If you want children engaged in the Bible, they need to be able to find Scripture verses easily. This Bible skill is what we call Bible navigation. Bible navigation simply means a child is able to locate Bible references by easily “navigating” his or her way through the books, chapters, and verses of the Bible.
Here are a few great tips on how to help kids master the Bible navigation skill.
Start with the Basics
The Bible can feel overwhelming at first. After all, it’s a rather large book, especially for younger readers who are used to smaller books with large type and lots of pictures. So, help them understand that the Bible is really like a small library with just a few really important books. A good place to start is by simply helping them understand how the Bible is organized. Once they understand its basic structure, it won’t feel nearly so big! For help, check out some fun ways to teach how the Bible is organized.
Kids will quickly learn that some books are quite large and others are quite small, just like in a library! Each book is divided into chapters and each chapter is divided into verses. Some chapters are long and others are short. Some verses are long and some are short. The main thing to remember is that every book has chapters and every chapter has verses. Once your children understand these basic principles, they’ll be on their way to mastering Bible navigation with some fun practice.
You should make a big deal out of kids finding their references. When teaching a Bible lesson, make it a point that everyone find their place before the lesson begins, even if this take a while at first. If you have a student who is slower at navigation than the others, it might even be helpful to give them the reference before class so that they can get a head start, or have the reference clearly written on the board before class so that kids can get to it on their own time before the lesson begins.
You want to avoid embarrassing children who cannot find their verses quickly. If you begin sensing a child is getting embarrassed, do not make the situation worse by pointing them out or announcing to the class that you are all waiting on that individual. Just quietly help them fing the verse without drawing attention and note that they need extra time next time.
Some children enjoy announcing when they have found their verses with the phrase, “Finders Keepers.” Explain to your class that when dealing with the Word of God, “Finders Keepers” means that those who read the Word and obey the Word have an easier time keeping the Word in their heart.
Kids love competition, and Bible navigation drills provide the perfect opportunity for a little friendly competition while also strengthening the skill. Navigation drills can be a really easy five minutes of class time, in which you simply call out a verse, the first one there reads the verse and gets a prize. In five minutes or so you could do three or four short verses. Over time this simple activity will help kids master Bible navigation.
Navigation drills can also be done to drill the divisions of the Bible. For instance, you can announce, “Find the first verse of a poetic book,” or, “the last verse of a Gospel book.”
Children are sponges that can really soak up a lot of information and master more than we typically give them credit for. When these skills are presented in a fun and consistent manner, you will be astounded at how quickly your children will be navigating their Bible.
You can see all of the articles by Sarah on Sunday School Zone.