Sunday, April 21, 2013

EDUCATION: Bible Timelines

It's difficult for kids to visualize the Bible within a time frame. It isn't necessarily written in order of time which is confusing for kids and they know their world in their time. We also tend to pick and choose pieces of the Bible that we think will be more interesting for kids to study or we let them choose topics. (I have a beef with topics but that's a discussion for another time.) The Bible can be a pretty exciting book if you think about it. It's full of action and adventure, love, misdeeds and forgiveness.  When you put things like timelines on a wall and refer back to them as you study, students begin to have a greater understanding of the "big picture" of how God has dealt with His people over time. It can be far more enlightening than looking at one individual event at a time. If you have a long hallway, let the middle or high school students (or both if your church is small) create a Bible timeline along that wall. Be sure to discuss each event as it happened and to discuss patterns as you go. Even the youngest of children like to go through a timeline and relive the stories of what they've learned throughout the year.

How to use timelines:
  • Create one for the whole Bible as it is studied in an overall "big picture" course throughout a year. Don't get too bogged down in every detail.
  • Create one as a special course where students discover where each book and major event fits in time.
  • Have students create a timeline of events for the book they're currently studying.
  • Let younger students create a simple timeline of the stories in the order in which they learn them.
REMEMBER: The goal is NOT TO COPY a timeline but to CREATE ONE. By the way... a timeline is great for adults too!

There are a lot of resources out there for things like this but some have too little and some too much information. Check these out!

Bible Timeline of the whole Bible including Biblical references.
Blue Letter Bible is a great way to see how/where the people of the Bible fit in time.
Bible Timelines has a LOT of information... almost too much for kids.
This timeline diagram is fantastic but I couldn't find a source.
Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Timelines would be a great reference book.
Giant 10-Ft Bible Timeline would be great to help the kids.
Reproducible Maps, Charts, Timelines, and Illustrations would also be helpful with kids.
Voyages - Old Testament Timeline is a pictorial overview of the Old Testament.
Voyages - New Testament Timeline is a pictorial overview of the New Testament.

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