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5 tips for helping kids navigate the Bible

“The B-I-B-L-E,
Yes, that’s the book for me!
Unless you don’t know how to navigate it,
in which case it just sits on your shelf collecting dust.” I like to imagine that these were the original lyrics to the famous Bible song. (Whatever it lacks in sing-ability, it makes up for with raw honesty.) The Bible is the greatest book ever written—it’s a book that has the power to not only change our lives, but our eternities as well. But how can God’s Word truly plant itself in a kid’s heart if they don’t know how to read it for themselves? Helping kids navigate the Bible is one of the most important things we can do. Here are a few tips to help you do that:
Show them the bones. Teaching kids about the basic “bones” of the Bible will help them get around on their own. Show them how the Bible is broken into 2 sections (Old and New Testament) and 66 books. Show them how each book is broken into chapters (the big numbers) and verses (the little numbers).
Teach them about the Table of Contents. Some kids are Bible whizzes. They can recite the 66 books in order and flip to them like lightning. For the rest of the kids, though, the Table of Contents can be a valuable tool. Point your kids to the Table of Contents and show them how to find a book quickly.
Let them see you do it. Flip through your own Bible as you explain. Let the kids see you navigate the Bible as you illustrate each step.
Don’t be a Bible hog. Instead of just reading to the kids, challenge them to look up the verses for themselves. It will take more time for the kids to find it, but it’s worth the investment.
Give space, give hints, give answers. When you give the kids a verse to look up, first give them space to find it on their own. After a moment, give them hints on where to find it. “It’s in the Old Testament. It’s close to the middle of the Bible. Look for the big number 28.” Finally, when enough time has passed, help the kids who are struggling. If there are kids who are new to the Bible or continually struggle, spend some extra time with them afterward.

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