|10 ways to read the Bible with your youth group or Sunday School class|
Ten ways to read the Bible with your class
Students must read the Bible in order to know what it says. It’s often easier to read a passage to younger children who cannot read well, but when you are given the golden opportunity to teach the pre-teen and the teen class, here are a few suggestions to make their reading of the scriptures something they will remember.
1. Find the key verse
If you are studying a chapter or a story, ask the students to find a key verse, that is, a verse that best summarizes the theme. This type of activity requires some time and thought since it requires a good understanding the entire passage. Guide the student to their conclusions by the following steps: (1) first read the passage (2) discuss its main idea/ideas (3) ask they students to suggest possible candidates for key verse (4) let each student choose a verse and defend his point of view with a brief explanation.
For example, ask the students, “Romans 3, is a chapter that talks about the guilt of mankind. Which verse best summarizes the fact that everyone has broken God’s law? Some suggestions might be verse 9, 19 or 23.”
Extensions: Allow the students to create their own “framed text” using the key verse he/she chose. Use crayons, markers, computer printer or whatever your favorite method is to create a text like we use in our homes. Put the texts on the classroom bulletin board or even more impressively, mount their works in real wooden frames. Assign to each student his chosen key verse for the following week’s memory verse.
2. Question Search
Some Bible passages have many questions in them on which the whole story hinges. Ask the students to underline or copy the questions in a passage.
For example, Romans 6 has several bold questions such as “Shall we continue in sin?” “Shall we sin because we are not under law?”
Other example, underline all the questions in Genesis 3. Who asks the questions? Did he/she ask the question in order to receive information or were they questions to provoke thought?
Extension: Ask the students to make a chart of the questions and put it on the bulleting board to use as review for the next weeks. The chart might be colorful, a banner or a face who is speaking his questions in cartoon bubbles. Use your imagination.
3. Name Search
Sometimes simply remembering the names of a story helps the student remember what the story was about. Some examples:
• In the book of Esther, circle the first time each person’s name is used.
Extensions: Create a poster as a class project. After finding the list of names from the lesson, each student is given a different color marker and asked to write one of the names
4. Fill in the blanks
Copy (or type) a Bible passage into your word processor. You can copy and paste the text from the Online Bible Search at www.gospelhall.org/bible . Remove keywords from the passage and replace them with underline characters (Shift key plus minus sign). Print a set of worksheets or display the result using PowerPoint. The whole process takes less than 10 minutes
For example from John 3. Notice that each blank line is numbered so that the teacher can refer to “answer number 8” easily.
There was a man of the (1) ________________, named (2)_____________ , a (3) ___________ of the Jews:
5. Proof Reader
Similar to the fill in the blank method mentioned above, copy a bible passage and intentionally create mistakes by substituting words that change the meaning. Ask students to correct the passage by first reading the passage in their Bible and then correcting the mistakes printed on their worksheet.
For example, the following words from Isaiah 53 have many errors. Type with double spaces to allow room for the student to write his/her corrections. (Technical note: In Microsoft Word, you can choose double spacing for a paragraph by clicking Format > Paragraph, selecting “double” for the line spacing option.)
1 Who hath rejected our report? and to whom is the face of the LORD hidden?
1 Who hath  (believed / rejected / purchased ) our report? and to whom is the  (face / arm / voice) of the LORD  (revealed / hidden / heard)?
6. Story Board
Create a series of pictures with captions that re-tell a Bible story. Ask the students to decide what the pictures will be rather than telling them what to draw. You’ll see more creativity and better understanding. They will have to think for more than a few seconds to come up with their idea. Re-telling a story with pictures utilizes several learning strategies. First a student must read and comprehend the written word. Second, he must select the most important details. Third, he must illustrate the meaning. Remember the point of the activity is not to create beautiful drawings. Rather, the point is to create a lasting impression in your student’s memory of what the Bible says.
For example, in the story of Sampson, ask each student to draw a picture from an assigned chapter of the Bible. Sampson’s life is told in four chapters in Judges 13, 14, 15 and 16. When finished, you will have four captioned pictures to put on the bulletin board. For more involvement, ask for more than one picture from each chapter. For example, three students in a group would draw three pictures illustrating the announcement of the birth of Samuel from Judges 13.
Extension: Bind the finished pictures into a book or display them on the wall in sequence.
7. Remove the Spaces
For a short passage, use your computer to remove all spaces from a passage. Print the worksheets. Ask students to draw a diagonal line dividing each word.
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