Do you remember learning how to locate passages in the Bible? Those of us who teach religious education to children realize that we have to teach this every year. We must create opportunities in class for kids to find Scripture verses on their own.
One day when I realized we would have a short class, I decided to use the opportunity to reinforce how to find chapter and verse in the Bible. But I wanted to make the activity fun and interesting. After all, it’s a mechanical activity that does not lend itself to the imagination. I wanted to do more than just give the kids a chapter and verse and then have them go look it up. As I was planning my lesson, I remembered that I had bought some cool fortune cookies that had a Bible verse instead of a fortune. I decided to use them in class. The kids would have to look up the verse from their fortune cookies. That sounded fun and exciting to me; I hoped the kids would find it equally fun.
When the third graders came into class that day, they each had a Bible at their seat in addition to their class textbook. Near the end of the lesson I gave each child a special treat: a fortune cookie. Boy, were they excited! We don’t get many snacks or treats in class, so this was really special. When they opened the cookies, the kids couldn’t wait to tell me what Bible verse they got as their “fortune.”
The kids compared their verses with one another, and I asked them to locate them in their Bibles. They really liked that. The class aides and I walked around the room and helped the kids each find their Bible verse. We also encouraged the students with the same verse to help one another.
As they read the verse in their Bible, most of them were confused when they noticed that the words were not exactly the same as those from their cookie. The class was also using two different Bible translations that day. We took advantage of this opportunity to explain how and why there were different translations of the Bible, even among Catholic Bibles. We spent the rest of the class comparing the verses from the cookies with the verses in the Bibles. Most of the kids were excited to share their Bible verses with their parents, and I challenged them to show their parents how to look up verses in their Bible at home.
How do you teach children how to look up verses in the Bible? What ideas do you have to make this a fun and engaging classroom activity?