Virtually all publishers of Bible curriculum for children utilize Bible illustrations to help convey what’s happening in the story or passage to be studied. This is done for good reason. We’ve all heard the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” and this is especially true when teaching the Bible to kids.
Obviously, cameras didn’t exist in the days of the Bible, so the pictures we create today must be illustrations of some kind that represent a scene from a story or a compilation of things that took place. Some publishers are now utilizing computer-generated illustrations that are increasingly realistic and almost appear to be photographs. No matter how the illustration is created, it can be an important tool in the Bible teacher or parent’s toolbox.
A Bible illustration can grab a child’s attention and spark his or her imagination
A good illustration will allow the child to become part of the scene and imagine what it was like to be there. This is important because it helps kids understand that the people and contexts of the Bible were real. David was a real boy facing a real giant named Goliath. Both of these biblical characters had hopes and dreams as well as fears and anxieties. A picture can help a child get into the mind of a Bible character.
A good teaching picture can also clarify a biblical setting or context
Sometimes a Bible text isn’t intended to provide so much detail that every reader automatically understands what is happening. Consequently, a child may visualize something incorrectly simply because they don’t have enough information or because they interpret certain words incorrectly. For example, Goliath is often referred to as a “giant.” In today’s world of super heroes and super monsters, the word “giant” may conjure up images of someone (or some thing) that’s 50 feet tall. Such was not the case. An accurate illustration will help the child see Goliath as he more likely was.
A good illustration can engage kids in review and dialog about the story
Kids typically benefit from repetition in learning as well as discussion. They generally will do well to hear the story and then review it after hearing it. This provides repetition, but it also allows them to hear what other children are thinking, right or wrong. A picture can facilitate the telling of the story, the review of the story, AND the dialog. Questions like, “What’s happening in this picture?” Or “What do you think Goliath was thinking?” can move children forward in their understanding of the biblical context.
Sunday School Zone has a great library of professional, full-color illustrations that portray many of the great stories of the Bible. And, we’re constantly preparing new illustrations for the site. Like all of the printable activities on the site, these teaching illustrations or pictures are completely free. We hope these illustrations enhance your teaching or parenting and will help the Bible come alive in the lives of your kids!
Author, Speaker, Bible Teacher
See a list of other articles by Rick Edwards.