Bible Teaching Methods: Methodology for Sunday School & Other Bible Teachers

This Month's Bible Teaching Method:


Exercises involving rapid repetition and immediate response are used to imbed certain truths into students' minds or to perfect certain skills by regular practice.

In Choosing Teaching Methodology consider your group factors:

Click on a factor or scroll down.

Teacher Training Worksheet Based on These Group Factors:
Tips for Choosing & Using Methods

Group size
Drilling can be used with any size group depending on how you do the drill.

Resources needed
A drill can be completely verbal and thus not need any resources. You may, however, wish to use flash cards, flip charts, objects or other means to cue the students on the response expected.

Objective targeted
Drilling increases recognition so responses ultimately become automatic or rote. Drills are thus used for reinforcement of knowledge or for rote memorization. Drills can also be used for skill development such as locating books of the Bible when you have a Bible or Sword Drill.

Use modeled
Drills have been widely used in education for learning language or vocabulary. The most popular use in the church is a Bible or Sword Drill.

Proximity of others
If you are having the total class respond at the same time, the volume could get loud and hence disturb classes in close proximity. If you move from one student to another looking for individual responses, noise should not be a factor. If grouping in pairs or triplets to drill each other, the noise level may be a low buzz.

Finances needed
Costs to use this method can be kept very low or none at all. If using flash cards you may need to purchase card stock or poster board and markers.

Age level
Drills are mainly used with preschool through grade school ages although they may have some limited use on the youth and adult levels.

Drilling is an expressional, student-centered method.

Time required
Drills can be adjusted to fit almost any amount of time. To avoid boredom, however, a drill should probably last no more than 10 minutes (shorter the younger the student). Competitive Sword Drills will tend to be longer but drills used as a teaching method should be kept short or interspersed with other methodology.

Openness of group
If drills are used too frequently or drag on too long, students may get bored. Students may feel threatened if you pick on individuals to respond. Drills wherein the total class or a group of students respond at the same time are generally less stressful but are more difficult to measure individual progress.

Room size
The size of a room usually is not an issue as students can participate in a drill right where they are. If you break into small groups for students to drill each other, you may want enough space to put some distance between groups so they are not easily distracted by each other.

Skills needed

Be purposeful in using drills.

  • Do not use a drill merely to fill in time.
  • Rote memorization should never be an end in itself but rather a platform to lead to higher levels of learning and/or using the information in practical settings.

Show how the content being drilled is meaningful to them.

  • If drilling doctrinal truth, make sure students understand not only the words but the meaning of those words and how it applies to life.
  • If drilling Bible verses, make sure students not only memorize the verses but also gain insight by seeing it in context and being able to interpret its meaning and understand its implications for their lives.
  • If drilling lists of names or sequences of events, make sure students not only parrot back the books of the Bible, Ten Commandments, Fruit of the Spirit, names of the apostles, etc., but also see the link to how these lists will help them understand other truths.
  • If drilling to master the skills required in a Bible or Sword Drill, make sure they can not only locate the references but also understand the connection of how the skill will enhance their walk with the Lord.

Employ variation into using this technique.

  • Means of cueing students for response: verbal (change volume, tone, speed) and/or visual (flash cards, flip charts, objects, motions or gestures)
  • Means of student response: speaking or singing along with rhythm, clapping, gestures, motions (i.e., while jumping rope -- Who says drills can't be fun?)
  • Students targeted for response: total class, individuals, groups/teams, pairs, triads, one half of the class and then the other half
  • Types of response expected: rote, synonyms (similar words), antonyms (opposite words), consequences (cause and effect), implications and applications
  • Facilitator of the drill: teacher drills, a student drills, students drill each other

Intersperse drills between other activities.

  • Having several shorter drills throughout the lesson is better than one long block of time. Fatigue and boredom will be minimized when drills are interspersed with other activities.
  • When you do this, you can build on their understanding and increase the complexity of skill or knowledge with each drill.

Incorporate a means of both catching mistakes and correcting them which becomes more difficult the larger the group is that is responding.

  • By walking around the room as you drill rather than remaining stationary, in one place, you will not only be able to hear the responses of a larger number of students but you will keep students more alert.
  • Be careful in how you respond to wrong answers that you do not embarrass students or make them feel "stupid." If the whole class is responding and you hear a student respond incorrectly, simply stopping and emphasizing the right answer with the whole group will generally be better than singling out the erring student.
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Add more variety and skill to your teaching! This resource includes helps and resources for 57 different Bible teaching methods.

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(Last updated 07/01/18)