The BIG IDEA:
Taking an overview tour of the Bible makes that big book easier to understand.
The size and complexity of the Bible can make it seem irrelevant to our modern lives, so many people don’t want to read it.
Realize how the parts of the Bible fit together and how we fit into the Bible’s story.
A tour bus takes you on a tour of important places. It doesn’t stop too long in one place, it just gives you an overview of the area. This study is like that. We’re just getting an overview tour of the Bible go better understand the big picture of what is in here.
The SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
The Bible is God’s word to us, telling us who he is. To better know and understand God, we need to spend time in his word. Yet its size and complexity keep many of us so intimidated that we don’t even open it up. We don’t know where to start. We don’t understand how it is laid out. It is foreign to us, so it sits on the shelf gathering dust. It would benefit most of us to get a clear overview of the Bible — a big-picture view of this book — and how we fit into it. This study is a visual guide to the Bible with the hopes that, after going through it, we will be more comfortable opening up the Bible and spending time in it.
What I want the group to know and understand: We want to become familiar with the Bible and not be intimidated by it.
What I want the group to experience: A curiosity that will drive us to read the Bible more and a confidence to open it and read it on a regular basis.
How I want the group to respond: By seeing our place in the Bible’s story and beginning to read it and apply it to our lives.
SPECIAL DIRECTIONS TO THE LEADER:
This study will take some preparation work but it is worth it. Students today have very little knowledge about the Bible and much of that is because they don’t understand how the Bible fits together. It will be well worth the printing and cutting ahead of time. You will need to do the following…
- PRINT out the TOUR LEADER’S GUIDE (this page). It includes the LEADER’S GUIDE, your TOUR CARDS (the ones with the faces), and the TIMELINE. It is important to print these front to back so that the cards and words will line up. If you can’t figure out how to print it right, just print them both and don’t worry about getting the words on the back.
- CUT along the dotted lines in the timeline
- CUT out each of the 8 rectangles on the TOUR CARDS pages.
- BRING at least one real paper Bible with you
GAMEPLAY WALKTHROUGH VIDEO
Note: we have made a few tweaks to the study since we made this video. We make a new video soon.
- This is a different kind of study. But just walk through your Leader’s Guide like normal.
- The goal is for your students to have A BETTER UNDERSTANDING of the Bible, not to finish or win the game.
- Watch the “Gameplay” video
- Be a participant, not an observer
- Only spend 2 minutes on each card
- The pictures on each card are important
The idea box is a place where you can find some creative ideas for leading this study. You might find videos, activities, or great illustrations that really bring the main point home. The ideas come from small group leader like you, so if you have an idea that isn’t in there, click below to share it with the community!
Alex became a Christ-follower a few months ago. His new Christian friends always say how important it is to read the Bible, but Alex has never read much of it. He just doesn’t know where to start. The book is huge, there are a bunch of strange names in it and he is just so intimidated by it. He knows it is important to read the Bible for himself, but he has a hard enough time reading his books for school, much less figuring out this big old book. What advice would you give to Alex?
1. Read Psalm 119:105. How can the Bible help light our path in life?
The Bible can be so big and intimidating that we never open it up and let it light our path. Today, we are going to get an overview of the Bible and get more familiar with what it says.
DO: Spread out the timeline on the table so that they all fit together in a line. Cut or fold on the dotted lines to fit them together better.
DO: Pass out all of the cards equally to each person in the study.
2. The Bible is one big story told with a lot of little stories. This big story is composed of many smaller books — like a library. The Bible has two main divisions. Look at the timeline. What event separates the New Testament from the Old Testament?
The life of Jesus. The Old Testament contains the parts of the Bible written before Jesus and the New Testament contains the parts written after Jesus. We would suggest that you also open the paper Bible here and show them the table of contents as you talk about the “smaller books.”
3. According to the timeline, about how long did it take to write the Bible?
1,500 years. Moses wrote the first five books around 1400 BC, and John wrote the last one around 100 AD.
4. Deal out all the cards. The person with the Law card will start.
- Show everyone the picture on the card.
- If you want, ask everyone “What do you think this section is about?”
- Then read from the back of the card. Have someone summarize what you read in their own words. Then place the card on the timeline.
Leader: While the student is showing the card, you could turn to that section in the paper Bible to let everyone get a sense of where this section is in the Bible. Mention that there might be a competition at the end to see what they remember.
5. As we read through the cards, which section sounded most interesting to you?
Allow the group to share. Be sure to also share the section that you most interested in exploring next.
6. What did you learn today that helped you understand the Bible better?
Allow the group to discuss.
7. If you want to start reading the Bible for yourself, where could you start?
Allow the group to discuss. One suggestion is to start in the book of John. John tells the story of Jesus, and since Jesus is the focal point of the Bible we should start with learning more about him! Talk with your group about what they want to start reading and make suggestions to help them begin reading the Word more.
If you have time, split your group into two teams and test their memories.
Ask the questions below and the first one to answer gets a point for his/her team. Some questions have more than one right answer. Keep in mind that people who don’t know the Bible very well may be intimidated by this game.
- In which section did God first write his LAW that He wanted his people to follow? (Law)
- In which section do the Israelites finally enter their own land? (History)
- Which section includes poems written by David? (Poetry)
- In which section does Paul write to churches? (Letters)
- Which section talks about what happened right after Jesus died? (History – New Testament)
- Which section has people like Jonah warning people to turn back to God? (Prophets, History)
- Which section tells us how Jesus will return and make every wrong right again? (Prophecy)
- Which section was Jesus in? (Gospels)
- Which section includes a vision from John about the end of the world? (Prophecy)
- Which section talks about the Israelites wandering from God over and over again? (History, Prophets, Poetry, Law)
- In which section is Moses the leader of the God’s People? (Law)
- Which section is made up of letters written by Jesus’ followers? (Letters)
- Which section is written by four different writers who all told the same story? (Gospels)
- In which section do the disciples start churches all over the world? (History – New Testament)
- Which Old Testament section is full of people telling the future? (Prophets)
- If you were going to write a song or a rap about your feelings toward God, which section might that go in? (Poetry)
- In which section did Joshua lead God’s People? (History)
- In which section do we see the Holy Spirit do miracles and heal people? (History – New Testament)
- In which section did God create the first people? (Law)
- Which section tells us how human history will end? (Prophecy, Prophets)
- Which section has books named after the people to whom they were written? (Letters)
- Which section of the Bible can you find prophecies of Jesus’ first coming? (Prophets)
- What section might comfort you if you were feeling sad, angry, joyful, or confused? (Poetry)
- Which section includes the story of Jesus dying for our sins and rising from the grave? (Gospels)
Our review cards are an excellent way to review your past lessons with your students before each study. Not every lesson has one yet but if we have them, you can find them on the PRINT page. Check them out and use them each week to help your students grab hold of the truths in these studies.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.