The Role of Curriculum in Teaching the Bible

The Christian Education ministry of a church spent a lot of time researching which curriculum to choose, resulting in a choice they believed would fit their church.  With this curriculum, over the course of time, people would potentially receive a well-rounded Bible education.  As they observed their teachers, they noted polar reactions to the role of the curriculum:

Some teachers wouldn’t leave home without it.

These were teachers who were overly reliant on the curriculum.  They followed it to the letter, exercising little creative thought, making curriculum their all in all.  Some even taught with the teacher’s manual in hand, reading word for word.  If teaching didn’t go well, then they blamed the curriculum.

Other teachers would rather leave it at home.

These were teachers who used the curriculum begrudgingly, viewing curriculum as a noose around their necks.  They would rather completely do their own thing but since the curriculum was required, they did just enough to make it appear like they were using the curriculum.  If teaching didn’t go well, then they blamed it on being confined by the curriculum.

What the Christian Education ministry skipped in the process, was training teachers on how to use the curriculum.

First, they needed to communicate why curriculum was necessary.  It was a means of keeping students on track to potentially receive a well-rounded Biblical education.  If teaching was not coordinated through the use of curriculum, it was possible content could be duplicated or overlapped within a short period of time and some important truths missed altogether.  Curriculum was not a substitute for the Bible but rather a tool to teach the Bible.

Second, they needed to present the curriculum as a a guide.  While it was important to use the curriculum, it was not expected that teachers had to teach it word for word.  At the same time, it did serve to keep everyone on track and so it was important to use it.

Third, they needed to emphasize that teachers held a critical part in making sure the lesson went well.  They couldn’t always blame the curriculum when teaching didn’t go well.  They needed to make any adjustments necessary to insure that the lesson plan fit their students.

6 thoughts on “The Role of Curriculum in Teaching the Bible

    • Hi Chet! First let me recommend that in whatever curriculum you choose that you look for key factors that indicate the curriculum is sound such as those found in this article: What to Look for in Choosing Curriculum
      I would not be prone to giving you a specific curriculum recommendation. You need to look at your own church. There are issues that might make some good curriculum not fit in certain churches so your own church’s culture and preferences need to be factored in. For example, some churches are more traditional or conservative than others and so some of the more high energy curriculum on the market might not be acceptable. Take a look at the curriculum listed on our Sunday School Resources page. The publishing companies listed there generally have Sunday School curriculum I would tend to recommend. You can read the descriptions and see if there are any that would fit within your church and the take a closer look at those.

      • For those not familiar with Radiant Life, from the Gospel Publishing House, this is a denominational curriculum — associated with the Assemblies of God Church. Curriculum recommended on the Sunday School Resources page is not associated with a specific denomination.

  1. Hi… can you please give me tips on how to have a good interactive discussion session AND please I want you to help me with topics that can be of help to children age between 6-12 yr. Bless you real good!!!

    • Hello, Dasco. A good interactive discussion in large part depends on asking good questions, ones that further discussion and can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Let me refer you to a page on the site that could help you: Leading a Good Small Group Discussion

      In determining topics of help to children between 6-12 years of age, you need to consider their age level characteristics and their life experiences and interests. That is a broad span of age. Hopefully you would be able to break that group of children into at least two to three classes according to age to even better meet their needs. Let me suggest that you take a look at curriculum developed by some of the major curriculum companies. They cannot zero in on the specific needs of your particular children but they do generally have a good sense of what is age appropriate.

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