Why teach your children about Leviticus?
Today we continue our interview with Nancy Ganz, author of Herein Is Love. This is a set of Bible commentaries designed specifically for children. We believe this series is unique, with thoroughly biblical material presented in a warm, flowing narrative. Parents, teachers, and children will gain fresh insights into the biblical texts, insights that will impact everyday life. If you have ever wondered how to make the Bible come alive to your children and to yourself, Herein is Love will do just that.
This interview was originally published in 2010.
Nancy Ganz: This was something that surprised me–the overwhelming positive feedback that I received from adults who were using these books to teach their children. Repeatedly, I have heard from parents and teachers how my books have blessed them, too. (Actually, it is the Word of God that is blessing them; I’m just helping them to understand it.)
As one woman recently wrote to me: “My two oldest children and I have just finished the first book on Genesis and it has been a truly amazing experience. As I always hoped it would, Bible is now the best part of our school day. The kids are excited to do the lessons, and I am excited to lead them. Thank you so much for putting this fantastic teaching tool in my hands … I am amazed at how much [my children] have retained, but also how much they have been able to grasp … I am also amazed at how much I have learned. Reading your commentary really gave me a new perspective on stories I had heard many times before and thought I knew.”
Another surprising thing: I have received feedback from many pastors, who do their own study on a passage, but then look to see what I have to say. These pastors report to me how blessed they are by my work. I seem to be able to take complicated ideas and issues, and write about them simply and clearly, so that even a child will understand.
Jay: You indicated that you have been writing and thinking about this material for a number of years. What are your thoughts now as you look back at your earlier work?
Nancy: One time I was asked: “What do you think about your work when you read it now?” The interesting thing is, it doesn’t seem like my work. “How was I able to write that?” I ask myself. I find my words from twenty years ago strengthen the current me!
Jay: You don’t shy away from telling the whole story that these early books of scripture portray. The portions of the text that speak of murder, sex, war, long lists of regulations and laws, etc., are often glossed over or ignored completely in modern children’s / Sunday School literature. How are both parents and children harmed by failing to focus on these topics?
Nancy: Obviously, I would never want adults or children to “focus” on murder, sex and war. I want people to focus on the glory of God and the goodness of God in the midst of a world that is filled with evil. We have to trust in God and His LOVE for us, in a world that was dark for the saints of old then, and is dark for us now. We have to live by faith in the Son of God–and not waver through unbelief–in the midst of terrible tragedies.
Jay: Along these same lines, what is the value of children being familiar with the book of Leviticus?
Nancy: The book of Leviticus is essential to understanding the New Testament. How can you understand what John the Baptist means when he says about Jesus: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” if you don’t understand the place of the sacrificial lamb in the Old Testament? God was impressing upon us the severity of our sin and our need of a Savior by the continual shedding of blood, morning and evening, day after day, year after year. Sometimes I feel sick just thinking about all the bloodshed. Good. That is what I am supposed to feel. Sin is sickening and the price it required was much more than the blood of innocent animals. It required the blood of the Holy Son of God. Why did God give us the book of Leviticus? He wanted to impress something awful upon us. And He wanted us to recognize the Lamb of God and His Sacrifice, when He laid down His life upon the cross for us. This wasn’t an accident. It didn’t just happen. God was showing us the blueprints of His Great Plan (in books like Leviticus) many hundreds of years before Jesus Christ even entered this world.
Read the final segment of the interview in the next post.