New! – Books of the Bible Cards

Looking for new ideas for teaching the books of the Bible to your class? These Books of the Bible Cards are a great way for kids to interact with and learn the books of the Bible.

Books of the Bible CardsDownload your free Books of the Bible Card Pack here. Print them on cardstock and be ready to play with your students!

Here are some fun Books of the Bible Cards Game and Activities Ideas:

Matching

Required: 2 decks (can also be played with more decks for a really large group)

Best played with a larger group i.e. 10+ children

Goal: To be the first person to run out of cards

  1. Shuffle decks together and then deal out all the cards to everyone. (Not everyone will get the same number of cards. That’s okay. If you deal out extras, the people with the most cards should go first).
  2. On their turn, the player calls out the name of one of the books of the Bible displayed on a card in their hand. Everyone searches their hand for that card and the person who has an exact match gives their card to the person who called for it. Both cards are placed in front of the caller and they earn a point.
  3. The person who gave up their card goes next, calling out the name of a book of the Bible.
  4. Play continues until one person runs out of cards. (Hint: It’s not always the caller!)

 

Trade

Required: 1 deck (can be played with more decks)

Recommended: for older children

Goal: The goal is to run out of cards.

  1. Shuffle the deck and then deal out an equal number of cards to everyone. As soon as you cannot deal out an equal number of cards, put the rest in the middle, face-down.
  2. Play proceeds clockwise: On their turn, players can choose 1 of three actions: (1) exchange a card with one of the face-down cards in the middle table (2) trade one card with any other player at the table as a blind trade (3) call out “all trade” and everyone must place one card face-down on the table and give it to the person on the left.
  3. Each player attempts to collect a run of at least 4 books of the Bible (i.e. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers. A run that bridges Old Testament to New Testament is also acceptable, i.e. Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Mark). Note: Depending on the number of players and their skill level and the number of decks you are using, you may want to adjust the goal. Make it easier by getting a run of 3 books or make it harder with a run of 5 books.
  4. When a player achieves a run, they can place it immediately on the table. Players who have a run are able to add to their runs or any other run laid down on the table as soon as they have a card (not as an action on their turn).
  5. The first player to run out of cards wins.

 

Charades

Required: 1 deck and an egg timer

Goal: To get the other team to name the book of the Bible

Set-up: Divide the class into 3 or more teams

  1. The teacher shuffles the deck but keeps the cards altogether and face-down in front of them.
  2. A team is chosen to go first and a team member chooses a card from the teacher’s deck at random.
  3. The team with the card decides on actions with the goal of getting the other teams to correctly guess the book of the Bible. Like charades, the actions must be silent and should not include using letters or numbers or mouthing the name of the book. And, the actions should aim to include all members of the team (for example, they can all perform the same action or they can work together for a quick and silent “skit”). For example, if a team draws the book of Exodus, they might have a character play Moses as he raises his hands, and the rest of the characters as Israelites crossing the sea.
  4. The team acts out the name of the Bible book. When the book is correctly guessed, the team that guessed AND the team that acted gets a point. If no one guesses in the allotted time, no one gets any points.

Note: A teacher might need to help the children identify a correct story in the book (encourage the children to check in their Bible) and provide guidance on some of the minor prophets or epistles.

 

Find the Bible

Required: 1 deck

Goal: To have the kids cooperate to find the books of the Bible and arrange them in order

Set-up: Hide the Books of the Bible Cards around your classroom

  1. Have the children locate the cards and put them in order. Older children may work from memory; younger children can consult a Bible’s table of contents.

 

Bible Book Relay

Required: 1 deck of Books of the Bible Cards per team

Goal: To be the first team to correctly order their cards.

Set-up: Divide the children into teams. For each team, shuffle the deck and put 5 cards face-down in front of the team. Place the rest of the cards on the other side of the room directly opposite the team face-down in a messy pile. Repeat with a new deck for each team.

  1. On go, each team will turn over their cards and start putting them in order. At the same time, each team may send one player at a time to the other end of the room to pick up one card and bring it back to the team. Each team will send one player at a time until they have all their cards. Meanwhile, the rest of the team puts the cards in order. The first team to organize all their cards correctly wins.
  2. Encourage teams to strategize. For example, they can split up into Old Testament and New Testament mini-teams in order to organize their cards faster.

 

Books of the Bible Go Fish!

Required: 2 or more decks of Books of the Bible Cards

Goal: To have the most matches at the end of the game

Best Played With: 2-6 children

Set-up: Choose a testament or division to focus on (ex. New Testament, Major & Minor Prophets, Epistles). Remove the corresponding cards from the decks and set the rest of the cards aside. Shuffle the cards and deal 5 cards to each player. Place the rest of the cards face down in the middle of the table.

  1. Before starting the game, all of the players put any pairs they happen to have in their hand down in front of them.
  2. Choose a player to go first.
  3. That player will ask another player if they have a particular card. For example, “Hayley, do you have the book of Romans?” If the player asked has the card, they must hand it over. If they do not, they say, “Go Fish.” (The player must have the card they are asking for in their hand.)
  4. If the player is told to “go fish,” they must pick a card from the deck in middle of the table.
  5. Whenever any player gets a match, they lay the cards down on the table in front of them.
  6. If a player runs out of cards, they pick up 5 from the pile in the middle.
  7. Play continues until all cards are gone from the middle. The player with the most matches wins.

 

Find the Match

Required: 2 decks of Books of the Bible Cards

Goal: To find as many matches as you can in the allotted time.

Best Played With: Younger Children

Set-up: Choose Old or New Testament. Remove those cards from the decks and put the rest of the cards away. Tape the cards from one deck to the walls of your classroom. Shuffle the other deck and spread the cards out on the table or floor.

  1. Children will choose one card from the pile and find its match on the walls.
  2. They can keep any matches they find.
  3. Children can only match one card at a time.

 

 

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Robert Munch 17:17 – Teaching Bible Skills – The Reference

“At bedtime I was sharing with Nicholas about what true friendship is. I ended by saying: “The bible says that a friend loves at all times!” Nicholas exclaimed “I know, Robert Munch 17:17!” “What?” I asked for clarification. He explained “Robert Munch 17:17! That’s the bible verse that says that a friend loves at all times.” Later I checked. Sure enough, the verse is found in Proverbs 17:17. Or as the cool kids call it Robert Munch 17:17.”

To a 5 year old, Robert Munch 17:17 makes just about as much sense as Proverbs 17:17. The books of the Bible are for the most part unfamiliar words for kids – Leviticus, Obadiah, Ecclesiastes, Thessalonians, and Philemon are just a few examples. The books of the Bible are just one part of the reference though.

Bible SkillsThe reference itself is an unfamiliar concept for kids. The Bible is the only book that is set up with books, chapters, and verses and the Bible is the only book that uses references as a means of locating information within a book.

When teaching Bible skills, one of your biggest jobs is to take what is unfamiliar and make it familiar.

Start With What Kids are Familiar With

Start with what kids are familiar with – chapter books. Kids understand that a book has a name and chapters. Show kids a chapter book and ask them to show you the title of the book and a chapter in the book. During this activity, ask the children to tell you what a book is and what a chapter is.

Once it is clear that all of the students understand what a book and a chapter is, show them a Bible. Ask them how the Bible is different from the chapter book you showed them (it is a library of books).

A Library of Books!

The first step to understanding a reference is to understand that the Bible is one book and a library of books! The Bible is one book that holds 66 different books. That is a lot! With so many books in one place, there needs to be a way to organize everything so that information can be found.

Each of the books in the Bible has its own name. Ask your students to show you a book in the Bible. Most Bibles have an introductory page for each book (this may be the page a student shows you). This introductory page is one of the ways the Bible is organized. Each book also has the name at the top of the page for each page in the book (some students may show you a page within the book with the title at the top).

Give kids lots of opportunities to practice finding books in the Bible. Remind them often that if they are lost, they can check the top of the page to find what book they are currently in.

The Chapter

Each book is divided into chapters. Show your students the chapter book again. In chapter books, the chapter is given a title and/or a number. Tell them that the way the Bible is organized; chapters are given numbers, starting with one. Ask your students to turn to a book in the Bible (different books are encouraged for this activity). Ask them to flip through the book to find out how many chapters are in that book. Some books of the Bible are short with only one chapter; others are very long with over 100 chapters (like the book of Psalms). Ask them to tell how to tell a chapter in the book (each chapter is given a big number).

The Verse

The Bible is a library of books that are divided into chapters. Those chapters are further divided into verses. A verse is designated by a small number at the beginning of the verse. Ask your students to find the book of Genesis chapter one. Once all of your students have found Genesis chapter one, ask them to show you verse 1. This is trickier than it sounds because not all Bibles show the number 1 for the first verse in a chapter (this could be because the chapter number is there also). Once your class has identified the first verse in chapter one, ask them to find verses 2-10. Ask, “Are the verse numbers always at the outer edge of the page/column?” (no, they are scattered throughout the text).

Ask the students to find a specific verse and read it. Then, ask the students to find a group of verses (ex. Verses 3-5) and read them out loud. I remember one student in grade four who was asked to read a short passage of Scripture. She read the verse number along with the text. Don’t forget that it’s our job to teach our students what a verse is, what its purpose is, and whether or not the verse number is read along with the text.

The Reference

Now students are ready to put it all together and learn what a reference is. One good way to explain a reference is to call it an address. The address tells us where a specific piece of information lives in the Bible. The address will tell us what book the information is in; what chapter the information is in once we have reached the book; and what verse the information is in once we have found the chapter within the book.

Write out a reference for your students:

John 1:1

When explaining the reference (book, chapter, verse), don’t forget to tell your students what the colon is for. The colon separates the chapter from the verse.

When students are familiar with a reference and comfortable using and writing them, it’s time to move on to more complex references.

1 John 1:1

In this reference there is an additional number at the beginning of the reference. Teach your students that certain books of the Bible have these numbers in them. When they see a book like that (1 Kings, 2 Timothy, etc) it is read “first” rather than “one” or “second” rather than “two” or “third” rather than “three”

John 1:1a

In this reference there is a letter at the end of the reference. Tell your students that because it comes after the colon it is related to the verse. Verses can be divided up into the first part of the verse and the last part of the verse. When they are just supposed to read the first part of the verse, an “a” will be added to the verse in a reference. When they are supposed to read only the last part of a verse, a “b” will be added to the verse in the reference.

Give your students lots of opportunity to practice this. The use of letters in a reference is not a clear cut skill. Verses are never divided exactly into half. Students need practice to see how a verse could be divided and what the person who wrote the reference what asking them to focus on.

John 1:1a could be “In the beginning was the Word.”

John 1:1b could be “and the Word was God,” or “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1, 14

This reference contains two verses. It could also be written like this – John 1:1&14. The “and” and the comma perform the same function. They show the reader that only verse one and verse fourteen are to be read. Tell your students that when they see a comma they should think ‘and.’ In this case, verses one and fourteen. Let your students practice this new skill as well. Give them a variety of references with commas to look up.

John 1:1-14

This reference contains a dash. Tell your students that when they see a dash that means to read all the verses between the verses shown (make sure you let them know that it includes the verses shown as well!) So, in our example, students would read verses 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13, and 14.

John 1:1-14, 17

This reference contains a combination of the comma and the dash. Ask your students if they can tell you what it means. They would read verses one though fourteen and then verse seventeen.

Practice until Familiarity is Developed

I would not recommend doing all these activities in the same sitting. There are a lot of skills being taught here. Rather, let the students practice one skill at a time. When they are comfortable and familiar with that aspect of the reference, then it’s time to move on to the next activity.

Even when your students are ready to move on to a more complex reference, they still can benefit from practicing the skills they are learnt already.

Teach your students what a reference is and how it can be used to find specific information in the Bible. Never assume your class knows what a reference is not matter how old they are. Children in grade 5 may not understand correctly how a reference is designed or used if they have never been taught.

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5 Reasons Why I’m Fine with Kids Bringing Their Cell Phones to Sunday School

I was recently asked this question on twitter …

It’s a very good question and one I had to think about for a while. The answer I came up with was that the most innovative thing I have seen recently in Children’s Ministry is kids bringing cell phones to Sunday School.mobiles for kids

The more I thought about this new aspect of Children’s Ministry, the more I realized that we as leaders and volunteers aren’t really prepared for this innovation.

We may be resistant to this change because we don’t want kids fooling around on their phones during class, we want kids to learn good Bible skills, and some may feel that kids are spending too much time with their phones and disengaging from face to face interaction.

So, here are 5 reasons why I’m okay with kids bringing their cell phones to Sunday School.

1. The Bible is Now Available on Mobile Devices.

We want kids reading and studying their Bibles in Sunday School. For some kids, this means using their mobile device. And that’s okay! Not all kids will have access to the Bible on their mobile device. In those cases, the phones need to be powered off and put away. But kids who have access to the Bible on their cell phone need to be encouraged to use it. Granted, we need to teach our kids a new set of rules for cell phone use in the classroom (for example, resisting the temptation to check social media sites!) The Bible is God’s Word and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17) whatever format it is found in!

2. Mobile Devices Offer Quick Access to Bible Study Helps.

Kids who bring their cell phones to Sunday School have the potential to access Bible study helps like online concordances or dictionaries, maps, and atlases. What a great potential for learning and discovery! Not all classrooms have hardcopies of concordances or Bible dictionaries. With mobile devices, kids can discover for themselves the meaning of a word or access a map of Bible lands to see just what a journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem would have entailed.

3. Mobile Device Users Can Schedule Bible Reading and Reminders to Apply Biblical Truth to Everyday Life.

One great thing about mobile devices is the ability to schedule reminders. Kids can compartmentalize things. They sometimes have a hard time applying what they have learned in Sunday School with the challenges they face during the week. Mobile phones can help to solve this with scheduled reminders. During class, encourage the kids to schedule a reminder to read their Bibles throughout the week and during application time, have them write their practical idea for applying Bible truth into their phones and carry it with them throughout the week.

4. Users Have Access to Online Devotionals.

In Sunday School, we are teaching our kids how to read and study their Bibles. We should also be encouraging them to read their Bibles throughout the week. We should also encourage them to find a good devotional book to use along with their Bible reading. A good devotional will help kids study and apply the Bible. Kids with cell phones can access online devotionals so teachers need to do some research so they can provide kids with good online devotional options.

5. Kids Are More Likely to Carry their Cell Phones to School than their Bibles.

Kids take their cell phones to school. If they have access to the Bible on their phones and have made notes about the practical way they are going to apply what they learned in Sunday School, then those phones have become a means for kids to grow as followers of Christ.

 

People are now reading the Bible on their mobile devices and that includes kids in our Sunday Schools. At first it can seem like kids are spending more time on their mobile devices than in their Bibles. However, this technological innovation gives kids the opportunity to access their Bible and more in ways they might not have before. Children’s Ministry leaders need to embrace the change and teach kids to use their phones wisely as tools to help build their faith.

For some teaching tips and strategies about cell phones in the Sunday School classroom, check out my blog post “Cell Phones in Sunday School.”

 

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Teaching Bible Skills

Bible SkillsI believe that it is important for kids to have Bible skills. Bible skills include knowing the books of the Bible, the divisions of the Bible, and the parts of the Bible and how they all fit together. Bible skills also include understanding a reference, knowing how to use the table of contents, and knowing how to use a concordance and dictionary.

We should be teaching Bible skills to the kids in our care. There are 2 major goals when teaching Bible skills.

#1 – That kids will become comfortable and familiar with their Bibles.

#2 – That kids will be able to navigate their Bibles.

We want kids to be comfortable and familiar with their Bibles and to be able to navigate their Bibles so that they will read their Bibles.

The purpose of teaching Bible skills is not simply knowledge or a means of keeping kids occupied. We teach Bible skills so that kids will read their Bibles!

The Bible is a big book! We can’t expect kids to willingly read such a big book without some help.

Bible skills help kids understand how their Bibles are put together and how to find specific books and verses within their Bibles.

When kids are comfortable and familiar with their Bibles, they are more likely to read their Bibles. When kids know how to navigate their Bibles, they are more likely to read their Bibles.

But more than just reading their Bibles, we want kids to love the God of the Bible and choose to follow Him.

We get to know God when we read the Bible. We get to know what God wants of us when we read the Bible.

 

Let’s teach our kids Bible skills! Let’s encourage our kids to be comfortable and familiar with their Bibles. Let’s encourage our kids to learn how to navigate their Bibles so that they will read their Bibles and fall in love with the God they will discover in those pages and choose to follow Him!

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