Alternate Activity 3: How to Use the Bible
Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- A copy of The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
- Optional: Extra Bibles for children to share
- Optional: A copy of the story "Meet Jesus"
Preparation for Activity
- Familiarize yourself with finding a biblical passage (see Description).
- In the New Testament section, find the book of Luke. Locate and read the passages Luke 2:4-6 and 39-40.
- On a sheet of newsprint, write: Luke 2:4-6 and 39-40.
- Optional: Distribute Bibles at work tables for children to share.
Description of Activity
The story "Meet Jesus" refers to specific Christian scripture passages, and this activity gives children a primary source experience with the Bible. The activity is appropriate for children who know how to look up information in books and are familiar with reference tools such as a table of contents and a book index.
Show the children a Bible. Tell them the word "bible" comes from the Greek word for book. Look at the list of chapters at the beginning and point out the Hebrew scripture and the Christian scripture. You may tell the group some people refer to Hebrew scripture as the Old Testament and Christian scripture, which was written later, as the New Testament. Do not refer to Hebrew scripture as "the Jewish Bible."
Look at the first four parts of the Christian scripture, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Explain that these were four men who were disciples, or followers, of Jesus and that each section has stories about Jesus' life.
Indicate where you have written Luke 2: 4-6, 39-40. Demonstrate how to look up this part of Jesus' story in the Bible:
- "Luke" refers to the book of Luke, the third book in the Christian scripture section of the Bible.
- "2" refers to the chapter in the book of Luke where the passage is located. The number before the colon will always refer to the chapter of the book. In a Bible, the chapter numbers usually stand out because they are bigger and bolder than the rest of the text.
- "4-6" and "39-40"refer to the verses 4 through 6 and then verses 39 through 40 in chapter 2. In a Bible reference, the verses always come just after the colon.
If participants have Bibles, invite and help them to find the book of Luke, chapter 2, and verse 4.
When all have found the passage, read it aloud to the group. It is the story of Jesus' birth and may be familiar to them.
For further exploration, look up other passages cited in the story "Meet Jesus." Talk about using the teachings of Jesus, and his message of love and forgiveness. Use these questions, drawn from Meet Jesus: The Life and Lessons of a Beloved Teacher by Lynn Tuttle Gunney:
- Do any of your friends talk about Jesus?
- Have you ever forgiven someone for something? What did it feel like?
- Is it hard to be nice to someone you don't like, or someone who is mean to you?
Including All Participants
Do not put children on the spot to read aloud from the Bible.
You may wish to make large-print handouts of the Christian scripture passages for children to read along silently.