When children start to ask tough questions about the Bible, even when they are very young, what should you do?

“Lord, what can I do to help her understand the truth of your Word?” A tear fell onto my Bible as I thought of my pre-teen daughter’s words and prayed for wisdom. At eight, she was voicing questions about faith. “How can a book written so long ago have anything to do with me today?” “How can I believe in a God I can’t see?”

The first time those words rolled off her lips, I thought my heart would shatter. How could my child be asking such questions? Aren’t we raising her to trust the Bible as her compass? Didn’t she accept Jesus as her Savior? Fear and anxiety preyed on my mind for months.

Yet questions are natural and proper. As her questions have continued through the years, four important principles have helped my husband, Jim, and me.

1. Prayer:

I assumed that because our family had daily devotions and attended church, and we laid a strong biblical foundation, our daughter would trust the Lord. When I realized that faith was the work of the Holy Spirit, I began to pray for her like never before that she would know the Lord and grow strong in her own faith. Interceding in prayer is our privilege and our responsibility.

2. Open Communication:

An atmosphere where children feel they are being heard and understood is vital. It’s sometimes difficult to answer questions without getting defensive or emotional, but asking questions isn’t wrong. We may not always know the answers, but we can provide Biblebased resources. Apologetics books or a visit to the Creation Museum, for example, can help children discover that Scripture is the trustworthy foundation for understanding all of life. On occasion we also share how God has answered prayers. So we encourage questions, and we listen.

3. Modeling:

Along with sharing God’s Word, we can focus on being good role models. In real life our children see faith lived out, the importance of walking in the Spirit, and the relevance of the Bible. We’re not perfect, but there’s power when our children see us on our knees at the foot of the cross. Seeing us trust and obey God despite life’s ups and downs shows them the reality of faith in our lives.

4. Trust:

As parents, Jim and I tend the soil of our daughter’s heart by continuing to have family devotions, being open and honest, teaching her how to think biblically, and encouraging her in godly living. Ultimately, though, faith is between her and God. We can lean on the verse, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31).

It’s been four years since our daughter first asked, “How do I know what I believe is true?” This year, as she has been reading more Bible-based apologetics books, God is answering our prayers and blessing our commitment to teach and show her the truth. Now she asks a different question: “How can people not know it’s true?”

Anita Mellott writes to encourage others. Her newest book—a devotional for homeschooling parents—releases this August. When she’s not homeschooling, Anita blogs at From the Mango Tree (www.anitamellott.com).

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