Enthrone the Bible
Highlight the centrality of the Scripture in our lives by giving the Bible a special place on your classroom prayer table. Drape a seasonally-colored cloth over the table and place a Bible stand in the center. If you do not have a Bible stand, place a book underneath the cloth to elevate the Word. Set a candle next to the Bible and complete the display by using a wide ribbon in a seasonal color as a bookmark.
Enthrone the Bible by having students process in line from outside the classroom to the prayer table, with one student carrying the Scriptures on high. Have the children sing together an Alleluia verse or some other appropriate song. After the Bible has been placed on the table, encourage the students to show reverence for God’s Word by tracing the Sign of the Cross on the open Bible, bowing before it, or touching it reverently with their hand. Each week, as you prepare to read from the Scriptures, begin with an invocation of praise and thanksgiving, such as, “We thank you, Lord, for the gift of your Word!”
Teaching Students to Use the Bible
Even students as young as third grade can learn to navigate their way through the Scriptures. Pair the students up and give each pair a Bible. Turn to the Contents page and point out the two main parts: the Old and New Testaments. Have them count the number of books in each section. Ask them to locate the first page in Genesis and read the first passage aloud. Do the same with the first passage in Matthew. Point out and explain the significance of the chapter and verse numbers. Then have the partners work together to find specific Scriptural passages you list on the board. It will be slow going at first, but once the students “get it” they will feel a real sense of accomplishment. During subsequent classes, have students locate the Scripture you are studying each week in their classroom Bibles.
Acting Out the Scriptures
Dramatizing a Scripture story often helps students to better understand its meaning. This is most effective when the story involves multiple characters: the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37); the Coming of the Spirit (Acts 2:1-13); or the Calming of the Storm at Sea (Mark 4:35-41). After sharing and discussing the story, work with the class to prepare a play. Older students can do this on their own, working in groups. Have props on hand to bring the story to life: a few old robes; costume beards; and objects mentioned in the passage. The students will enjoy performing their plays for one another, but for very special occasions, arrange for them to share their dramatizations with another class or during a prayer service with parents in attendance.
Praying with the Scriptures
Choose a relevant verse from your weekly Scripture story to proclaim in prayer with the class. Have the students repeat the passage as a refrain during a Prayer of the Faithful. Invite students to work in groups to study the Psalms and find an appropriate passage that mirrors your lesson theme (God’s love, faithfulness, presence, forgiveness, greatness, and so forth). Praying with the Scriptures helps students to recognize that God continues to speak to us today.