Week 1 objectives: to discover that the Bible is made up of 66 books and includes books about God's law, history books, poetry books, books written by God's prophets, the Gospels and letters.
Challenge - 7 mins
Aims: to play a game that involves dividing 66 marbles into groups before talking about the different types of books in the Bible.
You will need: a score sheet (see Printables), 66 marbles (or 66 pennies), a see-through pot (such as a jar or plastic pint cup), plastic cups and two or three felt-tip pens.
Before the session fill the pot with 66 marbles.
Ask the children in turn to guess how many marbles (or pennies) are in the pot. Record the children’s answers on a score sheet. Explain that there are 66 marbles in the jar and announce which child gave the answer closest to the correct number.
Divide the children into two teams and give each team 27 marbles. Give one team an extra 12 marbles. Ask the children to count their marbles and then form the number out of the marbles. One group should make the number 27 the other 39.
Give the group with 39 marbles four cups and ask them to place five marbles in the first cup, 12 in the second, five in the third and 17 in the fourth. Give the group with 27 marbles three cups and ask them to place four marbles in the first cup, one in the second and 22 marbles in the third. Position the cups so that they can be seen by all the children.
Talk about - 8 mins
You will need: a whiteboard or a large sheet of paper, marker pens, a Bible, four or five small paper-back books, glue, 33 envelopes, ‘How to separate a Bible into books' instructions (see Printables), ‘Bible labels’ (see Printables) and the ‘Books of the Bible summary sheet’ (see Printables).
Before the session write the verse on the whiteboard or paper. Print a set of instructions and a set of Bible labels. Go through a Bible slipping the envelope bookmarks over all the pages in each book.
Underline the word ‘Scripture’ in the verse. Explain that ‘Scripture’ is another name for the Bible. To a Christian ‘Scripture’ means everything written in the Bible.
Ask the children if they know how the different parts of the Bible were first put together. Talk about how a long time ago people began to write down what God had done for them. They also wrote down things God told them and they made up songs to him and about him. Hold up two of the paper-back books and explain that the things people wrote were copied into books. Eventually (after around 1500 years) there were 66 books all about God: story books, poetry books, instruction books and letters. Hold up the remaining books. The books were put together in one big book; we call the book The Bible. Remind the children that ‘The Bible’ means books.
Today there are millions of Bibles in thousands of different languages all around the world. Some Bible's have different ways of saying things, but they all have the same meaning.
Remind the children that there were 66 marbles in the pot. Explain that there are 66 books in the Bible. Explain that 39 books were written before Jesus was born and 27 were written afterwards. The books written before Jesus was born make up the Old Testament part of the Bible and the books written after Jesus was born make up the New Testament.
Point to the cups and explain that in the Old Testament there are five books about God's laws, 12 books about history, five poetry books and 17 books written by God's prophets. Show the children the Bible you have divided using the bookmarks. Show the children the Old Testament part of the Bible. Flick through the 39 books pointing out what the different books are about.
Explain that in the New Testament there are four books about Jesus' life called the Gospels, one history book, and 22 letters. Show the children the New Testament part of your Bible. Flick through the 27 books pointing out what the different books are about.
For a summary sheet on the books of the Bible see Printables.