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Creative approaches for teaching Scripture to children

 

While watching a group of children in a Bible drill, I was amazed at how quickly they located the books of the Bible. Once found, they recited from memory the reference. Silently, I wondered how many adults in the audience could have done the same.

However, this just didn't happen. Their parents, grandparents, Sunday School teachers, and mission leaders made this a priority. Learning the Bible is a lifelong process and like other important values we teach children, it should begin early.

Why should we teach children Scripture? Does it make any difference? How does knowing the Bible provide faith and Christian strength in the world in which we live?

First Baptist Church of Paducah believes in a holistic approach to teaching students Scripture. Steve Moore, student pastor, says, "We emphasize the importance of the whole Bible instead of its separates parts. For example, when we approach any biblical theme, the music and everything we do lines up with the topic.

"We believe the environment is important to learning," Moore said. "Often our youth groups meet in homes where we discuss the truth of the Bible.

Paducah First also teaches the Bible through memorization. "Students are given small pocket memory cards and they are encouraged to memorize verses," Moore said. "I Corinthians 10:13 offered a special meaning for our youth."

Providence Baptist Church in Franklin uses a variety of methods to teach children the Bible, according to Steve Curtis, senior pastor.

"On Wednesday night, children are involved in AWANA, where they learn the value of Scripture and memorization of verses," Curtis explained. "In Sunday School, they study the broad picture of the Bible. Vacation Bible School takes place on Sunday evenings during the month of June. Children's Church provides for biblical teaching for grades 1-5."

During summer break, Providence opens its doors to Day Camp for one day each week. Children play games, enjoy Christian music, and discover the great Bible stories. Day Camp reaches the community and the church ministers to people who may not have a church home.

Steve Heartsill, managing editor of Royal Ambassadors/Children in Action in Birmingham, said, "Since WMU was founded in 1888, we have taught children the importance of personal Bible study. There is no way to better understand the mission of God than to learn it firsthand. When parents and missions leaders point their children toward the Bible, they help them understand God's call upon their lives in context and in a personal way." (WR)

Carolyn Tomlin writes for the Christian magazine market and teaches the Boot Camp for Christian Writers. Email:tomlinm@bellsouth.net

Ideas for teaching Scripture

1. Get Active. While saying a new verse, march, stand up, lie down, and hop on one foot. God made each child an individual.

2. Small Group Bible Drill. It's more fun if several children participate. Learn the correct commands, such as: attention, salute, find … Call on different readers.

3. Learn a Verse-a-Day. If a child learns seven verses a week for 52 weeks a year, that's 365 new memory verses. Make this a daily learning project. Write a verse on a sticky note and put it in a lunchbox, on a bathroom mirror, or in a jacket pocket. Type a verse on a beautiful nature scene as a screensaver for their computer or tablet.

4. Find the Hidden Verse. Print verses on cardstock and hide throughout the house or classroom. See how many cards can be found in a given number of minutes. Read each verse and work on memorizing.

5. Paper Plate Spinner. Use a paper plate, a spinner cut from cardboard and a brad to make this game. Write references of verses you are memorizing on the edge of the plate. As the spinner points to each reference, say the verse.

6. Memory Verse Bank. To make a bank, cover a large coffee can or other container with paper. Cut an opening in the plastic top. Print or type each verse. As the child memorizes the verse, place the slip of paper in the bank.

7. Timeline of Verses. Using a roll of butcher paper, write the date and the reference of verses learned. Use this as a progress chart.

8. Matching Verses and References. Using a Styrofoam board, write Bible verses on cards and pin to the left side of the board. Write references on the left. Use a ribbon and push-pins to connect the correct verse with the reference. Change often.

9. Bible Trivia. When choosing Bible characters, print cards with a description of the person on one side and the correct answer on the back.

10. Bible Songs. Setting Bible stories to music helps children remember biblical truths. "This Little Light of Mine," "The B-I-B-L-E," and "Jesus Loves Me." Substitute gestures for some of the words.

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