Do your kids know the basic facts of several Bible stories? Can they win Bible trivia contests at Church? Can they sometimes correct adults on the details of their favorite person in the Bible’s life? If, so they have made a great beginning on understanding the Bible. Unfortunately, that’s where many Bible school classes stop.
Our children may learn lots of Bible facts, but they don’t necessarily know how those stories and people fit into the big picture of God’s Plan. They may have no idea of how God has principles for a godly life He reveals in the Bible or how to put them into practice in their own lives. Sadly, they may not even understand why any of it matters.
Education majors are introduced to Bloom’s Taxonomy. It explains there are actually several layers of understanding needed to thoroughly understand and use new material. It starts with remembering details and ends with having the ability to take the information learned and create something new to put it into practice. With apologies to Bloom, I have adapted his taxonomy to show how it can apply to our children understanding the Bible.
- Remembering:Your child is encouraged to remember the basic facts of what has been taught. Unfortunately, most Bible classes for children and even teens can get stuck on this level and never move past it. This means kids can quote facts from the Bible, but have no idea what they mean or how to apply them in their own lives.
- Understanding:In understanding, your child is encouraged to put the facts learned into their own words. Christianity has some difficult concepts and words. Just because your child can remember someone was called righteous, does not mean he understands what righteousness is.
- Applying:Some Bible classes for children will include a bit of application. This should actually be a major part of every Bible lesson. Can your child tell you how to take the information in the Bible lesson and put it into practice in her daily life? Honestly, if your children can’t tell you practical ways to use what you have taught them, the Bible stories you have taught have been rendered practically useless.
- Analyzing:Can your child compare the actions of the Apostle Paul to the Fruit of the Spirit? How did Peter and the other Apostles use the Armor of God in their ministry in Acts? Can your children look at their own lives and analyze their behaviors and choices in light of God’s commands and principles? This is a skill rarely taught to young people, but so vital for living the Christian life.
- Evaluating:Can your children defend why they believe what they believe about God and the Bible? We hear discussions of teens making their parent’s faith their own, but we rarely show them how. I love the words generally associated with this level of the taxonomy: appraise, argue, defend, judge, select, support, value, evaluate. Teaching your children to evaluate God’s teachings, select to support and value them and helping them learn how to defend their faith are all essential tools you can give them. It can also help them avoid false teachings by helping them learn how to take something someone claims is from God and teaching them how to evaluate it in light of the Bible.
- Creating:This is my favorite level and one seldom reached in Bible classes with kids and teens. We aren’t talking about coloring pages or foam cutouts. What we are talking about is life changing, world-changing creativity. Can your children take God’s Words and create a life, which is a life of ministry – creating ways to serve others and share their faith? If you can get your children to this level of learning, you have given them the tools they will need to be active, productive Christians in God’s Kingdom.
In my next post, I will give you fun ideas of how to get your children from one level to the next. It may take some time and energy on your part, but helping your children move their understanding of the Bible through all of these levels will vastly improve the odds your children grow up to become faithful, active Christians.