Bible (il)Literacy

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Are today’s kids really Bible illiterate? Let’s dig into the assumptions and realities.

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“Yes, I know who Noah is. He’s that boy on TV on that show.” —Jenny, age 5

“I know Jesus is in the Bible. I don’t know anybody else. Oh, and God.”—Lance, age 6

“I’m not too sure about what the Bible says about how we’re supposed to treat other people. I just try to be nice to everyone unless they’re mean to me first.” —Viola, age 9

“My dad says the Bible is a bunch of stories some guys came up with a really long time ago. My dad doesn’t believe in God, and my mom went to church when she was a kid but not now.” —Jackson, age 10

Kids love our Sunday School resources!

“I read the Bible probably every week, sometimes more if I have a problem. It helps me a lot.” —Katie, age 12

“I like Esther and King David. They both had interesting lives and I’m glad God put them in there.” —Zander, age 12

The kids these quotes belong to all attend Sunday school regularly, come to children’s ministry programs such as VBS and special events, or are the children of church staff. Their words show a wide range of biblical knowledge and understanding—from a near lack of familiarity with the Bible at all to in-depth knowledge of people and events that could rival many adults’ biblical knowledge. A mixed bag, for sure.

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Children's Ministry Magazine

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1 Comment

  1. I am writing because these topics are dear to my heart. I love Scripture and have been teaching children ages 4th through 6th grade for too many years to count (some of my students are now adults, with CHILDREN) And I have always felt it is more important to have them understand it rather than instantly memorize and then forget it. To that end I have always used as many varied ways of teaching as I can: 1) reading plus word games related to the lessons 2) speaking about the lesson and asking questions to try to get them to think and respond on topic 3) Games that are pertinent to the lesson 4) food that is pertinent to the lesson. And yes, I do bribe them. Everyone does get a prize, but they are all rewarded a ticket for the prize when they accomplish something. I have had many different types of students, from Downs to studious readers to hyperactive to dyslexic. Most lessons are geared towards studious readers, so I have to up the ante to keep them involved so they remember SOMETHING, or to make sure my dyslexic students are not left out or left feeling stupid, as I have 2 dyslexic students this year. They have NEVER forgotten the lesson about the parting of the red sea. I used a food craft from online including jello, goldfish crackers, saran wrap and whipped cream. They have never forgotten that lesson.

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