Passing Down Our Heritage to the Next Generation

Read: Psalm 78:4 “We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”
A living testimony to the multi-cultural heritage and tradition of Asia

Malaysians love our public holidays, and in Penang, we get an extra one on 7 July to celebrate George Town’s inscription onto the UNESCO World Heritage list. This year is also a significant milestone – it’s our 15th anniversary since being inscribed in 2008, along with Melaka, for being a “living testimony to the multi-cultural heritage and tradition of Asia, and European colonial influences.”

One might wonder, what is the big deal about being a UNESCO heritage site? Aside from the practical answer of it being good for tourism and the economy, preserving culture and heritage has bigger implications for a person (and a nation)’s identity and sense of belonging – thereby affecting the way they make decisions, how they live their lives and how they carve out their futures.

UNESCO recognises two kinds of heritage: tangible and intangible. The first refers to structures, monuments and artefacts. The second is non-physical, such as language, beliefs, customs and practices. That’s why studying history is so important: it helps us understand how past events made things the way they are today.

Preserving spiritual heritage

In the Bible, many verses in the Book of Psalm speak of the importance of passing down God’s wisdom, decrees and deeds to the next generation.

  • “…we will tell the next generation… so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.” (Psalm 78:4,6)
  • “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.” (Psalm 102:18)
  • “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:4).

This is a form of preserving spiritual heritage, inherited from our spiritual forefathers who lived in Old Testament times. In fact, when speaking to the Israelites through Moses, God refers to Himself as “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (Exodus 3:15).

As Christians, we have a rich heritage found in the Word of God<

As Christians, we have a rich heritage found in the Word of God. Its truths define our identity, customs, beliefs and practices, no matter which era we’re living in. That’s why we do not behave like the world and we do not conform to its patterns (Romans 12:2). We are a royal priesthood and a chosen people (1 Peter 2:9). That is our ancestry and lineage.

Surprisingly, the word “heritage” has its roots in the Old French, heriter and from late Latin inhereditare, meaning to appoint as heir. As children of God born again into His family, we come from good ancestry and lineage, and we have a good inheritance indeed!

READ: Our Heritage is in Christ (YMI)
READ: Historical context is important when reading the Bible (Spotlight)
READ: Prepare a spiritual inheritance for others (Our Daily Bread)

Past, present and future: a living testimony

The magnificent buildings of George Town and Melaka have been passed down to us to admire and enjoy today, and we make every effort to preserve them for future generations. Likewise, as believers we are to preserve our spiritual heritage and make effort to pass them on to future generations too. But how do we do that?

The past: We study the past in God’s Word, learning stories of faith and failure, courage and cowardice – all relatable human experiences – finding a guide and roadmap in an unfailing God.

The present: We live out these truths in our present day lives, making every effort by His grace and mercy to walk upright in His ways, becoming living testimonies of God’s goodness.

The future: We tell, show, record, document and archive our stories and testimonies of what God has done for us, that our children and their children may have a good inheritance.

If you have a testimony to share, write to us at We would love to hear from you and to publish your story (with your permission).


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About the Author​​

Wan Phing Lim is a contributor to Our Daily Bread Ministries Malaysia. Born and raised in Penang, she studied Politics before turning to a career in writing. She loves coffee, books and films.


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