As a lover of Bible study, one of my main goals in teaching my kids is to point them to a love of God, a love of others, and a love of His Word! I want them to know there are answers in this Big Book. I want them to know there are wonders. And I want them to know God wrote it because He wanted us to know Him!
As I was preparing our homeschool choices for this year, I came across a great reading schedule for the Gospel of John. It looked like such a perfect idea! To work with G through one book of the Bible, a little bit at a time. But as I started looking at it, I realized it was for a reading level above where she is.
I still wanted to read through the Gospel of John with her, though!
So, I simply started. And along the way, I came up with simple ideas for teaching each verse to her. In the short time we have been doing it, we have started to memorize some of the verses. We have learned many new things! And we have had lots of fun doing it!
We have a reading kindergartner in our house! She absolutely cannot get enough of reading. But we still need to challenge her, work on her reading comprehension, and keep her from guessing instead of reading! But these activities and “lessons” can work for kids of any reading level. We do these alongside our preschooler, W, and she soaks up much from our activities!
After a number of days working on these activities/”lessons” I decided to record them here, so that I could look back on them. I think they may be a blessing to others hoping to find fresh ways to talk to their kids through the Bible. Since the book of John is a LONG book when you are going through it bit by bit, I am going to do this in a number of posts. Here are our “lessons” for the first 5 verses of John.
Chapter 1 of the Gospel of John
We actually started before this verse with a verse the girls had already learned: Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” So when we started our time, I asked, “What did God do ‘In the beginning?'” The girls responded, “He created the heavens and the earth.”
We drew a circle at the top of our chalkboard table. We called this the beginning.
Then I told G, “There is another book in the Bible that talks about what happened in the beginning.”
We read verse 1:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
I asked G if she thought this was the same beginning as the one in Genesis 1:1. She agreed it was. Then we worked through the answers to these questions, writing down the information we gleaned from our reading.
- What was in the beginning? (the Word, God)
- Who was with God in the beginning? (the Word)
- What does it say about God and the Word? (the Word was God)
- How do we show that something is the same as something else in math? (equals)
- If this (the circle at the top) is the beginning, where would the Word and God go? (In the circle)
We created a sort-of flow chart for this information as we went. It looked like this after the first couple of days.
He was in the beginning with God.
We did a sort of review of what we learned in the first verse and used this verse to “check our work.” This verse says, “He was in the beginning with God.” Then I asked these questions:
- Who is He? (the Word)
- Where was He? (in the beginning)
- Does that match what we learned about the Word in verse 1? (YES!)
All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Here are the questions I asked:
- Who is “Him” in this verse? (the Word)
- How did all things come into being? (by Him)
- Wait a minute! Genesis tells me, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” How is it that John tells me that the Word created everything? (the Word IS God)
- What kinds of things did the Word create?
We added the answers to our questions onto our flow chart from before.
We took this opportunity to go outside and evaluate the things we saw to see which things the Word created and which things man made. The things the Word made are natural. The things man makes are not. We made sure to thank God for all the things He made!
NOTE: I did not teach a “lesson” about the meaning of all just yet. There is a fun discussion of all in verse 7 of chapter 1.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
I asked these questions:
- Who is “Him” in this verse? (the Word)
- What was in Him? (the life)
- What does John say was the “light of men?” (the life)
- Do you remember when God said, ‘Let there be Light’? (in the beginning, at creation)
- Do you think this is the light He was talking about?
We returned to our flow chart from our previous days and reviewed what we had learned in the previous verses, then we added, some more based on this verse. And then we sang the song, “This Little Light of Mine.”
And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
I asked these questions:
- When is it dark outside? (at night)
- But are there any things that light up the night sky? (the moon and stars)
- But “in the beginning” God’s world was completely dark. There was no sun, no moon, no stars. What does this verse tell us shined in the darkness? (the light)
- What was this light? (the Word)
- Who is the Word? (GOD! God lit up the darkness! Yea, God!)
We sang, “This Little Light of Mine” again, because the girls LOVE it!
Thoughts on Teaching through John verse by verse
I subscribe fully to the inductive method of studying the Bible. Thus, it is ingrained in me and I almost have no other way of teaching it. It goes really well with the way we have chosen to homeschool G – through the dialectic method. Asking questions, encouraging her to discover truth for herself, to think through the answers to the questions helps her to develop critical thinking skills that will serve her all her days.
We do not spend a LONG time each morning working through these things, but we do have lots of opportunities for questions and answers. I have also noticed G really likes to be able to write out the words I write on our chalkboard table. She sort of assigns herself copywork because she is so interested in the process of reading and writing. She also ALWAYS wants to draw as well! She is a much better artist than I am!
These ideas, as I stated before are the most basic ideas I can think of. I would love to hear from you if you use any of them or if you have ideas of your own about teaching these verses to kindergarten and preschool aged kids.