Do you ever struggle with teaching the Bible to a Sunday School class or even to your own kids at home because they think it’s boring? God’s Word is anything but boring! There is so much to learn and apply and the experience of doing so can be enjoyable and rewarding if we will just remember and practice some simple techniques:
- Pique their interest. Do your kids know there was another giant killer in the Bible besides David? Have they heard about the mighty man who killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day? Do they know whose dead body Michael the archangel and Satan fought over? Pique their interest by challenging them with some obscure and interesting Bible trivia. Show them how to find the answers using Bible dictionaries, encyclopedias and concordances. Make it fun by issuing the challenge to the entire family and setting a time limit of 24 hours for everyone to find the answers. (By the way, if you’re curious about the answers to the above questions, you can find them in the Learn Something New Bible trivia category of our website.)
- Ask questions. Sometimes, children will express boredom with a particular Bible story that they have heard “a hundred times.” Renew their interest by focusing on a new aspect or vantage point to the story that they may have not considered before. For example, in the story of Jonah the question could be asked, “Did Jonah obey God?” The answer is not a simple yes or no. (See The 3 “Ways” of Total Obedience) Ask thought-provoking questions that can lead to good discussion.
- Challenge them! Don’t ever “dumb” the Bible down to “their level”. Children can understand a lot through patient explanation and teaching. They like to be challenged and to meet our expectations for them. We don’t want to teach in a way that frustrates, but rather, encourages stretching their minds. Many times the mistake is made of trying to make the Bible so simple for kids, they feel that they are being “talked down to” and get easily bored. Set the bar high! Don’t shy away from words or concepts they don’t understand. Take the time to define them or explain them so they have a better grasp. You will be giving them pegs of information that they can use to hang further information on in the future.
- Put it into practice. As you read and study with your children, look for the applications in the scripture. How did it apply to those who were hearing the words of God at that particular time, and how do those same words of God apply to us today? Discuss ways to put into practice the things which you study about. Look for teachable moments later on that can link back to particular concepts and lessons in the Bible that have previously been studied. For example, when one of our kids was faced with making a difficult decision that required courage, we called to mind the lesson of Esther. Romans 15:4 tells us, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
- Don’t be afraid. It is okay to say, “I don’t know.” There are many things in the Bible that our children (and we ourselves) will have questions about; some things we are able to study and find the answers to, others we cannot. It is okay to admit that there are some things we just do not know and no one has the answer except the Lord. Studying the Bible is a lifelong pursuit of learning and growing in the Word.
- Be enthusiastic! We need to have a heart for God’s Word and an enthusiasm level to match. If children see that we think the Bible is boring, they will most likely adopt the same opinion. Be excited about opening the precious word of God and sharing it with them! I’ll never forget a young girl in my Sunday School class who had never heard the story of Esther. By the end of class, we had reached a “cliffhanger” part in the lesson and were going to have to wait until the next week to finish. This young lady just couldn’t wait and breathlessly asked, “Oh! What happened next?”She was an excellent reader so I told her to read the next two chapters to find out. She couldn’t wait to get home and read the Bible! Also, be sure you set the proper example of a Bible student by letting them see you having personal study time. Demonstrate a genuine interest in the Bible classes and church sermons as well, and let them hear you discuss them positively. Children are astute observers and notice if adults do not practice what they preach. Above all, realize that little souls are in your hands. God gives you a great gift by allowing you to impart His Word to them.
What techniques have you successfully used in teaching children the Bible?