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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Inductive Bible Study For Kids

photo by John-Morgan

Inductive reasoning is not an easy characteristic for kids to develop, not on their own, anyway. Their thinking is concrete and literal - what you see is what you get. The most important point of reading the Bible, however, is to learn how to take God’s truths and apply them directly to our lives.

Which is a little hard to do when you’re reading the story of Jesus tearing up the temple in a piqued fit of righteous anger. How does little Johnny figure out what to do with that?

We can guide our children to develop the skill of inductive reasoning by leading our family Bible studies with well placed questions. You can start this process even with your preschoolers, modifying the questions so their young brains can understand what you’re asking.

I’ll begin today describing how to get started with an inductive Bible study with your child, then take the next two or three articles sharing the kinds of questions to ask that will help him grow in knowing more of God.

Inductive Bible study makes for a richer family devotion time, deeper in meaning and longer lasting in impact. Give it a try.

Read the passage in different translations
How many different translations of the Bible can one home have, anyway? The answer: as many as you want. Those of us who are students of the Bible will have our favorites, but the benefit of having several to look through is to present a slightly different phrasing on the same passage. Sometimes we can read a passage in one translation and get nothing out of it, while another translation will have just the right wording to make it scream with relevance.

This can be done with your younger child as well, even if what you’re reading is a picture Bible like the Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm. Read the passage about Jesus overturning the moneychangers tables from the story Bible, asking the questions we’ll cover over the next few days. Then, perhaps during the next day’s family devotion time (you’re dealing with short attention spans here, remember), choose a “grown-up” Bible but with an easier translation (perhaps the New Living Translation, for instance), and read the same passage to your child.

At this age your primary goal is introducing your child to important people and events from the Bible, but you can use a modernized, simplified translation to add a different element. I certainly wouldn’t get carried away with this method with younger children or you’ll end up with a squirming, wiggling, disinterested puddle of a child on your floor.

However, do consider using different translations with older children, especially those of reading age. Give each person in the family a different translation to read the passage from and see what each person thinks of how the passage is represented in a particular Bible. It could produce some interesting conversation.

Next article: Asking questions to help flesh out context.

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