Use these practical kid-friendly Bible studies to help kids dig deeper into God’s Word.
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 in!
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 steps:
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 definition.
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 and 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 verse.
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 steps:
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 quality.
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 the study.
Take a closer look at people in the Bible. 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 know before.
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 or trio. 5. Tell why this theme is or isn’t important in your life.
Amy Nappa is the executive editor for Group’s Children’s Ministry area.
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 learn best.
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 Bible.
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 way.
Interpersonal-Plan a party or other social event around a theme of your Bible study. Have fun!