Friday, December 2, 2011

What if a student can attend a Sunday School class and never have to handle or touch the Bible itself?


The use of THE BIBLE in the Sunday School curriculum
Part I: The problem
What if a student can attend a Sunday School class and never have to handle or touch the Bible itself?

What if kids’ only contact with the Bible in Sunday School is memorizing isolated verses to win prizes?

What if students do not bring their own Bibles to class and therefore are not able to write in them, highlight text, stick in them post-it notes, and familiarize themselves with where verses are?

What if a student only reads the Bible passage with his eyes or listens to it but is not prompted to comprehend its meaning nor think critically about its message?

What if a Sunday School lesson does not create the space and provide the guidance for students to prayerfully consider how to apply the Word of God, in community with others?

What if just the Bible Stories are taught but no reflection follows and no prompting is given to help students see its connections with daily life and with other stories of the Bible so that they see God’s meta-narrative and grapple with how they fit into His-story?

What if Sunday School does not help the students develop a love for their own Bible such that they are motivated to read it and see its relevance in every day decisions?

What if parents, whose responsibility it is to teach their children scripture (Deut. 6), renege because they themselves do not know how to study the Bible?

What if students don’t read their Bible at home because they have not been shown how to study and understand it for themselves in Sunday School?

What if the Bible is no longer the textbook for Sunday School?

What if these statements are true, what would happen?

What might happen is that students graduate from years of Sunday School without ever learning how to handle the Word of truth correctly, in the sense meant by 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV): Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Ever since Alfredo and I have been in charge of Sunday School in our local church, I have been on a quest for Sunday School materials. This quest, combined with some of my classes at Trinity, has prompted me to take a look at exactly how the Bible is used in curriculum. The product thus far has been an in-depth analysis of how the Bible is handled, what difference it makes, and what should be done about it. I invite you to peruse the paper I've written about it, which can be found in the links below. 

Part I of my paper analyzes how the Bible is used in Sunday School curriculum through the lenses of curriculum theory. Part II presents a specific methodology, called the Flower/bee overlay, by which you can customize existing commercial curriculum to build your own lesson plans with a greater emphasis on helping the student present themselves to God as believers who can correctly handle the Word of truth.

You can read the paper here on my blog or on-line at Use of the Bible in Sunday School Curriculum… from where you can also download it.  The title of the article is called: The use of the Bible in Sunday School  curriculum.