In this article, I will be limiting myself to teaching children the Bible in the classes arranged by the local church. The basic need for parents to teach their children at home is not in this purview. Also, my comments are mainly directed to the classes for children up to about eight years of age; that is, for that age group in which so many “activities” apart from actual Bible instruction are commonly employed.
What used to be Bible class has in recent decades deteriorated into classes for physical activities. As a result many children of the present generation are not learning the Bible in these classes. At best they are learning some things about the Bible, but not the Bible itself! That which started out as “helps” for Bible study has supplanted the Bible study, and now the “helps” are in the forefront and the Bible is in the background as far as emphasis and actual involvement is concerned. We have put the cart before the horse! Today’s children are all hyped up, overly excited, and conditioned to constant motion, physical activity and noise. They do not know what quiet, attentive, Bible learning is. Most young teachers don’t know themselves! Today’s environment in many Bible classrooms consists of circular tables (which are not conducive to a child’s concentrating on the teacher’s presentation), desk tops covered with crayons, scissors, construction paper, paste, craft items, and other such “helps.” Children move about the room freely, working in group projects, talking, chewing gum, laughing and handling different materials for the “project.” Teachers’ helpers are running back and forth to a “resources room” to get supplies, run the copier, laminate, and do other similar tasks. (These helpers ought to be in adult Bible classes, learning themselves!) When the class is over, the children gather up their crafts or hand-made projects and head out to show to their parents “what we learned in Bible class today”! Continue reading » The Distaff: Bible Class or Activity Class (Which Is It?)