I love history. But that wasn’t always the case. Up through high school and even into college I found history to be incredibly boring. I loathed having to memorize the multitude of dates of when events happened. Random dates of when random events happened a long, long time ago.
But then something amazing happened. For the first time, I began to learn the connecting thread between those events and dates. I began to realize how one event impacted another event—the causation of history, not just the dates of history.
And I fell in love with it.
Perhaps my high school teachers and college professors had shared this in class and I just missed it. I really cannot remember—so if any of my former teachers or professors are reading this—forgive me!
And that brings me to the Bible. The Bible is not a history text, but it is a historical story. What do I mean by that? I mean that God did not give us the Bible to be read as a history text book. Its primary purpose is not to record history; its primary purpose is to communicate God’s gospel plan through Christ Jesus. But that plan cannot be told apart from sharing large portions of history. So the Bible contains history—a lot of history faithfully recorded—with the purpose of telling the gospel.
So here’s the question: are we teaching the history of the Bible—the individual historical stories that make up the one big story—in a way for our kids to love the story or are we teaching the stories of the Bible in isolation which may very well lead to frustration and disinterest in our kids? Are we giving our kids a reason to care about several generations of a family recorded in Genesis? A bunch of prophets with names we cannot pronounce who can’t even be that important because they are called “minor”? The travels and letters of a few gung ho missionaries in the early church? Are we giving our kids the connecting thread that pulls all of the Bible together in one amazing, beautiful metanarrative?
Of course, I’m talking about Jesus. He is the thread that holds the Bible together. He is the One who gives all of the stories—all of the parts—all of the books—all of the chapters—all of the verses meaning. He is the key to understanding and loving the Bible’s rich history.
I love how Stephen unpacked the Bible’s history (to that point) in Acts 6:8-7:60. In Stephen’s Address, he boldly and faithfully walked through large portions of the Old Testament to show how it was all pointing to Jesus and yet just as this message was rejected by most of the people in that time, the religious leaders before him were rejecting it as well. Stephen understood the connecting thread of biblical history—and I would venture a guess that he loved it—and he taught the leaders that day a graduate level course in it.
And he was martyred for it.
This is a great week to point your kids back to the big story of the Bible. Use your giant timeline poster or small group timelines to point out the stories that Stephen shared in his address. You might want to “go off script” some and be ready to review these stories with your preschoolers and kids and to fill in some of the other major stories of the Bible. You might want to also show the Big Story video in your large group time. Don’t miss this perfect opportunity to point out the connecting thread of the Bible this week.
How have you seen your kids connect the dots of the one big story of the Bible? Leave a comment below and share how that happened.
Here is more help for leaders preparing for the June 21, 2015 session (Unit 34, Session 3) of The Gospel Project for Kids.
Brian Dembowczyk is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. He served in local church ministry for over 16 years before coming to LifeWay in 2014. Brian earned an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Brian and his wife, Tara, and their three children – Joshua, Hannah, and Caleb – live in Murfreesboro, TN, where Brian enjoys drinking coffee and teaching 1-3 graders at City Church.