How to Explain the Trinity to Kids

Inside: How to teach the Trinity to kids.

Five tips for teaching the trinity to kids

The Trinity.

One of the most confusing doctrines of the Christian faith. One of the most foundational doctrines of the Christian faith.

How do we go about teaching such a complex topic to children? And should we even try?

Yes, We Should Teach the Trinity to Children

It may be tempting to just skip over this topic until your children are older and more able to understand it. However, here are three reasons to encourage you to start teaching your children about the Trinity from an early age:

  1. It is truth.
    And not just any truth. It is a foundational truth of who God is. Your little disciples deserve to have an accurate picture of the God they are learning to follow from the very beginning.
  2. Little children grow into big truths.
    They may not understand the truths you are teaching them about God and the Bible now, but as they learn and grow their minds will work away at these truths until they come to rest deep in their hearts.
  3. They understand more than you can anticipate.
    I can’t count the number of times my children surprise me by what they grasp. Always give them the chance to surprise you, rather than assuming they won’t understand. Besides, in the grand scheme of things, the difference between an adult’s understanding and a child’s is minuscule compared to the grandness of what no one understands about God.

Five tips for how to teach the trinity to kids

How to Teach the Trinity to Children

Now that you are ready to begin explaining this great mystery to your children, where do you even begin?

As I have begun to travel this road, I have learned a few helpful things. Hopefully these five tips will help you as well!

#1 Be Cautious!

A search on Pinterest or Google will quickly reveal that there are an abundance of object lessons and illustrations available for teaching the Trinity. Unfortunately, with a closer look, most of them are heretical. Yikes!

In our human attempts to explain something that is unique only to God, we often fall dangerously short. Here and here are some great articles that explain this more in depth.

Among the many illustrations that should be avoided are the comparisons to water, an egg, a clover, and an apple. Every time you consider using an illustration such as these, hold it up to some inspection. Does it actually communicate truth about the Trinity? Or is it a flawed, albeit convenient, analogy?

#2 Remember Childlike Faith

Childlike faith is a beautiful thing isn’t it? For the most part, if you tell a child something, they will believe it. Whether you are convincing them of a fairy that steals away their fallen teeth by night or of the truth found in the Bible, children have no problem believing in the unexplainable.

We automatically tend to jump to the assumption that teaching a big concept such as the Trinity to children will be very difficult. However, what I’ve found is that in many ways, their childlike faith actually makes it much easier!

One God being three persons is a concept that boggles the minds of adults, but to a child it is just another awesome thing about God.

#3 Keep it Simple

“There is one God who is three persons. Those three persons are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three persons, one God.”

Done.

Resist the temptation to explain it like a theologian. Keep your explanation simple and marvel at the wonder of God together. 

If your child is older, he or she may have questions or want to dig deeper and that’s okay! Slowly dig deeper together, (here is a good article to get you started) but ultimately, that statement above is the best summary we’ve got, so keep that at the forefront.

#4 Don’t Be Afraid to Say “I don’t know”

Because the truth is… you don’t. 

Be honest with your child that you don’t fully understand how God can be one God and three persons. No human can! Even the wisest scholars stumble to explain this great mystery.

However, here is what I like to return to… If God is truly God. If he is the great and powerful God who created all and is above all. Doesn’t is make sense that we, his created beings, will not be able to fully grasp him? What kind of God would he be if he was so similar to humanity that we could fully understand him? 

He truly is great and glorious, mysterious and wonderful. Is is a blessing and delight that he would choose to reveal himself to us at all!

Let the concept of the Trinity cause you not to struggle in confusion, but to praise him in wonder!

#5 Helpful Resources

Finally, here are some helpful resources I’ve come across when trying to teach the Trinity:

Do you know of any more resources? I’d love to add them to the list!

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