Lesson Notes: Bible Basics for Beginners

As you may have figured out, Jesus is the center of everything and so far this year we’ve focused on Him in a particular way.  How can we know He’s real?  What was His life like? And what does that mean to us?  We looked at a little science, a little history, and a lot of grace. 

Knowing Jesus is real challenges us to consider what we should do with that knowledge, and those are the kinds of things we learned about this past month when we looked at Jesus’ example and we worked on ways we can live like Him, love like Him, and pray according to how He taught us.  No matter what we already know about these things and no matter how good we are (or aren’t) at following His example, there is ALWAYS room for us to go deeper.  Beginners, or practically saints – we’re not in heaven yet, so Jesus is calling us on to more depth, and more blessings and as we grow in these areas. The first place that will feel the positive impact is that first cell of society, the family, as we continue to build that solid foundation.

In this lesson, we’re going to get a flyover view of the Bible.

Is it a big book for adults?  Is it a long list of rules? Is it a bunch of stories of people who lived a long time ago?

Yes, yes, and yes, but a lot of the Bible is also just right for kids to read.  It does have rules, but much more than that – it’s a story of God’s love for us and how sometimes following the rules is the most direct way to happiness. And the stories of those people who lived a long time ago are filled with adventure, battles, romance, brave warriors, daring princesses, and great miracles. There is nothing ordinary about the Bible!

The activities for this lesson focus on the very foundational skill of being able to find things in the Bible.

Personally, my number 1 tip for helping find things revolves around just a few Post-It notes. Put one on the first page of the Old Testament (Genesis), one on the first page of Matthew (New Testament), one in the book of Psalms, and one marking the index page.  These are the first-step divisions you’ll always need, and if you’re reading along with the Mass readings, you’ll be set up for success.

My second tip for success is to just practice.  Become familiar with the names of the books and challenge your family to know if those names are found in the Old Testament or the New. There are a couple variations on some simple game suggestions in the lesson.

And my third tip for success is to set your family up for success by starting from a reasonable place.  If you have younger kids or are bible story beginners, PLEASE just start with kids’ Bible story books.  This is a totally legit strategy even if your kids are a little old for that reading level.  You’ll all become more familiar with the big-picture-narrative of the Bible without the distraction of the elevated language, chapter and verse numbers, and less essential peripheral stuff.  (Did I just say some parts of the Bible are less essential? Let me backtrack and say that the ENTIRE Bible is the inspired Word of God, but it’s going to be more fruitful to dive into the details once you are more familiar with the big-picture. So start where you’re at and where you will be successful.)