It seems like we don’t value the Bible much in Christian practice. It’s lost its place as the source of what we do and become a reference book that we refer to when we’re done. Our Bible curriculum in schools reflects this and the way we teach in churches reflects this.
The Bible curriculum in schools is being influenced by the mindset of starting with the child instead of God. We also start with ideas that the child should know. Bible curriculum starts with brainstorming sessions where a publishing group will decide what values the children should be taught, or what topics might be interesting or novel. It is truly novel today to find a Bible curriculum that goes to the Bible and lets it communicate the message that God originally communicated using the words on the page.
Firstly, the King James Only crowd find themselves with a Bible that no-one before twelfth grade can understand and no-one after twelfth grade cares to understand. When writing a Bible curriculum with the King James too little of the Bible is included for it to truly be a Bible study. Age appropriate Bibles are needed in putting together a curriculum which encourages children to get into the text. The NIV is at an eighth grade reading level and we use that for kindergarten. Choosing a simplified translation like the NIrV for third grade allows the children to get into the text. However, even when we have an age apropriate translation, the children do not look at the text and draw the meaning from (FROM!) the Bible. In other words, Bible curriculum does not teach kids to reverence their Bibles and use them properly.
As I stated above, the writers of curriculum often start with topics and ideas. This bypasses the proper use of the Bible as a standard of development. The Bible verses are added later so that the use of the Bible is more like a dictionary or encyclopedia rather than as the narrative/historical/poetical book it is. Kids might learn a verse, but they do not learn the concepts behind the verses because that only comes with context. Or they read a story and it has an alien main idea because the writer of the curriculum started their thought process with the idea rather than the Biblical text. Memory verses are notoriously in conflict with the message that is being taught. Sometimes they are chosen from a random place in the Bible because they have a vague reference to the idea or word that the writer is trying to get across.
In summary, the Bible curriculum that is written today starts with the mind of the writer and not with the mind of God. If we believe that the text is inspired we should get the kids into dynamic Bible study where THEY draw the meaning from the TEXT. We as teachers can then validate their perceptions as to whether they conform with what the original author was really trying to say to the original audience.
What do you think?