Have you ever thought about how many Bible stories involve food? Whether it’s Abigail preparing food to take to David in an attempt to avoid disaster or the Last Supper, food plays a role in numerous Bible stories and scriptures outside of the context of a story.
The dining traditions and even many of the foods in these scriptures may be unknown to your kids. As a result, when they hear or read about those things in the Bible they have little understanding of what is being said. This can confuse them or even convince them the Bible is too hard to read. The good news is you can have fun, teach them some important food related customs and words and improve their Bible reading comprehension at the same time.
The set up for your “Bible” meal can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. If you have older kids or teens, you can have them do some research to help. The basics would involve creating a table space on the floor with fabric or a tabletop flat on the floor (card tables and banquet tables with the legs folded work great for this). Throw pillows on the floor next to the table for you and your kids to lounge against as you eat. People generally ate with their hands from communal serving dishes, but individual plates and bowls did exist and I’m sure were used depending upon the situation.
The menu can be as simple as rustic bread, dates, figs, grapes, olives, fish (some suggest sardines), lamb, quail (ask your butcher), etc. If you want your kids more involved in preparing the foods, try a lentil soup recipe (spoons did exist then!) or making unleavened bread. You can find lists of every food mentioned in the Bible and authentic recipes with a quick search online.
Want to really teach your kids some important lessons? Have a basin of warm water and wash their feet before they sit at your table. Share with them some of the stories from the Bible involving food. Talk about the things that were discussed at the Last Supper. Marvel at the miracles of Jesus feeding the 5000 and then the 4000. (Fun fact. It is believed the 12 baskets of leftovers at the feeding of the 5000 represented the 12 tribes of Israel. The 7 baskets of leftovers at the feeding of the 4000 is thought to have represented all of the Gentiles who were referred to as the 7 nations at the time.)
Have fun with it. There are so many Bible stories involving food, you can do this more than once, changing the menu to match the story. It’s a fun way to teach your kids some important lessons from the Bible while helping them better understand what they are reading in it.