Teaching the Bible to high school students is often a challenge. How do you make its ancient stories appealing to modern-day teens who would sooner play video games than read the Scriptures? Through a variety of lively activities, instructors can open young people's hearts and minds to the wisdom of the ages.
The Mob Game
Bible lessons like the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector point out the danger of judging people by their outward appearance. A person's looks may not truly represent who she really is.
The Mob Game emphasizes this point. To begin, have the students sit in a circle. Distribute ID cards, secretly designating two people as mobsters and one person as the detective. Everyone else is a townsperson.
Ask the two mobsters to choose someone to eliminate while their classmates' eyes are closed. Then, have the mobsters close their eyes. Next, allow the detective to open his eyes and choose someone he thinks may be a mobster. Everyone then wakes up, the person eliminated is removed from the game, and everyone must talk to determine which students are the mobsters. There is plenty of deception, lying, truth-telling and presumption to go around—a great way to bring out some of the issues discussed in the Bible lesson.
Bible Book Race
Navigating the Bible is a key skill. During a lesson teaching various parts of the Scriptures, quiz the students on how well they know the order of the canonical books. Start by evenly dividing the class into several groups.
On separate sheets of paper, print out the names of all the biblical books in large font. One page will read "Genesis," the next will say "Exodus," and so on. Make enough copies so that each group gets a stack of the same 66 pages, randomly arranged.
The teams must race to put the books titles in the proper sequence. If, for example, each team has five members, ask the teams to hold up the names of the first five biblical books, in ascending order. As soon as a team successfully completes the task, it moves on to the next five books. The first team to reach the end of the stack wins.
After a lesson on the spirit of God moving whenever and however it wants, ask your students to line up at one end of a large room or parking lot. Have each person blow into a balloon and then let it loose in the hope that the object will cross the finish line you've drawn. Rather than move in a straight path, the balloons will fly wildly in all directions. Once the game is over, talk about how the spirit of God sometimes moves us in seemingly odd ways.
Jack Stone, a 25-year-old freelance writer, has been writing professionally since 2009 for sites such as eHow, Golflink and Trails. He holds a Bachelor of Theology from Ozark Christian College, a certificate to teach English to speakers of other languages from Biola University and a Masters of Arts degree from Wheaton College.