Wednesday, August 6

Terrible Bible Teaching for Kids!

A great article by John Walton (who teaches Old Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School) over at Koinonia (which is about to make my "LINKS" list) on the five basic fallacies that appear repeatedly in biblical children's curriculum.

I'm going to paste in the fallacies and one sentence, but if this piques your interest, please READ THE WHOLE THING.

The fallacies (and brief descriptions) are

1. Promotion of the Trivial: The lesson is based on what is a passing comment in the text (Josh 9:13, they did not consult the Lord), a casual observation about the text (Moses persevered in going back before Pharaoh over and over) or even a deduction supplied in the text (Joshua and Caleb were brave and strong).

2. Illegitimate extrapolation: The lesson is improperly expanded from a specific situation to all general situations (God helped Moses do a hard thing, so God will help you do a hard thing. But the hard thing Moses was doing was something commanded by God whereas in the lesson the hard thing becomes anything the child wants to achieve).

3. Reading Between the Lines: This occurs when teachers or students are asked to analyze what the characters are thinking, speculate on their motives, or fill in details of the plot that the story does not give.

4. Missing important nuance: This occurs when the curriculum pinpoints an appropriate lesson but misses a connection that should be made to drive the point home accurately.

5. Focus on people rather than God: If in the end, the final point is “We should/shouldn’t be like X (= some biblical character)” there is probably a problem unless the “X” is Jesus or God. Better is “we can learn through X’s story that God . . .”

I thought this sentence serves as a great summery:

If we are negligent of sound hermeneutics when we teach Bible to children, should it be any wonder that when they get into youth groups, Bible studies and become adults in the church, that they do not know how to derive the authoritative teaching from the text?


La La Landon said...

ya, lets be honest, our kids hermeneutics are garbage.

they should just have one lesson every week with these points.

1. Jesus loves you.
2. You should love Jesus.
3. Loving Jesus means x.

Kids can't remember too much, so we should make sure they know this.

Brett said...

Great post Matthew. I'm going to forward this to our preschool/children's leader.

beloved268 said...

Yeah, and how many adult Bible curricula are the same? "Sunday school" and small group curricula are the bane of church existence. Book studies (biblical and non) are the way to go.

Elinette said...

this is great stuff. I am going to forward this to my hubby.