I grew up in a home with a formal dining room that we rarely used. My family ate most of our meals around the kitchen table or hunkered down around the coffee table in the living room on Sunday evenings after church. The dining room was only used for special occasions, like Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. In fact, my brother and I knew that we weren’t really even supposed to go into the dining room. I don’t remember my mom telling us not to; but it was something that was just understood.
I see the Minor Prophets as the formal dining room of the Bible—twelve books that most of us rarely venture into. So if we hardly ever journey into these books, do we need to teach the Minor Prophets to kids?
The answer is a definitive yes and here are three reasons why.
1. Teaching the Minor Prophets to kids affirms that all of the Bible is approachable and important.
When we skip over the Minor Prophets, we teach our kids that they aren’t important, that—whether we believe it or not—this part of the Bible doesn’t really matter as much as the rest of the Bible.
Let’s be honest. Some parts of the Bible are more difficult to teach than others, and they require extra effort to teach to kids. But it is worth it because we don’t just want to teach kids the Bible; we want to teach them how to study the Bible too. When we teach kids the Minor Prophets, we invite them into some of the more challenging parts of Scripture and show them that they can mine gold in all of the Scripture—and there is plenty of gold in those parts to be found. Kids who learn this early are well positioned for a lifetime of fruitful and rewarding study of God’s Word.
2. Teaching the Minor Prophets to kids paints a greater picture of God and His love.
Second Timothy 3:16 tells us that all Scripture is profitable—and that includes the Minor Prophets. In fact, some of the most stirring and powerful images of God’s character are found in the Minor Prophets.
Hosea shows the beautiful, unending, and uncompromising love of God. Amos displays the depths of God’s heart for social justice and His loathing of hollow religion. Jonah shows us the zealous missionary nature of God—a nature that desires people from all nations to be redeemed. Habakkuk reminds us of God providentially working all things for His glory and our good, even when it doesn’t seem that way. Malachi speaks of God’s faithfulness to His promises, even when His people disobey.
When we teach the Minor Prophets, our kids gain a clearer, more accurate understanding of God and a deeper love and awe of Him.
3. Teaching the Minor Prophets to kids shows Jesus in powerful ways.
Some of the most well known and powerful Messianic prophecies are found in the Minor Prophets. Verses such as Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9; and Hosea 11:1. But those passages are not the only place we see Jesus in these short books. The Minor Prophets are not about the men after whom they are named; they are all about Jesus.
In Hosea, we meet a prophet who faithfully loved his unfaithful wife, Gomer, and even paid to win her back. Hosea points us to Jesus and the great price He paid to bring us back to Himself.
In Amos, we meet a prophet who warned God’s people, people who thought they were right with God though they lived unrighteously. Amos points us to Jesus, the Righteous One, whose perfect obedience is credited to us when we trust in Him.
In Jonah, we meet a prophet who failed to see other people with love and compassion like God sees them and who reluctantly called on them to turn to God. Jonah points us to Jesus, who lovingly, compassionately, and willingly called on all people to turn to God and who gave up His life so that the whole world might be saved.
In Habakkuk, we meet a prophet who struggled to make sense of God’s ways—especially in difficult times—but eventually trusted God to rescue His people. Habakkuk points us to Jesus, who rescued God’s people by being crucified on the cross—the most evil act in history.
In Malachi, we meet a prophet who warned God’s people to get ready because a messenger—John the Baptist—was on his way. Malachi points us to the One of whom John spoke—Jesus, the final Messenger, who brought good news of salvation.
Jesus is the hero of the Bible—cover to cover—and that includes the Minor Prophets.
There’s one other thing worth mentioning about my parents’ formal dining room. When we did gather there, we had a great time enjoying meals and celebrating holidays with family and friends. Whenever we take our kids into these amazing books of the Minor Prophets, we too can experience something meaningful and memorable.
Brian Dembowczyk is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. He served in local church ministry for over 16 years before coming to LifeWay. Brian earned an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Brian, his wife, Tara, and their three children—Joshua, Hannah, and Caleb—live in Murfreesboro, TN, where Brian enjoys drinking coffee and teaching 4-5 graders at City Church.