Summary of Activity
Children and families will participate in three sessions where they work together to learn about the “Big Story” of the Bible. They will highlight verses in each book of the Bible. (For use with The Adventure Bible for Young Readers.)
We are trying something new this year for our annual "About the Bible" Rotation. Our 4-6 graders are attending three classes with their parents and we are basically doing an overview of the Bible with them -- highlighting verses in each book of the Bible. We made ribbon bookmarks with little charms that reflect the different categories of the Bible during our first session.
Three sessions is way too short... but at least it is a start. ... I got the idea for the Family Bible class from Faith Inkubators "Faith Stepping Stones." After these three classes, we're going to have a special blessing service as part of worship for the families that participated. Again, an idea from Faith Ink.
...we've got to help families reclaim their role as the primary faith educators of their kids!}
Learning Bible skills will help us as we read and study the Bible.
“Lord, show me your ways. Teach me how to follow you.” Psalm 25:4
Objectives and Life Application:
- Children will explore the concept of the Bible as the “inspired Word of God.”
- Children will recognize that reading the Bible will help them know more about the character of God.
- Children will recognize that reading the Bible will help them understand God’s plan for them and the world.
- Children will recognize the Bible as a “library” or collection of smaller books that fit together to “tell the one big story.”
- Children will learn about the structure of the Bible be able to properly categorize the books of the Bible.
- Grades 4-6 will learn to locate scriptures.
- Children will memorize Psalm 25:4.
- Read the background information sheets and lesson materials.
- Gather necessary supplies.
- Prepare the ribbon bookmarks and sort the beads (see Advanced Preparation).
- Make copies of Bookmark instructions.
- Make copies of the Journey Through the Bible handout for families to take home.
Lesson Plan - Session 1 - Overview of the Old Testament
9:30-9:40 -- Welcome & Introductions (10 minutes)
9:40-9:55 -- Bible Bookmarks (15 minutes)
9:55-10:25 -- Bible Study & Verses (30 minutes)
10:25-10:30 -- Journals (5 minutes)
Welcome and Introductions
Gather the children and their parents together around the tables. Welcome everyone and introduce yourself. Make sure you are wearing your name tag and that all participants are wearing nametags. Go around the circle and ask participants to tell their names and one of their earliest memories about the Bible.
Explain that for the next three weeks we will be going through the Bible together. We will look at the “Big Story” of the Bible and highlight a verse in every single book of the Bible.
Pray something like this: “Dear God, Thank you for this day and for all the people who are here today. Thank you for giving us the Bible, your special Word, and for all the ways you use the Bible to help us know you better. AMEN”
Children will make a Bible bookmark using ribbons and Christian symbol beads for each category of literature in the Bible.
- 1/4 inch satin ribbon in eight colors – 18 inch lengths of each color per child
- Christian symbol beads with large enough hole to thread the beads – 8 different symbols (cross, dove, heart, music note or praying hands, angel, commandment tablets, Bible, ICHTHUS, etc.)
- Optional: Fray Check (found in fabric stores, keeps ribbon from fraying)
- Sort the beads beforehand.
- Cut the ribbons into 18-inch lengths.
- Stack the ribbons on top of each other in order (white, yellow, dark blue, green, purple, red, lavender and orange).
- About 3 inches from one end, tie a knot to secure the ribbons together. This should leave a tail of about 1.5 inches.
- If desired, dab “Fray Check” on the ends of the ribbons.
- To save time, make up sets beforehand – 1 ribbon stack and 1 of each of the 8 Christian beads
- Copy the instructions for ribbon color and Christian beads – some of the ribbon colors have a liturgical meaning – this will extend the learning for many years!
- Pass out a ribbon stack, baggie with the eight beads and the instructions to each family.
- Beginning with the white ribbon and the ten commandment bead, have parents help their children thread the designated Christian bead onto the end of the designated ribbon and tie a knot to secure.
- Make sure the bead will not pull off. Two knots might be necessary to secure the bead.
- Repeat with all 8 beads, following the guide below for ribbon color and bead placement.
|Ribbon Color||Bead||Type of Bible Book|
|White||Ten Commandments Tablets||Law|
|Dark Blue||Musical Instrument||Poetry|
|Lavender||Fish - ICHTHUS||Letters|
As families work together, ask them if the symbols remind them of any stories from the Bible.
Journey Through the Bible – Old Testament
(This idea adapted from Faith Stepping Stones, Faith Inkubators, www.faithink.com)
- Bible Bookmarks that were just completed
- Bible Marking highlighters
- White Board and markers
- List of Old Testament scripture references – one for each family (to take home)
Ask the group to quickly brainstorm what they know about the Bible. Write down the answers as the children and families call them out. After 1-2 minutes, look at the list you have created. Explain that over the next three weeks, we will learn even more about the Bible.
Have the children look at the title of their Bible covers. What is the title? (Adventure Bible)
Why would the Bible have a name like that?
Next have them open their Bibles to the first page. The children should see their names written there. Their church gave them this Bible because we know how important the Bible is in helping all of us grow in our faith.
Review/Introduce these ideas:
- The Bible is like a big library filled with 66 different books.
- There are many kinds of books in the Bible, just like there are many different kinds of books in a library.
- Even though the Bible contains 66 different books, it really tells “One Big Story” of God’s plan for the world.
- The Bible is divided into two main parts - the Old Testament and the New Testament. (testament means agreement -- see Background information) The Old Testament tells stories about Bible people from very early time -- before Jesus was born. The New Testament tells stories about after Jesus was born.
- Turn to the Contents page and have the children note the Old Testament and the New Testament.
- Explain that their Bibles also have some fun and interesting information they can read. (Words to Treasure, Life in Bible Times, Let’s Live It, Did you Know?, and People in Bible Times)
- Their Bibles also have an Introduction page before each book of the Bible. Have them turn to the Introduction page for Genesis. A quick glance at the Introduction page can tell you a lot about the book of the Bible that follows.
- Have children place the white ribbon with the ten commandment tablets here. The first five books of the Bible are called books of LAW.
- Turn the page and have families locate Genesis 1:1. Remind the children that the large (orange) numbers are chapter numbers and the smaller numbers are verse numbers with a colon in between the chapters and the verse. We say it “Genesis one one.”
- Pass out the Bible marking highlighters and the Bible handout (see below).
- Make sure that every parent/child group has a Bible.
- Guide the participants through the process of locating each book and highlighting the designated scripture passage from each book. Read or paraphrase the information included for each book.
- Move quickly, but do not rush the participants. If time runs out before completing all 39 Old Testament books, instruct the families to complete the list at home before the next session.
Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. For 400 years there was silence… We’ll see what happens after that next week!
NOTE: If there is not time to finish all the Old Testament verses, send a copy of the scripture references home with the children and their parents. Instruct them to read through and highlight the verses in their Bibles before the next session.
Closing Prayer: Gather the children and parents together in a circle. Remind them to bring their Bibles next week! Encourage them to spend 5-10 minutes each evening reviewing some of the verses that were highlighted during class. Ask for prayer requests and see if a child would like to close with prayer.
Journey Through the Bible Handout – Old Testament
Keep these sheets as a reference for you and your child. If you did not finish highlighting all the Old Testament verses in class, do this with your child before next week’s session. Next week we’ll move on to the New Testament!
The book of Genesis is the first book of the Bible. Genesis means “beginnings” and this book tells about the very beginning of the world.
Highlight Genesis 1:1
Read the Did you Know note: What does create mean? Genesis tells about how God created the world and all that is in the world, including animals, plants and people. It tells some of the most ancient stories such as Adam and Eve and the first sin. This is an important story because it is the reason the rest of the Bible is written – the perfect world God created got messed up when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God! Genesis also tells the story of Noah and the ark. In Genesis we read about how God called Abraham and promised to give he and his wife Sarah many descendants who would bless the whole world. We also can read about Abraham and Sarah’s son Isaac, his sons Jacob and Esau and then the story of Jacob’s family and especially his son, Joseph. Genesis ends with Joseph’s family moving to Egypt to escape a famine.
This book tells the amazing and dramatic story of how God used Moses to deliver the Hebrews from slavery, bring them safely through the Red Sea and teach them to follow God and worship. The word Exodus means “going out” or exit – the people exited Egypt. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. The Ten Commandments are God’s laws. Following these laws helps us show our love to God and to other people.
Highlight Exodus 20:1-19 “The Ten Commandments”
Read the Let’s Live It note: Ten Commandments.
In this book, God continues to give Moses instructions about special holidays, holy living and worship. If we truly love God, our lives will show it. People will be able to tell by the way we act. The more we grow in our faith, the more like Jesus we become. This is how we become more holy.
Highlight Leviticus 19:2
The Hebrew people were afraid to enter the Promised Land. And so, because they didn’t trust God, they ended up wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.
Highlight Numbers 6:24-26
After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the Hebrews are about to enter the Promised Land. Moses is very old and is about to die. He reminds the people of the amazing and wonderful things God has done for them. Moses dies at the end of this book.
Highlight Deuteronomy 6:4-9
This verse is an important one for families. We see that God wants parents to pass on the faith to their children. This verse is called the SHEMA by Jewish people. This scripture is often put in a mezuzah and attached to the doorframe of their houses. Jesus quoted this scripture in the New Testament.
Do you remember what he called this? (the greatest commandment)
We’re now through the first five books of the Old Testament. What are the first five books of the Old Testament called? (the Law – remember Moses and the Ten Commandments)
The next category of literature in the Old Testament is History. The first book of history in the Old Testament is Joshua. Let’s find the book of Joshua now. Place the yellow ribbon with the Bible bead on it here.
In the book of Joshua, we see the Hebrew people entering the Promised Land or the land of Israel as we know it today. Moses has died and Joshua is their new leader. Joshua is a strong and faithful leader. Read the People in Bible Time note: Joshua. Joshua divided the land between the twelve different tribes or groups of Hebrews.
Highlight Joshua 24:15
Many times the Israelites forgot about God and began to worship false gods and idols. Joshua is reminding them (and us) to be faithful and to serve God alone!
After Moses and Joshua died, the leaders of the people were called judges. This book is full of stories of the Israelites turning away from God and worshiping idols and then repenting and turning back toward God. No matter how many times the people turn away, God is always willing to forgive the people when they return.
Highlight Judges 6:8-10
The book of Ruth is a wonderful love story. One of the important things we learn from this book is that Ruth and Boaz are the great-grandparents of King David. King David is in Jesus’ family line. This book shows us that God loves and saves his people just like Boaz loved and helped Ruth.
Highlight Ruth 1:16
- I and II Samuel
The people of Israel were not satisfied with their Judges as leaders. They wanted a king so they could be like everyone else. These two books tell about Israel’s first King, Saul. Saul at first was a good king, but later he turned away from God. In these books we also hear about David, the son of Jesse. We read about how God chose David to be King of Israel, even though he was the youngest son and just a shepherd boy. We also read about the famous fight between David and Goliath here.
Highlight I Samuel 16:7
- I and II Kings
After King David died, his son Solomon became King of Israel. Solomon built the fantastic Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon is also known for being very wise. Solomon prayed for God to give him wisdom as he led God’s people.
Highlight I King 3:7-9
- I Chronicles
The book of Chronicles goes back and tells about what happened during the time of the Judges and the beginning of the kingdom. (Note that the Bible does not always go in chronological order – this can be confusing to children who expect the story to unfold in order from beginning to end) It also describes how David became King and how he worked to make Israel a great nation.
Highlight I Chronicles 17:26
- II Chronicles
The book of II Chronicles continues the stories of the kings. In this book, the nation of Israel is split into two parts – the northern part, called Israel, and the southern part, called Judah. The people continue to sin and turn away from God. First the nation of Israel falls – and all the Israelites are taken to live in foreign lands (this is called exile). Later the southern kingdom falls too.
Highlight II Chronicles 20:15
This verse reminded King Jehoshaphat that God is in charge! God will take care of us if we trust in him.
The Israelites were far from their homes. In this book, we see that God keeps his promise to bring his people back. Some of the people return to Judah. They rebuild the Temple.
Highlight Ezra 3:11
After Ezra returned to Jerusalem, a man named Nehemiah also returned. He helped to rebuild the city walls.
Highlight Nehemiah 9:16-17
The book of Esther shows how God works through difficult circumstances to take care of his people. God often uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things! In this book, a young and very brave Jewish girl saves her people. This story takes place while the Israelites are still away in exile in Persia.
Highlight Esther 4:14
Job is the first book of a new category of Old Testament literature – Poetry (sometimes also called Wisdom Literature). Place the dark blue ribbon with the music bead on it here.
In this book we read about terrible things that happened to a man named Job. This book helps us understand that bad things do sometimes happen to good people. We may not understand why God lets these things happen, but we know that no matter what happens, God loves us and wants what is best for us. God wants us to trust him. God is so much greater than we are. We can only sometimes get a glimpse of what God knows! But God knows the whole plan!
Highlight Job 42:1-3
Psalms is about in the middle of your Bible. David wrote many of the psalms. Psalms are poems that were often sung to worship, praise or call out to God. There are different types of Psalms. (see Introduction page) Hebrew poetry is different than our poetry – in Hebrew poetry, thoughts are repeated instead of sounds.
There are LOTS of Psalms we can highlight!
Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd…”
One is our memory verse for this rotation:
Psalm 25:4 “Lord, show me your ways. Teach me how to follow you.”
The book of Proverbs is a book of short sayings that help us learn to make wise choices and live a good life. Solomon is believed to have written many of the proverbs. (Remember, he was known for his wisdom!)
Highlight Proverbs 3:5-6
Most people believe that Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes also. The main idea in this book is that it is impossible to have a happy life without God. God should be the most important thing in our lives! He should be number one!
Highlight Ecclesiastes 3:1
- Song of Songs (Song of Solomon)
Solomon probably wrote this book also. This book describes the love that God has for his people. It compares it to the love a husband and wife have for each other.
Highlight Song of Songs 8:6
Isaiah is the first of the next category of literature in the Old Testament – the Prophets. Place the green ribbon with the angel bead here. Prophets were God’s messengers.
Read the Let’s Live it Note : Called by God (page 805).
Highlight Isaiah 9:6
Read the Did you Know note: Does the Old Testament talk about Jesus?
We often read from the book of Isaiah at Christmas time because these scriptures tell us about the Messiah who will come – Jesus.
Jeremiah was a prophet who lived during the time of the divided kingdom. Jeremiah tried to warn the people not to turn away from God, but they didn’t listen. Jeremiah was alive when the city of Jerusalem was destroyed and the people were all taken away to foreign lands.
Highlight Jeremiah 29:11-13
Read the Did You Know? What are lamentations? Note on page 954.
Highlight Lamentations 3:23
Ezekiel wrote this book while in captivity in Babylon. He has many strange visions and dreams. Ezekiel wants the people to return to worship God, alone. Then just like dry, dead bones, the people will come to life again. God will restore God’s people!
Highlight Ezekiel 34: 23-24
Daniel was a prophet living in Persia during the exile. This book tells about some of Daniel’s adventures. Even though he was living in a foreign land, Daniel remained true and faithful to God. In this book, we see that even when things seem very hard, God is still in charge!
Highlight Daniel 3:16-18
This is one of the most well-known stories in the Old Testament. These three men were thrown into a blazing hot furnace because they refused to bow down to a fake god. Amazingly, they were not harmed – in fact, when they came out of the furnace, they didn’t even smell like smoke! Now THAT’S a powerful God!
The prophet Hosea warns the people to turn away from their sin and back toward God. Even though the people were not faithful, God is always faithful! God will never stop loving us!
Highlight Hosea 14:9
The prophet Joel encouraged people to turn away from their sin and back toward God, too. (do you see that the main message of the prophets was “repent” and turn back toward God?)
Highlight Joel 2:13
Amos was a shepherd prophet. He was especially concerned with how poor people were treated by the rich. God wants all people to be treated fairly.
Highlight Amos 5:24
The prophet Obadiah tells us that God is faithful. God keeps his promises. Obadiah tells the nations that have destroyed his people that God will judge them for their actions. This verse can help us understand that God is the one who should judge others. When we are treated unfairly, remember that eventually, God will make things right!
Highlight Obadiah 1:15
Jonah was a reluctant prophet who tried to run away from God’s call. The story of Jonah being swallowed by the giant fish is one of the best-known stories in the Bible. Jonah learns about God’s forgiving nature in this book. God loves everyone! He wants everyone to be saved!
Highlight Jonah 4:2
Like the prophet Amos, Micah was concerned about the poor. Micah teaches us that when we truly love God, our love will show in the way we treat others.
Highlight Micah 6:8
Nahum is a prophet who tells about the destruction of Ninevah. This is the same town where Jonah preached. But now they have turned away from God again and the city is destroyed.
Highlight Nahum 1:7
The prophet Habakkuk was terribly unhappy at the sins of the people of Israel and their enemies. But he understood that God is in control and eventually those who do evil things will be punished. Even through hard times we should love and trust God.
Highlight Habakkuk 3:17-18
The prophet Zephaniah warns the people of Judah that they must not be like other nations. They must worship God alone. They should trust God when they are worried or anxious.
Highlight Zephaniah 3:17
The prophet Haggai lived during the time the Temple was being rebuilt. He urged the people to continue their work to rebuild it and not give up.
Highlight Haggai 2:8-9
The prophet Zechariah also urges the people to finish rebuilding the Temple. Zechariah also tells that someday God will take away the people’s sins. God will come to earth and rule as our king!
Highlight Zechariah 9:9
(Does this sound like a story you know from the New Testament? Who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey?)
After the Israelites returned to Israel from exile in Babylon, many of them no longer followed God. The prophet Malachi reminds us that we should always put God first in our lives. God deserves our very best.
Highlight Malachi 3:17
Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. For 400 years there was silence… We’ll see what happens after that next week!!
- The Adventure Bible for Young Readers. Zondervan
- Blankenbaker, Frances. What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers, Gospel Light, 1986.
Copyright 2004. Permission granted to use for non-commercial, local church use.
Written by Jaymie Derden from:
State Street United Methodist Church, Bristol, VA
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.
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