Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bible Lessons

One of the challenges for both parents and Sunday schools is making sure that what they teach children is biblical.  My mother in law has been teaching Sunday school for several years and has made her own lessons and curriculum, because she really wanted to point the kids to God and she didn't find a curriculum that was what she was looking for.  But, when you decide to do all the lesson planning on your own, it is a lot of work.

If you've decided to teach your kids straight from the Bible or make your own lessons, I've found a book that would be very helpful.  Kim and John Walton have written The Bible Story Handbook.  In their book, the Waltons have written a long introduction about why we need to be careful to focus on God in the Bible and not the details that aren't there.  For a long time, I've believed that God put the details that He wanted in the Bible and that the point of the Bible is God, not the people in it.  So often we want more details about the people.  Many Bible storybooks fill in these details for kids--but these details aren't in the Bible and they can often focus children's attention more on the people in the Bible than on God.  This is exactly what the Waltons have been concerned about and the reason for them writing this book.

I thought this was a very good quote from p. 25:
"If we present something as God's Word when it is not, we are misusing God's name.  Students of the Bible expect their teachers to present the authoritative teaching of God's Word as given by the inspired authors.  If we substitute this teaching for some idea we think is important, students don't know the difference.  We are then violating the third commandment because we have attributed God's authority to what is really only our own idea."

After the introduction, they outline important facets of 175 stories from the Bible.  For each story, lesson focus, lesson application, biblical context, interpretational issues in the story, some background information, and mistakes to avoid are identified.  All of this information is aimed at helping us "focus on how each one helps us to understand God and his plan better." p. 30

I think that the Waltons sum it up well
"Realtionship is the goal, salvation is the means, and eternity is the scope." p. 30

If you are reading through the Bible with your children or, like my mother in law, writing your own lessons, this book would be a wonderful resource.  It isn't a book that you will read straight through, but rather one that you will pick up like a Bible handbook, a Cliff notes summary.

On Amazon, you can read an excerpt of the book.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of the book for review from Crossway Books.

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