So, you want your kids to know the Bible, but you also want your kids to KNOW the BIBLE, as in know the features of the actual book. Teaching Bible skills is a bit different than teaching Bible truths, but both are important in the lives of children. What, then, is the difference between Bible skills and Bible truths?
Bible truths deal with the many important teachings of the Bible. These are topics such as creation, prophecy, salvation, God’s love and on and on. The promises and the truths of the Bible are what make up the bulk of our Bible lessons however often we may be teaching. This is where we are trying to get God’s message into the kids’ hearts.
Teaching basic Bible skills, however, deals with the Bible as an actual book. Bible skills look at how the Bible is arranged (organized), understanding why the Bible is set up like it is, and learning skills that will help kids navigate through their Bibles better while they are studying or reading. You can find a list of activities that will help you teach basic Bible skills on Sunday School Zone as well as a list of blog posts that may be helpful. Here are a few basic Bible skills that every child should develop…
Memorizing the books of the Bible is a skill that is foundational for every Christian, young or old. If we want our kids to bring their Bibles to church and follow along, they really need to know how to locate and get to the Bible books with little or no help from others. Memorizing the books of the Bible is the best way to make sure your kids can navigate the Bible during sermons and Bible lessons. We have free activities to help anyone learn the books of the Bible.
The Bible is structured in a very orderly way, although a lot of people (kids and adults alike) don’t realize this. Helping children understand the divisions of the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments can help them get a better idea of God’s unfolding story. Our God is a God of order and He ordered His Bible in a certain way for certain reasons. Understanding its organization will help children understand where certain types of stories and literature can be found in the Bible. This is a Bible skill they will appreciate for life.
Once kids know the books of the Bible and the divisions of the Bible, then they can begin navigating the Bible. Navigating the Bible means helping a child hear a Bible reference and then knowing if they are heading to the Old Testament or New Testament, locating the book quickly, locating the chapter quickly and then locating the verse quickly so that they can follow along in their Bible. Navigating the Bible is a crucially important skill, because often a child or teen will feel confused and bewildered during a sermon or study simply because they cannot locate the passages to follow along. They give up and within moments their attention is on something other than the message. When a child knows how to navigate their Bible, God has a much greater opportunity of speaking to their heart through His Word.
Bible skills don’t just include learning ABOUT the Bible. Children need to be learning and memorizing the Bible itself. We have identified a number of verses that would be good for kids to begin learning and memorizing. Some are seasonal to help a parent or Bible teacher take advantage of holidays and other special occasions. Some are shorter verses to facilitate Scripture memory for younger kids. There’s a good selection here to help you with whatever goals you’re trying to accomplish with your kids.
The Ten Commandments should be included among those basic Bible skills that every child (and adult) should learn. We have a good collection of activities and other helpful resources to help with this, including an explanation of what the 10 Commandments mean and a healthy group of free, printable activities related to the 10 Commandments for kids.
Sunday School Zone has a number of free, printable activities to help the Christian parent or teacher teach kids the basic Bible skills identified above.
Until a child (or any person) understands some of the basics identified above, the Bible will be a bit of a mystery. These simple skills can help kids begin to unlock the infinitely valuable treasures waiting for them in this timeless and divine book!
You can see all of the articles by Sarah on Sunday School Zone.