You may have noticed our Bible lessons and activities contain a link to the scriptures being used instead of having a written script of the story to read to your students. Many of the curricula you can purchase contain a written version of the story. Often it summarizes several chapters. It may add a few details to create a more modern story telling style. Sometimes it will add the theology of the writer.
In most, cases there is nothing wrong with using those scripted stories. A few may get some details wrong or add things unnecessarily. The main reason we chose to go the direct scripture route has nothing to do with any minor problems you may have with scripted Bible stories. We chose to use the Bible because we want your students to get used to the language of the Bible.
We have linked to the NIrV version because it is written on a third grade reading level, but is also a translation and not a paraphrase (which are more likely to have incorporated some author bias). The Bible was translated from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic into English. While the words are now English and in this case third grade English, the style is definitely from another time and culture.
One of the reasons many people struggle with Bible reading is they have never been taught how to appreciate the style in which it is written. If you regularly read large passages and stories from the Bible, your students will get used to hearing the stories as they were originally written. They will become comfortable with the flow and rhythm of the text. When they open their Bibles independently for the first time, there will be a level of comfort with the style of the books. (Revelation being a possible exception!)
When you teach your lesson, we don’t expect you to read every verse you are given to the students. Some stories are actually spread over two or three chapters with only a few verses in each chapter as part of the story line. Feel free to pull out those verses to read. Or tell the story in your own words while following the scripture and pull out one passage within the story to read exactly as written.
Make sure to stop every few sentences and ask the students to put it in their own words. You may even have to put it in your own words the first few times. Explain any “religious” words to them like righteousness. It may take you a little longer to tell the story, but what you are doing is extremely important.
Using the actual scriptures to tell your students Bible stories, is subtly teaching them the skill of understanding scriptures independently. It is preparing them to read the Bible independently with ease. In some ways, it is also encouraging them to begin reading the Bible independently. You are demonstrating to them they too can understand and grow to love the Bible without needing an adult to interpret it for them.
Whether you use our lesson plans or a curriculum from a company, take the time to read some or all of the story straight from the Bible. It helps you give your students a few extra vital skills every time you meet.