Although young children can’t read, it’s never too early to introduce the Bible. Kids learn about the Bible from you, the adult. By explaining the Bible to a child, you convey the message that it’s God’s special book for us.
These 15 tips for explaining the Bible to a child help them understand the importance of God’s Word:
1. Let kids know that God speaks to us through the Bible.
Introduce the Bible to youngsters by explaining that it is God’s message to us. That’s why it’s so important! God made sure that everything we need to know is in his Word.
2. Tell children that God “talks” to us in the Bible.
I ask kids, “How do we talk to God?” and they answer, “By praying.” Then I say, “How does God talk to us?” and they answer, “Through the Bible.”
3. Always hold an open book.
Even though you might not be teaching (i.e., reading the words) directly from the Bible, always keep it open to the passage you’re using. And always keep the book in sight of the children so they see it. (Even if you use an iPad or smart phone to look up Scripture during church, kids need to see an actual Bible while you’re teaching. Then again, many young kids are tech-savvy these days. So you also can show them that Bible verses are available on the internet.)
4. Bring your own book.
Encourage children to bring their own Bibles to class. Then make a big deal about it! Have some extras to hand out too.
5. Borrow a child’s Bible.
“Borrow” a young student’s Bible to teach the lesson. Not only do kids love it when their Bible is chosen, but you’re also teaching them that all Bibles are the same. Spread the news that it doesn’t matter which Bible you use to teach and learn.
6. Teach kids a song about the Bible.
While explaining the Bible to a child, harness the power of music. A favorite fun song is “The B-I-B-L-E.” You could change “I stand alone on…” to “I love to hear…” (Little kids might not understand how you “stand” on the Bible.) Plenty of other songs are available too.
7. Go on a seek-and-find mission.
Embark on a Bible Treasure Hunt together. Give children clues to find the treasure: a Bible. Then read Psalm 119:72 together.
8. Provide hands-on help.
When teaching on a Bible verse, look it up and show children where it is in the Bible. Even though they can’t read yet, preschoolers are learning that the words come directly from the Bible.
9. Use kid-friendly resources.
Use tools such as the Beginner’s Bible App to introduce the Bible.
10. Show what makes the Bible special.
Put a pile of books on the floor (favorite kid books plus a Bible) and ask children which one of the books is different from the rest. Then talk about why the Bible is different.
11. Get creative!
Add artistic flair when explaining the Bible to a child. Write out a Bible verse on a piece of poster board. Then add a colorful picture that illustrates it. For example, write “I will trust and not be afraid—Isaiah 12:2” on the poster board. Add pictures of situations in which the child might be afraid so he or she connects the verse to a life situation.
12. Provide basic information.
Begin teaching about the Old Testament and New Testament, and help kids find where one ends and the other begins. Each week you can start the lesson by explaining whether you’ll be teaching from the Old or New Testament and have them find it.
13. Encourage practical skills.
Challenge older preschoolers to actually find a book of the Bible. This works best with some of the bigger books, such as Psalms or Genesis.
14. Start from the beginning.
Teach kids Genesis 1:1 and show them how to find it in the Bible. They’ll be proud that they can look up a verse.
15. Gradually work on learning the books.
Introduce the Bible to preschoolers by teaching them the books of the Bible through song or repetition. Many youngsters learn to recite the books before they can read. Just be sure to do this in a fun way.
What other suggestions do you have for explaining the Bible to a child?