Finally! A Simple, Discussion-Rich Bible Curriculum

Finally! A SIMPLE, DISCUSSION-RICH Bible Curriculum // jessconnell.com

I’m so excited about the Bible study curriculum we’re using this year.

Well. OK, in order for it to be true, I have to take out a few words from that first sentence. It should read:

I’m so excited about the Bible this year.

There, that’s better. Because this year, our “curriculum” is very simple. It’s not really a curriculum at all. It’s, simply, the Bible.

WHAT GOD HAS TAUGHT ME

Just the other day, it occurred to me in a way it had never occurred to me before:

GOD HAS PUT CERTAIN THINGS IN ME, ON PURPOSE.

Duh, right? But the different spin was this: God has put those things in me, SO THAT I CAN SHARE THEM WITH MY CHILDREN. 

Maybe you’re still thinking “duh.”

Maybe I used to would have thought “duh.” (And yes, I said, “used to would have thought.” I’m a Texan and it comes out sometimes when the best way to say something is in Texan.)

But after pondering this, I realized something: lately, I’ve been saving my thoughts for my husband, or close friends. Sometimes I write them here, or share them in a ladies’ Sunday School teaching time. I guess the busyness of life and general tendency to have big conversations with other adult women all played into this. But, yeah. Duh.

God has taught me certain things, SO THAT I can teach my children those things.

So that’s what I’m doing.

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Each week:

  • On Monday, we pray for God to teach us through His Word, and then read a chapter of Scripture that has been meaningful to me. Afterward, we discuss it, for however long it takes to suck the marrow from it. At the end, I ask them to tell me the Gospel, and for the 8-and-up crowd, I ask them to weave in truths from the passage we discussed.
  • On Tuesday, we verbally review the chapter, and then we all do some amount copywork of a verse/passage from the chapter we studied. (For the preschooler/1st grader, it might just be a word or phrase. For the older children, a verse. For me, occasionally, I’m copying the whole chapter by hand.)
  • Throughout the week, we continue to talk about it.

That’s it.

And it has been so very simple, but so very rich.

Interestingly, our passage from the first week (Isaiah 6) showed up in a different topical study Doug & I were researching later that week. And last week, our chapter (Romans 1) was the passage read from the pulpit, that our pastor preached from this Sunday.

Several of the kids looked at me knowingly and smiled.

Because of how simple it is, the richness of each discussion time has surprised me.

(It shouldn’t have surprised me. It’s God’s Word. But I’m being honest with you: it feels like we should have to have some sort of amazing “curriculum” in order for it to be powerful and “relevant” to our kids. We don’t. It’s powerful and relevant all on its own.)

Here are the 16 chapters I selected for this semester, in the order we’re doing them, along with the focal topic/idea I’m presenting to the children for discussion.

  1. Isaiah 6– God’s absolute holiness. He is holy, set-apart, other, completely distinct from human beings and angels. This holy, awe-inspiring God is the God we worship… not just a buddy or bestie or “boyfriend Jesus.”
  2. Romans 1– Man’s wickedness. We are apt to go our own way, and celebrate the way we go our own way. In our flesh, we do not like going along with the design of our Creator. Some of the headline sins of our day are here, along with the admonition that true wickedness is celebrating these sins. We’re there, and I want my kids to be discerning in the age in which they live.
  3. Psalm 51– True repentance. We actually did a little prepwork for this one– we read 2 Samuel 11: 1-5, summarized the rest of 1 Samuel 11, and then read 1 Samuel 12:1-15. What a great lesson about REAL sin, REAL consequences, REAL rebuke, AND REAL repentance! By the time we got to Psalm 51, we were able to read it in the right context– a heartfelt prayer of sorrow from a man who felt the full weight of consequence of his own wickedness.
  4. Daniel 3– Standing Against a Wicked Culture. Daniel and his friends refuse to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue, and God protects them. But the part we’ll focus on is the first 3 words of Daniel 3:18– “but if not”– meaning, even if God doesn’t protect us from death, we will not bow down. We don’t trust in a fairy godmother who makes everything perfect, but a fearsome God who does all that He does for His own good purposes. Sometimes people do right and are protected, but sometimes people do right and suffer for it. Either way, count the cost and stand firm.
  5. Philippians 2– Following Christ’s Example. I love the passage describing Christ’s humility– so much depth there… and then the passage from vv. 13-18 is a beautiful example and challenge for us in daily family life.
  6. Matthew 28– Christ’s Final Commands. Wonderful text about our risen Christ and His Great Commission to believers.
  7. John 17– Jesus’ Last Prayer. What a wonderful and challenging thing it is to consider that Christ’s final moments praying were for the church– that we would believe, glorify the Father, and for our unity as the Body of Christ on earth.
  8. Ephesians 4– Walking as a Believer. This great passage offers rich insights about how we talk with one another, how we live, and (again) the unity we should have in the Body of Christ.
  9. Romans 8– Flesh v. Spirit. I love how this chapter provides a distinct picture of each– what it means to walk in our flesh, and what it means to walk according to the Spirit. Also– that NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ. Nothing.
  10. Romans 9– Potter & Clay. God made each of us. He knows what He made us for. We are just clay. Even if we think we know what we’re for, we’re just clay. Clay responds to the Potter, not the other way around. Humble yourself before the Lord and fight against being an argumentative piece of clay. (This may be my personal favorite chapter of Scripture.)
  11. Psalm 119– God’s Word is utterly true. Longest chapter in Scripture… and over and over and over again, it drives home the beautiful bounty inherent in God’s Word. What a treasure we have in it!
  12. Hebrews 11– “Hall of Faith.” Great heroes of faith, but also… people show up there that would surprise you. They’re not all “heroes;” some of them aren’t at all. The real hero of the story is God who is utterly faithful and never fails.
  13. Hebrews 12– Foundation for Understanding Discipline. How God disciplines us. How parents discipline. It’s all here. It’s beautiful, and a rich part of understanding submission and suffering and so many important truths.
  14. 1 Corinthians 13– Foundation for Understanding Love. What love means. How love acts. How to evaluate if someone else is being loving/if you’re being loving (insert a name for the word “love”– i.e., “Josephine is patient, Josephine is kind…”). Love is not a feeling but a choice of the will to act in a way that benefits another person.
  15. Mark 13– What Jesus Taught About the “End Times.” Important to know what He told His disciples. Great analogy of birth pains… there are tremors for a while and you’re not quite sure… until you are. Good admonitions here: Be alert! Be watchful! Trust the Lord!
  16. 1 John 3– Tests of Genuine Faith. How do we know we are genuine believers? There are 3 “tests” 1 John gives us and 2 of them are in this one chapter.

I’m so excited to go through these things with our children. Pray for me, if you think of it.

And pray for you– ask the Lord to show you what He’s uniquely put in YOU… the ways He’s uniquely used the Word in YOUR life… and how He means to use that to plant seeds of faith and righteousness in your children’s hearts.

God is so faithful to use us– even though we are weak, foolish people. In my flesh, what a fool I am! A proud, selfish, want-to-be-right-and-have-everyone-know-it, fool. But He is changing me, and using me. And He wants to do the same thing with you, there in your home. As He’s changing you, He means to make the most of it– using it in your children’s life as well. 

He wants to take the things He’s uniquely taught you– the things He’s used powerfully in His Word to shape your life and make you more like Jesus– and use them to shape your children, too.

Keep at it, Mama! Speak and teach God’s Word to those spiritually needy children God has placed right there in your home. Do not grow weary while doing good!

 

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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7 Responses

  1. Terrific! I’m sharing this!

  2. Katrina says:

    Thanks for this. I especially appreciate the brief outline of the chapters you are doing with your children – very helpful!

  3. Juls says:

    I so appreciate your thoughts and your brave blogging! Preach on, sister. Your thoughts this month were so on my heart already.
    This ‘curriculum’ is precisely what I do with my children 😊
    I discovered it only recently and it makes sense that it is so powerful in thelives of children. They see and hear God working in mama, they catch ourenthusiasm about the given scripture, and there is so much application that they can watch too. (What does it look like to walk in the spirit? Oh, it’s like where you make a plan, but it totally gets screwed, so you look for God in it instead of getting frustrated ☺️)
    I’m excited to see God working. Thanks for sharing your heart. ❤️

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