Teaching to the Chart

I recently saw a tweet that bothered me.   It said “What if kids memorized key truths instead of isolated bible verses? Provide them with a ‘filing system’ before we give them files.”  At first glance, I thought this sounded great, but then realized that it goes against the way that God made kids to learn, but more on that later.  Right now I want to give my thoughts on using Key Bible truths instead of Bible verses.

When I was in Seminary, Lifeway introduced their “Levels of Biblical Learning” chart.  They sent one of their people to our school to tell us how wonderful it was and, for a while, I bought it.  This chart is a LONG list of Bible concepts that are categorized in way to show how they build upon each other as a child ages.  One purpose was for it to show leaders/parents the “knowledge”  a child would have if they attended Sunday school consistently during their childhood.  As I said already, I thought this was a great tool and used it and hung it up and told people about it.  I have since seen the hole in the chart.  There is nothing wrong with a progression of understanding and knowing where you are going, but just like public schools often “teach to the test” I found that the curriculum was forcing us to “teach to the chart.”  In training events we were told that the most important thing is that kids know the Bible thought by the end of the session.  Many times, this meant that a Bible Story was selected for the lesson and then stretched (sometimes absurdly) to fit the concepts being taught.  The Bible was being used to reinforce the concepts instead of the concepts helping summarize the Bible.

I believe the danger here is that we are raising kids that do not know why they believe anything that they say they belive.  They know that God loves them, but do not know why they know that.  They cannot support their faith with anything other than some Bible thoughts and therefore fall easily.  If we truly want to “preach the Word” then we must actually use the Word.

There is nothing wrong with “Key truths” or “Bible concepts,” but these things must always be second to the Bible.


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