Top 10 best practices in Bible teaching

A friend recently posed the question to me of best practices in Bible teaching and we had a great discussion about what we believed were the most effective pedagogical strategies.  We were not aware of any empirical research in this area, and so I submit a partial list to you drawn mostly from experience, and invite you to suggest other practices or disagree with one I have listed! The only criteria is that your suggested practice must be applicable across the grades and must be something that could be done (for example, a trip to the Holy Land would be wonderful, but not possible for all!)

Category 1 – The Basics

1. Storytelling

2. Scripture memorization

Category 2 – Application

3. Questions

4. Dilemmas/case studies

Category 3 – Personal Response

5.  Journaling

6. Worship

7. Service

What else would you add?


Filed under Bible memory, classroom, curriculum, student outcomes, worship

2 responses to “Top 10 best practices in Bible teaching

  1. Debbie

    What a great idea (and challenge)! My input is probably far too wordy for your purposes, but I enjoyed giving it some thought. Perhaps someone can pare it down! The (T) and (Ss) indicate whether the practice is primarily a teacher tool or the student action.

    Category 1—The Basics
    1. Storytelling (T)
    2. Summarize (Ss)
    3. Memorize Scripture (Ss)

    Category 2—Principles and Application
    4. Questions –Designed to assess comprehension and promote thinking (T)
    5. Discussion—Guide toward identifying meaning (T)
    6. Identify Biblical truths and attributes of God demonstrated in the story; articulate a relevant Biblical principle from which to develop a personal response (Ss) (Guided by (T))
    7. Dilemmas/case studies (T)

    Category 3—Personal Response
    8. Reflect and Express (ie. Purposeful Journaling, Praying, Writing Music, Illustrating) (Ss)
    9. Participate in God –centered Worship (individual or corporately ((ie. plan and present Chapel)) (Ss)
    10. Initiate Other-oriented Service (Ss)

    • Johanna Campbell

      Dear Friends,
      An excellent list of Bible teaching strategies! I have written a doctoral thesis on exactly that topic, so I would like to add a few comments to that list:
      1. Story telling of the entire Bible from creation to new creation. Students need to hear the story told and be able to tell it back to the teacher. Students also need to see the entire picture and their own place in God’s plan of salvation, i.e. that we are waiting for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t leave out the book of Revelation even if Calvin did not write a commentary on it! Read it out loud with your students, use the doxologies in your chapels and study the descriptions of our Lord Jesus Christ, for starters. It is such a rich book.
      2. Expect the Bible to be the living, enduring Word of God and make room for the Holy Spirit and the Word to work together! It seems redundant to say this, but do not reduce your Bible lesson to a history lesson. You are dealing with God’s very words, made flesh in the Lord Jesus Christ who said: My word is Spirit and my word is life. Expect the Holy Spirit to be working during your Bible lessons.
      3. The Holy Spirit works in individual lives and also in the body of Christ. Studying the Bible in the community of the classroom gives a wonderful opportunity to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to each individual student/teacher about certain stories and passages. Make the most of this wonderful setting! Where two or three are gathered…
      4. Adding to comment number one about creation to new creation: study the Bible in canonical order: no ‘snipification’ or giving the students bits and pieces here and there. They need to see the entire picture of Creation, Fall, Redemption and Restoration in order to realize their own place in God’s history. Students need to study BOTH the old and new testaments equally.
      5. Finally, be Trinitarian in your approach: don’t focus only on one Person of the Holy Trinity, but emphasize the work of God the Spirit, God the Son and God the Father equally. How the Trinity interacts in a perfect relationship of love is our model for interaction.

      I could go on and on, but please, as teachers, model a love and passion for God’s Word. Then your students will love the God of the Word as well.
      Johanna Campbell.

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