To begin to appreciate the variety and inspiration of the Bible
by Gill Hartley
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To begin to appreciate the variety and inspiration of the Bible.
Preparation and materials
- A Bible, preferably a good modern translation or children's Bible, in a pocket/handbag/briefcase/shopping bag/etc.
- Organize the children from two classes to bring in one book each (on any subject), and bring in some spares yourself, to make up a total of 66 books.
- Ask the children to bring out the books they have brought in and to pile them up one by one. Suggest that the rest of the school counts the books out loud as they are piled up.
- When you have counted up to the total of 66, ask the children if they would like to carry all those books at once? Tell the children that you have 66 books in your pocket/handbag/briefcase/shopping bag! Bring out the Bible and explain that it is not just one book, but 66! Ask if they know any of the titles of the individual books of the Bible. Among the answers you may receive are: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (The Gospels); Psalms; Genesis.
- Use any answers you receive to demonstrate the different sorts of books in the Bible, e.g.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (The Gospels) - Stories about Jesus' life (i.e. biography).
Psalms - A book of poetry or songs.
Genesis - Stories about God's people long ago (i.e. legends, myths and 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 - Stories about the first followers of Jesus (i.e. history).
The Epistles (e.g. Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians) - Letters written to the first Christian churches.
- Illustrate some of the different sorts of literature to be found in the Bible by reading some extracts from a good modern translation or children's Bible, such as one of the stories of Jesus' birth (e.g. Matthew 2 or Luke 2), a poem or song (e.g. Psalm 23) or the beginning of the story of Noah (e.g. Genesis 6.9 onwards).
- If appropriate, 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.
- Ask the children what this collection of books called the Bible is for. After considering whatever answers you receive, explain that the Bible as a whole is considered a special book by Christians. Many people believe that God inspired all its different authors to write it to teach them what God is like. Explain that other religions also use the Bible - the Old Testament is the special book of the Jewish people, and Muslims find the stories of Jesus helpful, for example.
Time for reflection
Thank you for all kinds of books:
for books which are fun to read,
for books which help us in our lessons,
and for books which teach us things we did not know.
Thank you for all the people who have written books which help others to learn.
Thank you for the Bible which has taught so many people about God.
Help us to respect the books which are important to other people.
'The ink is black' (Come and Praise, 67)