faithfully in His ways.

Let us take up this task with diligence and joy, confident that the Lord will bless our efforts as we seek to honor Him in our homes.