Fictional superheroes can influence kids to do the right thing in difficult circumstances. The Bible, on the other hand, is filled with real-life heroes like Moses, David, and many others. Biblical figures and their stories are the substance of what we teach week after week. But Christian history is also filled with other heroes of the faith that have lived through the centuries since the pages of Scripture were completed. These notable figures can enhance and enrich your Bible teaching.
Why Touch on Figures from Christian History?
Bible class teachers who explore resources and opportunities to include Christian history in their lesson plans become wise and knowledgeable about their faith. But their students also learn far more than just Christian history. They learn that being a child of God means they have a spiritual heritage. That makes each of them part of something much bigger than themselves. By learning about Christians of great faith through history, kids can observe the faithfulness of God’s presence and power in the lives of Christians through time.
Biblical Character Parallels
One way Bible class teachers can incorporate notable Christian figures into Bible lessons is by drawing parallels to important Biblical figures. God used Moses along with his brother Aaron to lead the exodus from Egypt. Teachers can use this lesson to mention historical Christians that played a similar role. Your church’s traditions and the cultural makeup of your class should influence the choices of characters you examine, but you generally don’t have to look far to find appropriate people for your kids to learn about.
Many parallels can be made between Biblical heroes and historical Christian figures because God’s Spirit never changes. He continues to use people today just as He used people in the Bible. Children will soon learn that God remains active when we point out how He continues to help Christians throughout history.
Holidays Commemorate Christians
Another way to highlight notable Christian figures is to build on the excitement of a holiday to commemorate a hero of the faith. Thousands of children wear green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but many of them do not know this holiday commemorates a Christian missionary. Teachers can use the excitement surrounding holidays to lead a brief discussion on important historical Christians. When children make a connection with these memorable Christians, it gives them the feeling their spiritual family tree has roots.
Obedience Throughout History
Teachers can also illustrate how historical Christians obeyed God’s commands in powerful ways. A short discussion about historical Christians can inspire students to apply righteous solutions to the circumstances they face in everyday life. These historical heroes of the faith didn’t make an impact on the world because of their superhuman strength or web-slinging abilities. They made a difference because they were obedient to God and loved people.
God’s Word commands us to be charitable to the sick and poor. It calls us to be brave in the face of adversity. It challenges us to be faithful to His mission when the odds are against us. Christian history is filled with examples of people who followed the Lord’s guidance and His Word. The people were far from perfect, but their obedience to God can inspire kids to obey God and pursue a righteous lifestyle.
Consider taking a few moments during class time to teach about historical Christian figures. Not only will the study enrich the class and lives of your kids, the preparation you do will strengthen your own faith and make you a stronger teacher!*
You can see a list of all of the articles Kim has written on Sunday School Zone.
*This blog is Christian History: Notable Christian Figures (Part 4 of 5). Read other blogs by Kim Bond for suggestions on incorporating other historical aspects into lesson plans in interesting ways.