I watched this video called, “The Backwards Brain Bicycle.” In this video, a guy has to re-learn how to ride a bike that was built exactly opposite of how typical bikes are built. He was totally taken aback by how difficult and how long it took him to learn how to ride this bike. He had been riding bikes for over 20 years. Finally, he gets the hang of the bike, but then, when getting back on a normal bike, he finds that it takes him a bit to be able to ride it again.
Interestingly, his young son was able to learn to ride a backwards bicycle in just a couple of weeks, thus, showing that young children’s brains have far more plasticity than our adult brains do.
What really hit me with this video is when the guy says, “Knowledge does not equal understanding.” He had plenty of knowledge on bike riding, but make a change to the bike and all that knowledge went right out the window because he just had knowledge without a true understanding of bikes.
All of this got me thinking that the Church today may have a lot of knowledge, but not a lot of understanding. They can memorize Scripture, but do they truly understand the Scripture? I mean, I’ve memorized Scripture as a young Christian because that was the thing to do. However, it never really touched my heart until God revealed Himself to me through particular verses. I may not have exact verses memorized anymore, but I can come up with them when needed because it’s the meaning of Scripture that matters more than just rote recall.
I think when teaching children Scripture, our focus should not be on rote memorization. It should be on getting them to truly understand Scripture.
Let’s look at what the Bible says about being able to truly understand Scripture and, ultimately, the true character of God.
“And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven'” (Mark 4:11-12, ESV).
“And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual” (1 Cornithians 2:13, ESV).
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (Hosea 4:6, ESV).
*Note: I know Hosea says knowledge but I think it can also mean understanding as God’s people knew Him and His laws, yet they still turned from Him.
“And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, ‘Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear'” (Matthew 13:3-9, NASB).
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25, NASB).
Also, many people seem to believe that they know a lot about children. Some of these people are called Christian child-rearing “experts.” These “experts” claim that all “misbehaviors” stem from children’s “sinful nature” or “defiance” and must be dealt with swiftly through spanking/hitting the children and the use of other harsh punishments. They clearly do not understand child development!
Understanding child development is crucial to disciplining children appropriately. When we see that God actually created children to go through each developmental stage, we can figure out kinder, more merciful ways of guiding them through each stage. The Bible says that children are blessings from God in Psalm 127:3. Jesus says we are to be like children in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 18. Jesus raised the status of children.
We must take time to truly understand Scripture, the true character of God, and our children in order to effectively live our lives as Christ-like as possible. Knowledge may be power. But I believe understanding is where the true power lies!