Biblical Literacy for Preschoolers

ID-100275763The title might seem a misnomer…“literacy” for children who are non-readers??? Well, let’s start with a definition of what I mean by biblical literacy:

Biblical literacy is the ability to rightly read and understand the Bible, using the proper tools of study, thereby becoming well acquainted with the Bible’s character (innate qualities) and content.

Obviously the vast majority of preschoolers cannot read, but they can become increasingly acquainted with the Bible’s character and content. Here are some tips for teaching biblical literacy to preschoolers:

  • Use the Bible as you teach, even if you are not reading directly from the text—have your Bible open to the corresponding text. Show the children that the story is from the Bible by pointing to the text that you are going to read.
  •  Look for opportunities to read directly from the text—even if it is only one verse from the story. When you do this, emphasize that you are reading from the Bible,

“I am going to read from the Bible now. This is what God says…”

    •  Expand and continually review key biblical themes—repetition encourages memorization.

  •  Make simple connections and point out progression in the individual stories, as well as the Bible as a whole. For example,

God created Adam and Eve and God put them in the garden to live.

God gave them a special rule about one of the trees.

Adam and Eve must obey God. 

Adam and Eve did not obey God.

They ate from that one tree.

Questions to Ask: Will God be happy with Adam and Eve? No. Why not? Because they disobeyed His rule. That is wrong. What will happen Adam and Eve? Yes, they will die.

  •  Use key themes introduced from Bible stories to present a simple Gospel message.

God is holy, He never sins.

People disobey God—we are sinners.

God is right to punish sin.

God loves us and is patient and kind.

Jesus is God’s Son.

God sent Jesus to us.

Jesus died to save us.

Jesus came alive again!

Jesus saves sinners.

Believe Jesus.

At this point, it is not necessary that the children fully understand all of these themes and their connection. You are beginning to give them truths and connections that will be the foundation of greater  iblical understanding as they mature.

  • Use pictures to review key people and events, as well as chronological order
  •  Encourage Bible memory in the class and at home with simple yet faith nurturing verses
  • Demonstrate through your words and actions the uniqueness and trustworthiness of the Bible. We can do this through how we talk about the Bible, and even by how we treat our Bible as we teach…

 The Bible is the true. It never lies. We can always trust what it says.

God speaks to us in the Bible. 

(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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