A tricky question about Bible study...
How do you tell a Bible story to a group of children or teenagers for whom the Bible story is so well known that they can probably tell it better than you?
That is a tricky question! At the same time the answer is very, very simple: ‘You don’t tell the Bible story.’
What!? You don’t tell the story?
No, you let them tell it to each other in such a way that it is fun, everyone participates, and the only thing you have to do is to ask good questions and share your own story.
Below we look at the ‘Bible study cards’ method.
The ‘Bible study cards’ method
It is so easy to keep telling Bible stories to children and teenagers, but there comes a point at which it is more important to help them learn from the Bible themselves. Telling stories is good. Teaching children and teenagers (and adults) to read and learn from the Bible themselves is better.
To help us do this we have developed ten questions that you can ask yourself when you read a story in the Bible.
These ten questions are specifically focused on the four gospels.
When we used these cards we were doing weekly Bible studies with a group of teenagers from troubled backgrounds. Some of them would and did end up in prison. We wanted them to know a few questions for if they ever found themselves with a Gideon Bible in a prison cell. So we took half a year to go through the gospel of Mark. Each week we gave them all a piece of paper with a short passage from Mark. Then they would pick one of the ten Bible study cards (without looking at it first) and that would be their question about the passage that we were going to look at.
The ten questions on the ten cards are:
1. Read the Bible passage out loud.
2. Tell the Bible story in your own words
3. Which part or words from the story don’t I understand?
4. What does the main character do in this story?
5. What does Jesus or God do in the story?
6. What can we learn from the main character in the story?
7. What can we learn from Jesus or from God in the story?
8. What surprises me in the story?
9. What does this story mean for us today?
10. What did I learn from this story that will make a change in my life?
Because they couldn’t see which card they picked, they had a different card every week. Although they started to grumble about the method after a few months, we persevered. Hopefully they learned to study the Bible for themselves by using ten very easy questions.
How does it work?
You show the children / teenagers ten Bible study cards. If you have more than ten children / teenagers in your group you need to make a few more question cards. Each child / teenagers takes a card without looking. This means that each child / teenager in the group has a minimum of one card. The cards are numbered and as the leader you ask: “Who has card number one?” Once the child / teenager has read the passage out loud you move to card number two.
As a leader it is your task to ask ‘dumb’ questions when kids give pat answers. Don’t be too nice. Don’t accept an easy answer. The key to this is to ask a few good questions following every answer given. Make them work hard at it! But do it with a smile and a joke!
You can download the ten cards here: 'Bible Story cards'