What's So Special about the Bible? Barnabas RE Day

What's So Special about the Bible? is a Barnabas RE Day theme from Barnabas in Schools.

In 2011, the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible was marked with a year of celebration of the Bible in the English language. The translation of the Christian's special book into the everyday English of its generation was a milestone that opened up a whole new world of possibilities. It led to profound changes in thinking that have shaped the culture of the western world and left a lasting legacy right up to the present day.

This Barnabas RE Day is an opportunity for children to revisit the widespread impact of the Bible on life in the UK. The Bible's significant contribution in the fields of literature, art, music, politics, education, morals and the laws of our land cannot be underestimated. This amounts to a compelling educational reason for exploring and celebrating its importance, even after the anniversary year has passed.

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In more detail

Through whole-school collective worship and workshops with classes or year groups, this Barnabas RE Day aims to explore the ways in which the Bible is regarded as the Christian's special book.

In KS1, the focus includes what sort of book the Bible is and the wide variety of stories there are in it. By actively exploring some of those stories, children will have an opportunity to reflect on the impact they had on people then and also what they might mean for themselves and for Christians.

In KS2, the focus also includes what types of stories there are; exploring how they could be thought to be true; and how these stories came together as one book. Using selected stories from the Bible, children will be encouraged to explore the significance of these stories for themselves and for Christians; the struggles to translate this book into English; and the impact the Bible in English has had on so many areas of life in the UK.

Content of the Barnabas RE Day

The collective worship and workshops for this day will be interactive and use a variety of creative art forms, such as drama, storytelling, mime, dance, music or puppetry, to explore the Bible as the Christian's special book.

Each day will be led by a member of the Barnabas in Schools' team, who has wide experience of working in schools.

Sessions will include a selection of the following activities:

  • an active 'Bible workout', which in a fun way introduces the Bible - the number of books, types of writing and general themes
  • a lively circle game that explores the different sorts of writers who contributed to the Bible
  • individual and group drama activities (statue-making and freeze-frames) that look at some of the ways Christians describe the importance of the Bible for themselves
  • an imaginative group exercise that explores the different sorts of truth that are thought to be contained in the Bible
  • participation in up to three particular stories from the Bible (e.g. a story from the life of David; a story from the life of Jesus; and a parable) with reflection on why these stories are important to Christians
  • further experience of particular stories that tell of the impact of the Bible on individual lives, both from within its own pages and Christians today
  • a focus on the story of William Tyndale and his translation of the Bible, on whose text so much of the KJV draws (KS2 only)
  • a reflective story on how the Bible came together as the Christian's special book, including particular reference to the publication of the KJV

Curriculum links

The Barnabas RE Day will give learners the opportunity to do some or all of the following:

Learning about religion:

  • discover the variety of books and writers there are in the Bible
  • understand how some of the books came to be written
  • learn the different ways Christians use the Bible
  • hear some stories from the Bible
  • gain some historical overview to the content of the Bible
  • encounter some of the ways the Bible in English has impacted on life in the UK

Learning from religion:

  • explore why Christians think the Bible is special and why it is a valued text for many local faith communities
  • investigate in what ways the Bible could be thought to be true
  • consider how the Bible influences a Christian's life
  • hear and respond to some stories from the Bible that give clues to its importance for Christian believers
  • reflect on the importance to life in the UK that the Bible in English has had and consider its continuing impact today; and also on how the Bible is a fundamental source text for understanding British culture and history
  • engage with key ideas from the Bible about how communities can grow together

INSET session also available

The What's So Special about the Bible? INSET session will cover:

  • what is the Bible?
  • how Christians view the Bible
  • the Bible now comes to us in many formst
  • the Bible is both one book and many books
  • the Bible contains different kinds of literature
  • the Bible is not solely a history book
  • the Bible has many authors and many editors
  • reflective story - story of the story
  • how the format of the Bible has changed over time
  • from paper to digital