In Heart of Wisdom unit study lessons we quote the King James Bible. Occasionally we give side-by-side comparisons of several versions.
We recommend a chronological Bible for reading through the Bible in a year and give the page numbers to The Narrated Bible. The text in The Narrated Bible can be used for dictation and copying lessons (for teaching handwriting, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation), because it is written in everyday English.
The Narrated Bible
The Narrated Bible is arranged chronologically. Throughout the lessons in Ancient History: Adam to Messiah, you will see a Bible icon with numbers; the numbers correspond to page numbers in The Narrated Bible. We recommend The Narrated Bible for several reasons:
The chronological arrangement helps students see how various Scriptures fit with each other and with their historical settings.
The modern English used is familiar and easy to understand. It is amazingly easy to read through several books of the Bible in one sitting with this story format.
Because it is written in everyday English, the text can be used for dictation and copying lessons.
The layout of the book is ideal for teaching students how to outline. Each section includes excellent titles and subtitles, which give a concise overview of the theme.
Helpful background information (narrative commentary) is written to integrate with most Scriptures in such a way that it is part of an unfolding story (in a separate and distinct typeface and color).
Throughout the presentation of Scripture, chapter and verse designations are placed in the margin for easy reference.
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon are divided thematically. Topic examples: Discipline, Temper, Patience, Greed, Flattery, Controlled Speech, etc. We have created a Cause and Effect Worksheet to use with these readings.
Use the Bible for Copywork
Copywork and dictation are underrated. Both provide ongoing practice for handwriting, spelling, grammar, etc. Both are good exercises for teaching accuracy and attention to detail, and students discover things about the text they are copying that they would be unlikely to notice otherwise. In dictation, the child writes as the parent reads. Students learn correct spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and other language mechanics when they compare their work to the original and correct their mistakes.
All of the major English Bible versions, such as New King James, Revised Standard, New American Standard and New International, offer fine scholarship and are good translations. Each clearly presents God’s truth, and especially the Gospel (good news) that forgiveness and eternal life come through faith alone because Jesus Christ died to take away our sins and rose again to make us innocent in God’s sight (Romans 4:25).
The KJV is a favorite for many people, and many of the best reference books (such as the two most widely used exhaustive concordances) are keyed to this translation. The KJV is an excellent translation of the Bible. However, if you have been taught to use the KJV only, we recommend that you study where our Bible came from and how we got the translations (hint: Paul didn’t use the 1611 version). Don’t rely only on others’ teachings about this. Click for articles and links to a study related to KJV Onlyism. The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is a modern translation that is very accurate as to the original Hebrew and Greek.
Every translation has strengths and weaknesses. The primary benefit of using different translations is in being able to see the comparisons between them. Sometimes words or phrases in one version are easier to understand than in another. Several publishers offer parallel Bibles, where different translations are placed side by side on the same page.
Versions to be wary of include The Living Bible, The Reader’s Digest version, etc., because they are not really translations-they are paraphrases, which means that the writers have incorporated their own interpretations in the text.
Bible Study Tips
Build study and reasoning skills by choosing a section of your reading to study in depth.
- Observation: What does it say? Pay close attention to the passage, noticing contrast, repetition and progression, as well as the facts.
- Interpretation: What does it mean? Prayerfully meditate on the contents, seeking to find its meaning, particularly from the author’s point of view.
- Application: What does it mean to me? Are there promises to be claimed, commands to be obeyed, sins to be repented of? Look for prayer topics for yourself, for others, for your family, for the country and the world.
Use questions to probe the passage that you are studying.
Jesus taught by asking questions.
- Who – Who is the author of the book? To whom is he writing? Who are the major and minor characters?
- Where – Where do the events occur? Are there any references to towns, cities, provinces? If so look them up in a Bible atlas or on a map. Many Bibles contain historical maps just for this purpose. If you are reading a letter, where do the recipients if of the letter live?
- When – Are there any references to time, day, month, or year? Are there references to the timing of other events happening in relation to this event?
- What – What actions or events are taking place? What words or ideas are repeated or are central to the passage. What is the mood (joyous or somber, soft or stern, intense or peaceful, instructional or informational)?
- Why – Does the passage offer any reasons, explanations, statements of purpose? Why did the Holy Spirit move the author to write these words?
- How – How is the passage written? Is is a letter, speech, poem, parable? Does it use figures of speech (similes, metaphors)? How is it organized (around people, ideas, geography)?
Use the Bible Study Tools
Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. Stop when prompted by your own interest or childrens’ questions to learn from your tools.
A. Do a word study using the concordance.
B. Look up customs and manners in a Bible handbook.
C. Look up words in a Bible dictionary.
D. Look up the location in a Bible atlas.
E. Look up passage in a commentary.
F. Compare different translations.
G. Look up cross-references.