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The Bible

A book worth reading

by Gill Hartley (revised, originally published in 2007)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To explore the variety and inspiration of the Bible.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a Bible, preferably a good modern translation, inside a pocket, bag, briefcase or shopping bag.

  • Before the assembly, ask the children from two classes to bring one book each (on any subject) into the assembly. You may need some spare books because you will need 66 books in total, not including the Bible.


  1. Ask the children from the two selected classes to bring their books to the front and pile them up one by one.

    Suggest that the rest of the children count the books out loud as they are piled up. You may wish to comment positively on some of the titles as they are piled up.

  2. When you have counted the books up to 66, ask the children if they would like to carry all those books at once. Tell them that you have 66 books in your pocket (or bag, briefcase or shopping bag) right now. Bring out the Bible and explain that it is not just one book, but 66.

  3. Ask the children if they know any of the titles of books in the Bible.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Responses may include the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), Psalms and Genesis. Use any responses that you receive to demonstrate the different sorts of books in the Bible. For example:

    - the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are stories about Jesus’ life (i.e. biography)
    - Psalms is a book of poetry or songs
    - Genesis contains stories about God’s people long ago (i.e. history)

    You might also want to talk about other sorts of books in the Bible, such as:

    - Proverbs, a book of wise sayings and mottoes
    - Acts of the Apostles, a book that contains stories about the first followers of Jesus (i.e. history)
    - the Epistles (such as Romans, Corinthians and Ephesians), letters that were written to the first Christian churches

  4. Illustrate some of the different sorts of literature in the Bible by reading some extracts from a good modern translation or children’s Bible. For example, you could read one of the stories of Jesus birth (such as Matthew 2), a poem or song (such as Psalm 23) and the beginning of the story of Noah (Genesis 6.9 onwards).

  5. Briefly explore with the children the division of the Bible into two sections: the Old Testament, which describes the time before Jesus was born, and the New Testament, which tells the story of Jesus and what his followers did after he died.

  6. Ask what this collection of books called the Bible is for. After considering whatever answers you receive, explain that Christians consider the Bible to be a special book. They believe that God inspired all of its various authors to write it to teach them what God is like.

  7. Explain that other religions also use the Bible: the Old Testament is the special book of the Jewish people.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to think about what they like to read.

Ask them to name the best book they have ever read.

Listen to a range of responses.

Ask the children why they enjoy that book so much.

Listen to a range of responses.

Ask the children if they prefer poems or stories, fact or fiction.

Listen to a range of responses.

Point out that Christians believe that the Bible is true and teaches them how to have a relationship with God and with other people. They believe that it is a guide for their lives, that it is powerful and that it can change the lives of those who read it.

Dear God,
Thank you for books and for writing.
Thank you for the knowledge, fun, beauty and magic of stories, history, information and all types of writing.
Thank you for the Bible with all its different parts.

Publication date: February 2019   (Vol.21 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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