School supplies are everywhere these days. Most schools give parents lists — sometimes really long ones! — of supplies their children will need for the first day of school. As a longtime Sunday school teacher, I would like to give parents a list for their children’s Sunday school class. You’ll be very happy to know that there is only one item on that list: a Bible. Not a storybook Bible. Not a New Testament and Psalms. The full Scriptures, Old and New Testaments.
Sunday school exists because of and for the Bible. Our goal as teachers is to lead, encourage, and inspire children and youth to know, honor, and treasure the God of the Bible, through trusting in the Savior revealed in the Bible, so that they would live lives in conformance to the Bible. In Sunday school we:
As a teacher, I can cleverly retell or dramatize stories from the Bible. I can provide interesting and fun illustrations that help students grasp truths from the Bible. But if I don’t give them the Bible — the text itself — I have withheld from them the very words that have the power to save and transform them.
Over the many years of teaching Sunday school, my most vivid and delightful memory is watching 35 first-grade children eagerly, and determinedly searching for a passage of Scripture in their Bibles. When they found it, they put their finger on the verse, and looked up at me with bright smiles on their faces. Then, like treasure hunters, we read each word, unlocking its mysteries, finding out about the greatest Treasure and Joy in the universe. Oh for a generation of children and youth who love the Word!
At Truth78, we have a vision for the next generation — a vision of children soaked full of the Word of God; children who see the Bible being read and explained in the home and in the classroom; children who are taught how to properly read, interact with, and study the Bible. We long for a generation of Bible-saturated children who come to embrace God’s Word as sweeter than honey, more precious than gold, more exciting than any game or activity, more powerful than anything in their lives, more long-lasting and life-transforming than any new electronic gadget, and more soul-satisfying than the closest friend.
Here are some practical steps for making the Bible more prominent in Sunday School classrooms:
For parents and teachers: A Vision For Teaching the Word of God (video link).
Classroom tips for teachers:
Want some additional tips for specific age levels? Print out this free handout: The Importance of Biblical Literacy for the Next Generation.