Teaching Kids the Word of Truth

I was searching for pictures on the Web to illustrate "David Fights Goliath" and found the following:

David fights Goliath
Is this a good picture? Read 1 Samuel 17:41-51. Does the picture accurately illustrate the story ... the truth? What's wrong with it?

It is unlikely that Goliath was holding a sword. In 1 Samuel 17:51, David took Goliath's sword out of its sheath to cut off his head with it. If Goliath was holding his sword when he fell on his face to the ground then the sword would not be in its sheath! Unless he put the sword back into its sheath as he was falling ... Ha-Ha! Or unless he was holding a sword that was not his.

More likely, he was holding a javelin (1 Samuel 17:6) when he fought David.

Teach the Truth

So it is a javelin and not a sword; what's the big deal? The issue at stake is the truth. As teachers of the Word of God, we have the responsibility to teach it accurately.

Because children may not ask deep theological/intellectual-challenging questions, there is a danger that teachers of children do not exert themselves to study the Word of God. It should not matter whether our audience is adults or children; we must ...

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God
as a workman who does not need to be ashamed,
accurately handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
Did I use the above picture? Yes, I did ... to challenge the children to find out what is wrong with it.

Train the children to search the Scriptures

According to Lesson 71, the teacher is supposed to do the following:
  1. Cue the CD to a particular track
  2. Ask the children to open the Bible to 1 Samuel 24:1-22
  3. Say "The story's on our CD. You'll have to listen carefully ..."
I am concerned that the CD is substituted for the Bible. There is a real danger that children are brought up to readily accept "The Bible says ..." instead of reading (and examining) it for themselves.

We should seek to train the children to be like the people of Berea ...
11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica,
for they received the word with great eagerness,
examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
Acts 17:11
Many of the children in my class can read. Instead of having the children listen to the story on the CD, I read the passage from my Bible and have the children follow along in their Bibles. Yes, it takes more effort to help the children to turn to the right passage but it is encouraging to see (some) children in subsequent lessons eagerly turning to their Bibles.

"Reading from the Bible" is the method I use in the "Bible Exploration" section of the Hands-On curriculum. This method helps the children recognise the Bible as the source of the stories and authority.

Read the Bible to the children

The following passages will encourage/motivate you to read the Bible to the children.

11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11

16 All Scripture is inspired by God
and profitable for teaching, for reproof,
for correction, for training in righteousness;

17 so that the man of God may be adequate,
equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

12 For the word of God is living and active
and sharper than any two-edged sword,
and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit,
of both joints and marrow,
and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Here are some tips for reading the Bible

  • pray and read the passage several times in your preparation
  • vary the volume, pitch and tempo of your voice
  • use different, appropriate character voices
  • let your whole body speak ... your face, hands and body to convey emotions
  • maintain eye contact with the children
  • pause at different points to explain difficult words and what is happening in the story

1 Lesson 7, Hands-On Bible Curriculum :: Grades 1 & 2, Fall 2006

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