In Big Truths for Young Hearts, Bruce Ware talks about the basics of the faith for young people. I hesitate to say children, because I think of children as 10 years of age and younger.
The topics that Mr. Ware covers are God's Word, the Trinity, God as Creator, Human Nature and Sin, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, salvation, and the church. He covers all the bases. All the subtopics are important ones that young adults need to understand. The short essays address the questions well and thoroughly. They would be more easily read independently than aloud. If you wanted to read them aloud as a family, I would read ahead and consider where you wish to pause and discuss. I would also read while encouraging your children to stop you when they don't understand so that you might pause and address their questions.
This book might also be a good reference for you as a parent if your children ask questions that you aren't sure how to answer or can't remember the biblical references for (as often happens to me). You could also use it to guide your family worship and ground your children in sound doctrine. It is important for them to know what they believe and understand God's Word. It is easy to get carried away by emotions and experience and the scripture says that
Proverbs 22:6 NIV Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
That is our hope as parents--that if we teach our children, then they would choose as adults to walk with the Lord. And it is our responsibility.
I have been pondering the question of how much we should teach our children and want them to learn and understand. How much can they understand? Sometimes we expect too little of them, but we can also expect too much. This is a book that will help you answer a lot of tough questions kids can face about God as they grow up and want to understand. What we and our children believe about God, the Bible, and who God is will help us all when our hearts fail us. Doctrine--what we believe about God--matters. This is a book about doctrine. It isn't a Bible story book. It may be a book that you will pick up with your fifth grader and realize that it is not connecting with them. So, you set it down for a year or two and come back to it when they are older and more mature--emotionally and intellectually. I find that is the case with many good and helpful books. It is also a book that may help you understand how to explain the basics of the Christian faith to someone who doesn't believe in God when they have questions. I find that often books written for children are very helpful.
This is a book with much potential, whose purpose depends on the person in whose hands it is. For my family, it will probably be a reference more than a read aloud devotional. I may also hand it to one of my children to read if they have specific questions. I know many families for whom I think this book would be a great fit for family worship times and devotionals.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of Big Truths for Young Hearts from Crossway Books for review.
My pastor recommended this book during one of his sermons. It is a phenomenal resource. I am using it to teach my two boys (ages 6 1/2 and 9). Do they fully understand every concept? Of course not. But they are picking up on the main ideas (which I supplement with personal illustrations, anecdotes, etc.) and thus are acquiring a firm foundation for more in-depth study as they get older. Each chapter is short enough (2-3 pages) to be covered in about 30 minutes, and we are covering several chapters a week.
"Big Truths for Young Hearts" is an excellent foundational book on theology for tweens and teens. I'd also recommend this book to new believers. The author did an excellent job of explaining complex topics in an understandable manner and without talking down to the reader (or listener).The book felt like a Bible study with all the relevant verses included. I liked how the author gave a balanced, whole-Bible view of the topic and gave the verses so that the reader could see for him- or herself what the Bible said about the topic. He often gave useful analogies or explained hard ("Christian-ese") words in common language. He gave the generally agreed-upon, Biblical overview of various concepts, but he did mention when there was disagreement on the details (like immersion baptism versus infant sprinkling baptism).At the end of the section for each topic, there were two questions to test if the person understood what that section taught. There was also a suggested memory verse related to that topic.The book covered 60 topics that built on each other. The topics included how can we know about God; what is God like; what is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit like and how does the Trinity work; why did Jesus have to die for us; why do bad things happen; what is the church; what happens when we die; and what will happen in the end.Like I said, I was very impressed by this book and plan on using it with a 12-year-old friend who recently came to know Christ. I'd highly recommend it to parents, youth group leaders, and new believers.