Looking for ways to engage older kids in Bible study? What three simple things can you do to help teens stay involved and growing their Bible study skills?
As parents, we often have a range of children to teach. Bible study is something we want to do as a family, but how do we keep older kids engaged, while taking the time needed for the younger ones.
Here are three things your teens can do that will help them dig deeper into each passage:
The plain meaning of a Bible passage should include asking the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions of the verses you are studying. Having teens summarize the passage of Scripture you are studying helps them to discover the plain meaning and not simply look for how it applies to them.
Examples of questions for each topic are given below, but not limited to these.
Explaining the plain meaning of a passage is the first step to proper interpretation. The next step is to look at names.
When teaching teens, have them look up the meaning of the proper names in the passage you are going through. The meaning of the name will give them insight into the person and is a fun way to get your older kids engaged in Bible study.
For example, the names of John the Baptist parents give us insights into them and their role.
Zachariah: Remembered by God
Elizabeth: My God is my oath, or Oath
Zachariah was old when the angel of the Lord appeared to him, but God had not forgotten Zachariah’s faithfulness to Him. God had promised, or gave an oath, that one day He would send a forerunner before the Messiah. The name Elizabeth reminds us that God keeps His promises.
Summarizing a passage and then looking up the proper names helps older kids to begin to develop good Bible study habits. After looking up proper names have students map the locations of the passage.
Next, have teens identify the location of any cities, towns, or regions mentioned in your passage using a Bible Atlas. Then have them find the same location on a modern map. Have them make a note of both names. It is fun to see how the names change, for a specific location, through time. It is also interesting to see what is happening today in biblical locations.
For example, Mosul, Iraq today is the same as Nineveh, the capitol of the Assyrian Empire.
Looking up the meaning of the names of cities, towns, and regions can also be enlightening.
For example, Bethlehem means House of Bread. It is in Bethlehem that Jesus was born, the Bread of Life.
As teens practice the skill of finding the Plain Meaning of a passage and begin to look up names and identify locations, they will be well on their way to becoming well grounded believers, who are equipped to study the Bible for themselves.
As a mother and teacher myself, I know how difficult it can be to keep older children engaged in a multi-age class. These three simple ideas will keep your class fun and interesting for all ages!