Explaining the trinity to kids

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Doeroftheword, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. Doeroftheword

    Doeroftheword
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    Okay we all know about the trinity as God the father God the son and God the Holy Spirit. Today in my Sunday school class I had to explain the Three but one concept. The hard part was that it was way over the kids heads and they didnt understand the holy spirit and they couldn't with how confusing it was. They made it seem as if Jesus and God are one and so is the Holy spirit but I just think it confuses them. How do you explain the holy spirit to them?

    Another question i have thats on the same subject is do you all believe we will see God the Father and God the Son or see only Jesus in Heaven?

    God Bless
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    There is no way to explain the how only the what is. How is the Trinity possible and how does it work? We cannot say. But we do know by scripture that The Trinity is.
     
  3. Marcia

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    What is the age group you are talking about?

    How about this?

    Draw a triangle and write Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at each point. Show that they are all God (the triangle is the Godhead), but the Father is not the son (go from that point to the Son point), the Son is not the Holy Spirit, etc. They 3 Persons are together but distinct. Explain what distinct means.

    The Holy Spirit is God; He is not an "it," a force, or a ghost (as in what the kids may think of as a scary ghost, in case they've heard the term "Holy Ghost").

    The Trinity is very important to teach; I don't think there is enough teaching on it these days.
     
  4. Jim1999

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    I always remember in England and in the Church of England, the vicar used an egg to explain the mystery of the trinity. Shell, Yolk and white, but one egg. The shell represented God, the overall aspect of the trinity. The yolk was the meat of the egg and represented Jesus. The Holy Spirit carried the essence of the egg, the message, the Saviour inside and the Father outside and overall. I guess it breaks down somewhere, but I remember as kids we were impressed with the egg.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. OldRegular

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    Read Chapters 4 & % of Revelation.
     
  6. Johnv

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    The concept of the Trinity is one of those things we probably can't fully understand as humans. It's easy to overanalyze it. Here's a very simple and effective way to understand it:

    Think of an apple. The apple is made up of the seed, the meat, and the skin. All three together are a single apple, but each has its own separate distinct traits.

    So it is with the Trinity. The Trinity together is referred to as God. God the Son is usually referred to as the Son, God the Holy Spirit is usually referred to as the Holy Spirit, and God the Father is often referred to as the Father.

    Now, sometimes, God the Father is referred to just as "God", while the Son and Holy Spirit aren't. In fact, scripture frequently uses "God" to refer especially to the Father. How can that be? Again, think of the apple. The skin isn't typically referred to as "apple", nor is the seed. But the meat is frequently referred to as "apple" even though it is without seed or skin. Likewise it is with The Father. The Father is often referred to as God, even though its reference might not be inclusive of The Son or Holy Spirit.
     
  7. Crabtownboy

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    There are many analogies that can be used. I probably would start with:

    You are trinity and more.
    You are a child
    Your are a son/daughter
    Your are a brother/sister ... if they have any
    Your are a student
    You are a friend

    And yet you are one.

    I would also, if they are old enough explain what the original word, persona, meant. That puts a light on the subject that many Christians do not know or realize.

    To simply say no one completely understands the trinity, while true, is a totally unsatisfactory answer to any smart, thinking kid.
     
  8. Me4Him

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    You raised a good question, the first idea that came to my mind was "play-doh".

    You could make a little "play-doh man", as God created Adam from dust, breath into his "nose" to show how the "soul" enter the "body",

    and once they were "born again", you would have:

    1. play-doh man, flesh
    2. soul
    3. spirit of God

    By showing that they to could become a "Trinity", like God, I think they would have a better chance of understanding it.
     
  9. Marcia

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    I have to comment on this. This analogy goes more with modalism -- the concept that God is one Person with 3 roles. I would not use this illustration to explain the Trinity. The illustration above is one person in different roles - that is not the Trinity, which is 3 distinct Persons in one Godhead (not one Person).
     
  10. preachinjesus

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    Wow...just, wow

    I think the Trinity is the most misunderstood concept in Christianity. I hestitate to offer this illustration (primarily because it is hard to consider the Trinity intellectually. It is complex, Augustine took about 1000 pages to touch on its fringes. :)

    If I were explaining it to children I would use either:

    a. A glass of ice water...let it sit out in a warm room for a couple of minutes until condensation begins to build up.

    The Trinity is like this ice water (can't believe I typed that.) You have one substance with three different expressions of that substance. Just like with the Trinity you have One Godhead and three distinct Persons forming that Godhead. With this glass of water you have three expressions of H20. Water is its liquid form, Ice is its solid form, and the condensation as evidence of its gasous form.

    This is how the Godhead works. It is one form with three distinct expression. God the Father is like the water, Jesus Christ is like the ice, and the Holy Spirit is like the gasous form. While they are each an expression of H20 each has the exact same root...H20.

    or B, take a thick rope with three cords wrapped around each other.

    Notice how this rope is one single form. It is a rope. But it has three cords of equal length, equal importance, and none is stronger than the other. This is similiar to how the Trinity works. There is One Godhead (the rope) with three distinct Persons of equal divnity, nature, and expression (the cords.)

    B also works using Ecclesiastes 4:12 as a Scriptural text.

    Okay, now let's see how this is received...;)
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    Whole heartedly agree. That illustration could not be more incorrect.
     
  12. Amy.G

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    Good ideas here. I like the rope analogy the best. One rope, three threads, all attached together, yet able to do 3 different things at once.

    Or maybe I just think like a kid! :laugh:
     
  13. OldRegular

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    Most adults don't really understand the Trinity. Isn't it asking a little too much to expect that children understand.
     
  14. Magnetic Poles

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    Yes sir. That is correct.
     
  15. preachinjesus

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    Difficulty is not an excuse for laziness in learning. (I'm not being harsh here, I hope this comes across as understanding and appreciating the difficulty.)

    There are many difficult things out there, but we can, imho, grasp the essential teachings and repeat them when asked. 1 Peter 3:15 is pretty clear that as followers of Christ we need to have an answer for the hope within us that is presented humbly and authentically.

    I was talking with a Muslim about nine months ago. He was going over all his objections to Christianity. I waited until he was done and then began explaining Christology, soteriology, hamartiology, and yes even the doctrine of the Trinity. Yet I never used (outside of Trinity) any of those words.

    Now, granted I have more than a couple specialized degrees in theology and philosophy. I spend my days working through a lot of this stuff. Yet I thoroughly believe every Christian should be prepared to give a credible answer and give further proof through our lives.

    The Trinity examples I illustrated I used. It is a hard concept, it is ridiculously hard when we begin talking about the economic and immanent notions of the Trinity. When we then shift the conversation to the dynamic tension of subordination to the will of the Godhead within the Persons. Yet at its base there is a simple point. I will never have to have a conversation about the economic Trinity with anyone outside of an ivory tower. Yet the simple foundation is explanable to most.

    All that to say just because it is difficult doesn't mean its not worth it. :)

    Again, not being critical or harsh...I just believe Christians should be excellent representatives of Christ and part of that is plumbing the depths of theology. :)
     
  16. Dale-c

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    I have recently been reading a book called the Forgotten Trinity, it has been very excellent.
    Sadly most people (myself included) take the trinity for granted.
     
  17. Marcia

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    I disagree. We can apprehend the Trinity without totally understanding the trinity. We would have to be God to totally understand the Trinity. But God has revealed Himself as Trinitarian; therefore, we can comprehend it to a degree.

    The statement that the Trinity is too complicated to understand is why so many Christians, imo, miss out on the richness of this concept. After all, it is the true God - He is Trinitarian.

    And I think children can get a basic idea of what the Trinity means. To not teach them this is neglectful, imo.
     
  18. Dale-c

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  19. TCGreek

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    If I could somehow package the concept: God is one, yet three persons, and each person is fully God, I'll be okay. :thumbs:
     
  20. OldRegular

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    Don't understand your problem. I questioned: Isn't it asking a little too much to expect that children understand?
     

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