I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to hop up on my soap box for a few minutes. Let’s talk about Bibles and technology. Don’t get me wrong, I’m currently sitting here with my iPhone (with the Bible app open) serving as a hotspot for my macbook so I can write this article. And, once this article is published, I’ll use my iPhone to share it across social media. I enjoy technology as much (or more) than the next gal. I love the speed with which we’re able to find information and am thankful for the freedom of communication we now have around the world. I also love the fact that I can read my Bible anywhere….planes, cars (not while driving), coffee shops, grocery store lines, school pick-up lines and everywhere else, thanks to the device in my back pocket.
But, I have a fear that despite the increased availability to God’s Word that as a people we’re becoming more and more Bible illiterate. The search features of our Bibles do all the work for us and we no longer need to know where a verse is found, or for that matter whether Hebrews is in the Old or New Testament.
Psalm 119:11 says “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
So, while I’m thankful for the ease of Biblical access and while I’m thankful that this means that more of my kids have ‘Bibles’ with them in Children’s Church, I’m still a fan of paper Bibles. I still see the value of children learning to find Bible verses in a Bible. And, as a personal note, I find that when I read from paper (instead of the phone) that I tend to be able to recall the words much more easily as I find myself seeing the verse on the page (left or right, top or bottom, underlined or not, etc.) and this is even more true when I read regularly from the same Bible.
So, if learning the books of the Bible is important, how do we go about teaching the books of the Bible to the children in our ministry? We’ve all heard the statistics about learning. We know that students learn more when they say something than when they simply read or hear it and that students learn even more of what they do.
To help with the idea of doing while learning, here are 8 kid-tested and teacher-approved games to help your students learn the books of the Bible.
#1 — TOP THREE
- Write the books of the Bible on a stack of index cards (or small pieces of paper) – one book per card. You can use our printable Bible book flash cards.
- Shuffle the deck of Bible book cards & place it in the middle of the circle face down.
- Each child should take one card and hold it face down.
- On the count of 3, everyone should turn over their card. Whoever’s book is closest to the end of the Bible gets a point.
- Keep playing until one player has 3 points and declare them the winner.
- Then, work together to quote all of the books of the Bible in order.
#2 — ROLL THE DICE
- Have children sit in a circle and provide a dice (large dice make this game more fun)
- Take turns rolling the dice.
- As children roll the dice, they should name as many books of the Bible as the number that shows up on the dice.
Extra Challenges (especially for ages 8+):
- try not to name books that other people have named
- try to name the books in order…. example: Matthew, Mark, Luke & John
- the previous player can challenge you to name only Old Testament or only New Testament books
- challenge the group to name books in order all working together with each player adding on the next set of books
#3 — OLD OR NEW
- Have all of the kids stand up in a line in the middle of the room.
- Explain that you’re going to call out a book of the Bible and if the book you call out is in the Old Testament they should take a step to their left and if it’s in the New Testament they should take a step to their right.
- If you have older kids in the group, challenge them with names that aren’t books of the Bible and have them sit down on those names.
Here’s a video example of this game outside using sidewalk chalk.
#4 — BIBLE BOOK TOSS
- Everyone in the group should stand in a circle.
- Give one person a bean bag or beach ball. They will name a book of the Bible and then either say… “next”… “old”… or “new” and toss the bean bag to someone else in the group.
- When that child catches the bean bag, they need to name a book of the Bible that fits in the category that the previous person said… either the next book, an Old Testament or a New Testament book, then toss the bean bag to someone else in the group while saying either “next”, “old” or “new.”
- Play as long as there is interest with your group.
#5 — GET IN ORDER
- Write books of the Bible (as many as you have kids) on cards or pieces of paper.
- The group leader should give one Bible book card to each kid in the group.
- Kids should race to ‘get in order’ by standing in order of the Bible book cards that you’re holding.
- Once kids are in line, say the books of the Bible in order – naming the books that should be between the cards that the kids are holding (if you didn’t choose books in order).
- Collect the cards and play again…. reshuffle and/or add in new books of the Bible.
- If you want to make it a competition, divide into 2 teams and hand out the cards and race to see which team can get in order first.
#6 — BIBLE BOOK BINGO
- Give each kid a piece of paper and encourage them to write 16 books of the Bible on the page in 4 rows of 4. You can use our printable Bible Books Bingo.
- Call out one book of the Bible at a time and have anyone who has that book on their page cross off the book.
- Continue until someone has 4 in a row.
- To make it faster, you may want to start with all having the same 16 books.
- You made need to prompt non-readers by telling them the first letter in the book or write out the book so they can match letters. Example… Acts – starts with an A.
- If kids are enjoying the game, have them make a new page and trade with a friend this time, so that they all end up with different books.
#7 — BIBLE BOOK BUILD
- Buy a set of ‘Jenga blocks’ (or a similar set of blocks) and write the name of a book of the Bible on the side of each of the blocks.
- Spread the blocks out in middle of the playing area.
- Divide the group into 3 teams.
(1) Genesis to Proverbs,
(2) Ecclesiastes to Malachi and
(3) New Testament.
- At the “GO” signal, teams will send one player at a time to the pile of blocks to collect one of the blocks they need for their section of the Bible.
- As players return with blocks, the rest of the team should be working to put the blocks in order.
- If a player collects a block they don’t need for their section of the Bible, they forfeit their next turn and return the block instead of getting a new one.
- Once they have collected all of their blocks, they should start building a tower with the books in order.
- The first team to get their tower built with all of the blocks in order is the winner.
#8 — I’M THINKING OF A BOOK
- Give each child a Bible
- Call out a letter of the alphabet and have kids race to find a book beginning with that letter in their Bibles.
- Have kids show the books that they have found.
- After several rounds of calling out letters (or with kids who are more familiar with the Bible) challenge them by calling out something from the book (example– Moses leads the people out of Egypt) and have kids race to find the correct book in their Bible.
If you want to integrate technology, we have a PowerPoint of the books of the Bible.