Four myths about telling Bible stories

by Tommy Sanders

Jesus used stories to teach important truths. He was the master storyteller. In Matthew 13, the disciples asked Jesus why He told stories. Jesus explained that His stories would guide people to opening their eyes, their ears and their hearts to God's message. Jesus used stories to create a readiness in people to receive Bible truths.

The Bible is God's story to us. It is the story of His work with His people. Telling the stories of faith over and over to young children will lay foundations that will prepare a child for spiritual conversion later in life.

Myth #1: The story should be saved for group time.

For a story to be taught effectively and remembered, it must be reinforced throughout the session. The foundational nature of the Bible story and Bible phrases must be interwoven into each activity and conversation.

Myth #2: The Bible story is the end of the story.

The ability to know which part of the Bible Luke is found in or that there were 12 disciples is important. Yet, it is only a means, not an end. The goal is biblical truth. Preschoolers must see how the Bible story and truth relate to their lives. This can be done by using Bible stories and Bible verses related to real-life activities.

Myth #3: The Bible story can be told when the child is able to talk and communicate.

What a waste! The time in life when preschoolers are learning the most is the time when some churches are teaching the least. From infancy, Bible stories can be told in a form that is brief and conversational. As a result, names like God and Jesus, along with concepts like "God loves me,'' become integrated and reinforced within the very memory cords of the child.

Myth #4: I need lots of props to tell the story so children will listen.

Props can distract a child. You and your Bible are the only two things that you need to tell the Bible story. God has given you an expressive voice to imitate sounds, to raise and lower volume, and to slow and speed cadence. Change your facial expression or add an occasional gesture. Memorize the story and tell it with the Bible open to the correct location. After the story is told, ask questions and use props like teaching pictures or child-made puppets to help you measure understanding or clarify misconceptions.

So tell the story. Tell it again and again.

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