A Book with 66 Books!
What is in the Bible?
by Revd Sophie Jelley (revised, originally published in 2008)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the variety of material in the Bible.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a Bible. (If possible, borrow a large lectern Bible from a local church.)
- You will also need six A4 cards showing the following words: Stories, Songs, Poems, History, Wise sayings, Laws.
- Have available two benches or the equivalent, one on either side of you.
- If possible, have available a variety of children’s Bible stories from the school library.
- If I asked you what your favourite book in the entire world is, put your hand up if you would be able to name one straightaway.
Listen to a range of responses and discuss why the children like the books.
- Books are fantastic and the great thing about them is that there are books to suit everyone. Hands up if you like books about cars, wizards, pirates, detectives or cooking.
- What book am I thinking about now? It’s in two main parts. One part is a special book for Jewish people, Christians and others. The second part is the Christians’ special book. However, the whole thing is not just one book, but lots of books.
Listen to a range of responses and explain that the book that you have in mind is the Bible.
- Show the Bible to the children.
There are two parts to the Bible: the Old Testament and the New Testament.
- The Old Testament is the part about the time before the birth of Jesus.
- The New Testament tells us about the time of Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and return to heaven. It also tells us about how Jesus’ friends told people about Jesus and how the Christian Church developed.
There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament, so the Bible is more like a library of books than just one book.
- Ask the children about going to the library. If there’s a school library, you could talk about how we choose different books.
Point out that teachers like children to read a wide variety of different books, not always the same kind. Doing this helps us to learn about lots of different things.
- Explain that you are going to create a small human library today.
Invite several children to the front to represent the different types of books that we find in the Bible library. Don’t go into too much detail – you just want to give them the idea that the Bible is a rich and varied collection. Give them the A4 cards to hold. Put some volunteers on the Old Testament ‘shelf’ (bench) and some on the New Testament one.
- Christians believe that as they read the Bible, they get to know God better. There are lots of great children’s books and Bible stories. If available, show some examples from the school library. Even if we find it hard to read the Bible ourselves at the moment, we can listen to others tell us the stories and get to know God that way. Above all, Christians believe that God’s great book, the Bible, is meant to be enjoyed by everyone.
Time for reflection
Think about books. What kind of books do you like?
Do you have a favourite book and a favourite writer?
Do you know any very old stories such as those you might read in the Bible?
Have you ever read any of the stories in the Bible? Which ones are your favourite and why?
Thank you for all the different types of books.
Thank you for the joy of reading.
Thank you for the Bible - for the stories, letters, poems, songs, history and more that we find between its pages.
‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)