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Bible Literacy – Equipping Children to Navigate the Bible

As our Sword, God’s Word is a tool we must teach children to use effectively in order to live the kind of life God desires for His followers. Teaching Bible literacy skills should be an integral part of our children’s ministry in order to equip children for life today and to lay a firm foundation for their future.

As children progress through elementary school, they are excited to put the new skills they are learning into practice. This is the perfect time to help instill a love for the Word in children as you integrate Bible navigation skills in your teaching and ministry.

Locating passages in the Bible is an essential skill our children must learn. In order to locate verses and passages, children must be familiar with the divisions of the Bible. When we see a reference such as John 3:16, we recognize that this refers to verse 16 found in chapter three of the book of John. However, many children do not understand how to interpret a Bible reference. Some think that the numbers refer to a page number on which they will find the verse. They are confused when they do not find it there.

Bible Literacy – Equipping Children to Navigate the Bible

1. Teach them about book, chapter, and verse divisions.

  • Demonstrate how to look up a verse in the Bible.
  • Talk through each step as you locate the book, chapter, and specific verse.
  • Direct children to the table of contents at the front of their Bibles.
  • Help them understand the breakdown of chapters and verses within a book.
  • Be sure to use child-friendly language when explaining these concepts (the “big” numbers tell us the chapter and the “little” numbers underneath tell us the verse).

2. Practice, Practice, Practice!

After modeling the step-by-step process, give children time to practice finding certain books of the Bible and locating specific chapters and verses. During a Bible lesson, allow children time to find the passage(s) or verse(s) to which you are referring. Allowing children to engage in this process of discovery is a vital step in becoming Bible navigators.

3. Make it Special

As you are teaching these skills, continually underscore the importance of reading God’s Word. Help children understand what a special Book the Bible truly is. As you walk with children through the Bible, you will help to equip them with the skills needed to navigate their own Bibles, so that they will be kids of the Word. Over time, you will be excited to see the children digging into the truth for themselves. Encourage their efforts, and you will help to instill a love and hunger for God’s Word in children so that they will want to feed on it throughout their lives.


This article about teaching Bible literacy originally appeared here, and is used by permission. This article was a Guest Post by Vanessa Small