Books of the Bible - learning about chapters and verses
This is a lesson outline about how to get about the Bible and work out what is where.
You will need:
- a set of a five A4 cards (three or four sets depending on the numbers of the group) with holes punched so they can hang around the children's necks as large labels. The five cards are labelled with the following headings: Contents Page; Book Name; Page Number; Chapter Number; Verse Number.
- a set of Bibles
- a collection of reference books including, as far as possible: Quotations, Dictionary, Thesaurus, Book of Biographies, Book of Lists, Encyclopaedia, Concordance, Atlas, Computer Handbook, Lists of Web Addresses, Recipes.
1. Introduce the different types of reference books that you have and spread them out around the room, each on a chair.
2. Challenge the group to decide which reference book they will gather around to find answers to various tasks, which you will read out. e.g.
where do I go to discover about a famous person?
where do I go to find out where Timbuktu is?
where would I go to find out who is the world's strongest man?
N.B. There may well be more than one book that fits the bill!
3. Once you have found the reference book, ask what they would do next. For example, go to the index, look up the name, find the page or, in the case of a computer, type in a website or use a search engine.
4. Christians believe that the Bible is a book where we can find out about God. But how do we find our way around this book? In groups of five, give out the sets of A4 labels with the five words (see above) and get them to work out the order they will put those words in, in order to find out information from the Bible.
Once they have got the pattern, challenge the different groups to create a ‘Bible Information Machine’, complete with noises and appropriate actions, to dramatise the process of getting to the right place in the Bible.
e.g. the Contents Page person could be listing all its words by bobbing up and down in stages column by column; the Bible Book Name person could be jumping up and down to advertise where it is; the Page Number person could be rapidly counting to the right number on his or her hands etc. If possible, challenge the ‘machine’ to link up to form a human 'mechanical' reference finder!
5. Give out Bibles to each member of a ‘machine’ and then set them the task to find together a particular Bible reference, which you read out and 'feed’ into that machine. Once found, the whole group reads out the verse together.
You could follow this activity up by looking at one story in particular; perhaps the incident when King Josiah and the priests find the missing Bible in the temple and what they did when they found their way around it again. See 2 Chronicles chapter 34 verses 14-21 and 29-33.
Talk about all this using the following prompts:
I wonder why this book is still the world's bestseller?
I wonder if there are other systems we could use to divide up the Bible to help us find our way around?
I wonder if having verses and chapters for the whole Bible is helpful?
I wonder why so many Bibles are written in double columns?
I wonder if there is anyone who really knows everything in the Bible?