Practical approaches to help kids dig deeper into
You burrow through the Bible, searching for choice gems of truth.
When you discover them, you feel such a great sense of
accomplishment and excitement. God opened up his Word to you! If
only kids could realize what a treasure they have in the Bible.
How can you teach children to unearth God’s truths for
themselves-instead of receiving them secondhand? Here’s the
equipment you need to help kids dig deeper into the Bible.
These four ideas provide steps to help middle- to
upper-elementary-age kids with Bible study. The tools for these
studies are Bibles, concordances, Bible dictionaries, regular
dictionaries, and thesauruses or synonym finders. You’ll also need
pencils and paper. So gather the miners and their equipment-and dig
With this simple idea, children learn to examine a verse and
discover the meaning of the words. If you have many children, study
an entire passage. Have children work in pairs, assigning each pair
a section of your lesson’s Bible verse. It’s okay to assign the
same section to more than one pair. Then lead pairs through these
1. List each word in your section.
2. Use a dictionary to look up each word on your list. Make sure
you know exactly what the words mean, and write any definitions
that help you understand the words better.
3. Think of synonyms (words that mean the same thing) for each
word on your list. Write these words beside each word’s
4. Look harder. Are there any other meanings of the words? How
would you explain the words to a friend? List your ideas.
5. Rewrite your section of the verse, using the definitions
synonyms you’ve listed.
For example, if the selected verse is Philippians 4:13, the pair
with the section, “I can do all things…” may end up with: “Any
person has the ability to take action in everything like school,
friendships, sports, or faith stuff…”
6. Have each pair read its translation of the section. Then
combine the translations to complete the entire verse. Discuss with
kids how this Bible study has given them new understanding of the
Use this Bible study when you’re examining character qualities
such as service, love, kindness, or forgiveness. You could also
examine negative qualities such as selfishness, disrespect, or
laziness. Have kids work in groups, and lead them through these
1. Write the quality at the top of your paper.
2. Write what this quality means.
3. Use a regular dictionary to define this quality.
4. Write the opposite meaning of the quality.
5. Use a concordance to find three or more verses about this
quality. Read these verses and write any new thoughts about the
6. Who are people in the Bible who had this quality? How did this
quality help or hurt them?
7. Finish these sentences: “A person with this quality does…”
and “A person with this quality does not…”
8. Answer this question, “How can I make this quality stronger in
my life?” Or in the case of a negative quality, “How can I get rid
of this quality in my life?”
Have groups discuss discoveries along the way or at the end of
Take a closer look at Bible characters. This can be done in
several groups or as a large group. Make notes on newsprint taped
to the wall. Follow these steps:
1. Use a concordance and Bible dictionary to find all the Bible
references connected to this person. Read these verses and write
things you think are interesting, you want to remember, or didn’t
2. Make a timeline of this person’s life using any information
from the Bible or the Bible dictionaries.
3. List the good and bad qualities of this person’s life. How did
these help or hurt the person?
4. How was God involved in this person’s life? Or how did this
person leave God out of his or her life? What were the results?
5. How is this person like or unlike you?
6. What can you learn from this person?
7. How will you change your actions because of what you’ve learned
about this person?
Tell kids the theme of your Bible lesson, such as praise, prayer
or giving. Then have kids study this theme in pairs or trios,
following these guidelines:
1. Use a thesaurus to find words similar to the theme.
2. Use a concordance to find five to 10 Bible verses that relate
to the theme or similar words. Read the verses and write what you
learn about the theme.
3. Make up six questions about the theme, using these words to
start your questions: how, what, why, when, where, and who.
4. Trade questions and answer the ones written by a different pair
5. Tell why this theme is or isn’t important in your life.
Amy Nappa is the co-author of Get Real: Making Core Christian
Beliefs Relevant to Teenagers (Group Publishing, Inc.).
7 BIBLE STUDY IDEAS
Help children strike it rich in their study of God’s Word by
providing equipment to sharpen their God-given aptitudes. These
activities appeal to kids’ different intelligences-or ways they
Verbal-Form groups, and have kids rewrite a parable or create a
new parable to teach others the main point of the lesson. Compile
these in a notebook for children to reread.
Logical-As you move through the steps of Bible study, stop and
have kids think of new questions for everyone to explore. If you
and the class can’t find a reasonable answer to a question, make a
note of it and find the answer from a pastor, a commentary, or
another reliable source before your next class.
Visual-Have kids create maps, timelines, and diagrams to
illustrate what they’re learning in their Bible study. Display
these in your room.
Musical-Learn songs that set the Scripture you’re examining to
music. Or let kids create their own melody for a Bible verse. Learn
about and make various musical instruments described in the
Physical-Encourage children to express what they’ve learned
through dramas or short skits. Present these for other classes.
Introspective-Allow time for kids to work alone, then later
report their discoveries to the larger group. Provide notebooks
where children can keep a record of what they’re learning along the
Interpersonal-Plan a party or other social event around a theme
of your Bible study. Have fun!