We use the Bible more than the textbook in 6th grade catechism. The textbook shows what the kids should learn, but the learning itself is Bible-sourced. For that to work, the kids need some idea of what the Bible is. Asking Google “what is the Bible?” produces answers such as these:
The Bible is the account of the work of God in history bringing to fruition His prophetic declarations concerning Jesus.
The Bible is the account of God’s action in the world and his purpose with all creation.
The Bible is the source of truth, the standard for meaningful life, the revelation of Jesus Christ, the key to true freedom and liberty, and true food for man’s soul.
The Bible is a collection of individual books that together tell the story of a group of people bound by a common faith in God.
The Bible is a collection of writings which the Church has solemnly recognized as inspired.
Zzzzzz…..snorrrrg……snorrrrg…….braaack! Oh, ‘scuze me, I just nodded off for a second there.
Nothing wrong with these definitions, but they won’t do for 6th grade. They’re too erudite, too abstract, too dry for kids…maybe even for me. Besides, the kids need more than a definition. They need a 6th-grade level concept of the Bible so that the stuff we learn in class isn’t forgotten, doesn’t float off into the ether. They need what the French call a cadre, a framework/ skeleton/ plan/ design. But 6th grade isn’t about the Bible per se, and time is tight on the lesson plans, so they gotta get a Bible cadre quick.
Quick means 2 minutes or so….here we go.
(I hold up the Bible with my finger separating the Testaments.) Hey y’all, what’s this book? The Bible. Yes, it has two sections. The first is the Old Testament, which was written before Jesus was born. If the first section is the….? Old Testament, yes, then what’s the next one? The New Testament. Yes. If the Old Testament was written before Jesus was born then the New was written….? After Jesus was born. Yes. Testament comes from the verb testify. When people testify in court, what do they do? They say what they saw somebody do. Yes, what happened; and they swear to tell only….? the truth. So the Testaments do what? They say what people did. Yes, what happened. God inspired the writers to write only the truth… like in court.
(Now I hold up the Bible divided into 3 parts with my fingers.) The Bible tells the history, the story of God and us; the story has 3 basic parts. The little part in front, Genesis, tells about when Adam & Eve physically lived in perfect friendship with God in Eden until they sinned. This last little bit is Revelations, which reveals to us that in the future we will once again physically live in perfect friendship with God as Adam and Eve once did. All the 1,500 pages in the middle is the story of us getting back to where we were in the first place. We’re living in the middle part right now.
Now, quick review: Two sections, the Old and…the New! The New Banana? No, the New Testament! Which was written when? After Jesus was born! Yes, and the first part of the story is about…Adam & Eve before they sinned. And the end? When we are with God again. And the middle? When we try to be in heaven. Umm, yeah, that explains it pretty well. Good children, y’all learn fast.
Ok, maybe 3 minutes.