How to teach children the Bible


#1

There are “Bible stories” of course but I’m wondering how to teach children important verses and Biblical concepts.

More specifically, I’m wondering if there is a book for children (and even for adults) with specific verses that they should try to internalize by both memory and conduct? It’s like there should be a crash course so that children and adults can “get on the page” quickly. This may also be useful in evangelizing efforts, too. Something like 200 important verses with doctrinally sound brief explanations.

In Judaism, there’s the Schema (Dt 6:4ff) which is also reinforced in the gospels (but not so much in sermons).

(The reason I ask is because I’m 2/3 of the way through reading the Bible in a Year (Augustine Institute) and a lot of Biblical text is difficult, and, quite frankly, boring and almost irrelevant. I got hooked in Catholic grade school but that was through independent reading. The New Testament was so beautiful.)


#2

When my son was younger, we would memorize scripture passages as part of our Lenten practice.

I chose the verses, usually something from the current readings, or some part of Catholicism I wanted Him to have “at hand” as it were.

I made up little cards one year, a little chart another year.

One year my son decided that we needed to memorize 1 Corinthians 13 – the whole chapter from beginning to end.

For me, what was important was choosing scriptures that I thought would be important or helpful to him as he approached his teen years (he’s now 14). Verses from John chapter 6 were high on my list, as were certain parts of parables (“You are the light of the world” and “No one builds his house on sand” for example).

I also chose a few verses from Psalms and Isaiah that I wanted him to have in times of need, such as Dt. 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

In my long-ago experience, protestants tend to memorize the verses they’ll need to lead someone to say the “sinner’s prayer.” I just chose the verses I felt my son and I needed.


#3

PLEASE teach your children the Bible stories! PLEASE!

Many children learn best by hearing a STORY, not a “principle.” They will also remember the stories and characters much better than a list of teachings or precepts.

You can tell children to do the right thing–or you can read the stories of all the people in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, who DID the right thing and how it worked out for them, and you can read the stories of all the people in the Bible (Old Test especially) who DIDN’T do the right thing–and how it didn’t work out so good for them!

Also, they need to know the history of their faith! This is what causes people to hang onto their faith even when an intellectual calls Christianity a “fairy tale.”

I’m frankly shocked that any Catholic can continue being Catholic without knowing how the Catholic Church came to be. But knowing how it all came to be is a wonderful faith preservative.

Knowing the Bible keeps a Catholic sure of the Truth of the Catholic Church. One of the main reasons why my husband and I converted from Evangelical Protestantism to Catholicism is that as we studied the Catholic Church, we saw all the ways that the Bible points straight to the CATHOLIC Church, not Protestantism!

There are lots of good Bible story books–I’ve seen them in Catholic bookstores, but if you can’t find any, go for the Protestant children’s Bible story books. Make sure to get books with gorgeous pictures. Children will remember the pictures all their lives.

I would strongly suggest Jeff Cavin’s “Great Adventure” materials. He is a former Baptist who converted to Catholicism, and has the BEST Bible studies. His children’s materials look wonderful–makes me wish I still had children at home! The one thing I don’t like is the “cartoon pictures,” which make the Bible seem like a fairy tale. So along with Cavin’s material, get a Bible story book with really beautiful, photo-like pictures.

I am absolutely appalled and embarrassed that many adult Catholics have no idea of the timeline of the Old Testament and no idea who some of the most famous (let alone the lesser-known ) Bible characters are and what they did. It’s shocking and it’s a major reason why Protestants do not believe that Catholics are serious about their Christianity. Yes, I understand that “knowing the Bible” is not a precept of the Catholic Church. But it’s a darn good idea and it enhances our faith mightily and it makes us more credible to Protestants and unbelievers…

My absolute favorite Old Testament character is King Hezekiah. I’ve loved his story since I was a teenager. He is even more helpful to me now that I’m older.


#4

There are many children’s bibles and some children’s study bibles. You don’t say what ages but there are also youth study bibles.


#5

Well, all ages. I think Catholics need to get “into” the Bible at all stages of their lives. Yeah, there’s the whole Bible, but there should be a list of verses that are favorites or most inspiring.

Sure, if you already have read the whole Bible, you can make up a list as you go along, for the sake of memory.

The commandment, words of Christ, etc. These should come to mind at times of temptation or trial.


#6

I was raised as a Protestant. Converted at 28. Protestant kids tend to know The Bible better than Catholic adults even do.

I was forced to go to Sunday school, whether I liked it or not, and that was a good thing.

Instead of normal Saturday morning cartoons I always watched Christian cartoons on TBN… I know, I know but they were actually quite good and nobody was trying to get little kids to send them money. Just cartoons that helped familiarize me with Bible stories.

My mother got me a children’s Bible when I was like 6. Then when I was 8 my Grandma got me a kids Bible for okder kids.

I was read Bible stories as bedtime stories sometimes.

Because of all this I was always interested in scripture as a kid.


#7

Yes, those Bible cartoons were fun! Remember “Super Book?”

I used to show these in the Children’s Church class that I taught. No, they weren’t the main lesson, they were part of the Quiet Time when we stopped running around, singing, doing Table Time activities and crafts, and just relaxed and ate a little snack and watched the movie.

For those of you who are horrified at the idea of pulling children out of church for “Children’s Church,” we had ages 3-5 in the class, and they loved it because it was at their level.


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