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3 Ways to Engage Older Kids in Bible Study

Written by Dianna Wiebe on .

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:

1. What is the Plain Meaning of the Bible 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.

  • Who
    • Who is the author of the book?
    • Who is the audience the author is writing to?
    • Who are the characters?
    • Who is main character?
  • What
    • What is the main event?
    • What is the message?
  • When
    • When did this happen (time of day, week, or year)?
    • When does this occur in the Bible timeline?
  • Where
    • Where did the events happen?
    • Are there other names by which this location is known.
  • Why
    • Why is this important? Which is not always answered in the passage, but still needs to be asked.
  • How
    • How does this affect the people in the passage?
    • How does this affect me?

Explaining the plain meaning of a passage is the first step to proper interpretation. The next step is to look at names.

2. What are the proper names used in the verses?

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.

3. What are the locations in the Bible verses?

Next, have teens identify the location of any cities, towns, or regions mentioned in your passage using a Bible AtlasThen 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!

If you are looking for a multi-age Bible study, we recommend either the Old Testament or New Testament Overviews to start.


Download this in PDF Worksheet

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