Have you thought very much about the questions you ask when you are teaching your Bible class? Perhaps you are using purchased curriculum and ask whatever questions they supply. Maybe you ask questions you believe your students will find interesting. You might even ask questions just to see if they were paying attention.
Questions can serve a critical function in your lesson. Carefully chosen and worded, they can not only be used to make sure students understand the facts of the lesson, but also move them into higher levels of processing the information.
If you have attended one of our seminars or workshops, you may remember a discussion on translating Bloom’s taxonomy for Bible classes. (Here’s a link to a handout on the topic., if you are unfamiliar with Bloom’s taxonomy and how to use it in a Bible class.) Asking specific types of questions can move your students from one of the lower levels of understanding to a higher level.
So what types of questions can you ask to help move your students to higher levels of understanding of God’s Words?
- Remembering Who was on the Ark? How many tribes were there in Israel? In what country were the Israelites slaves? Any basic question, which asks your students to recall details of the story will fit in this category. This category covers some (but not all) of the basic reporter’s questions – who? what? when? and where?
- Understanding What does righteousness mean? Can you give me an example of someone in the Bible who was gentle? Can you tell me in your own words what it means to be the light of the world? These questions will help your students communicate to you what they do and do not understand about what you have taught them. It is one thing to recite the facts, but facts are useless if the information has no meaning to your student.
- Applying What can you do to serve others like Tabitha? How can you share your faith and the changes it has meant in your life like the Apostle Paul? Your goal is to have your students take the information they now understand and figure out how to apply it in their every day life. Bible knowledge not applied is wasted.
- Analyzing Why do you think the mother of James and John was concerned about their place next to Jesus? How did Simon the Sorcerer and Cornelius handle the idea of gifts from the Holy Spirit differently? Why did Paul and Peter react to the Jewish Christians’ demands differently? These types of questions get your students to examine the scriptures more closely. Comparing and analyzing the actions of godly (and ungodly) men and women over time will help your students begin to notice patterns. Finding and mimicking the godly patterns can help your students make better choices in their own lives.
- Evaluating How important is showing love to others in Christianity? How important is your faith in your life? How trustworthy is the Bible? How do we know this is what God wants for our lives? This level is scary for many people, but it shouldn’t be. To truly make Christianity their identity and their lifestyle, your students will have to evaluate what they have learned from the Bible. They have to embrace God as the foundation of their lives and their choices. Only then will their faith truly become their own and not just a habit or a to-do list.
- Creating What are some ways to serve others and share our faith? Can you think of a way to solve xyz problem in the world that also honors God and points others to Him? How can you design your life so you are glorifying God in everything you do? These questions may seem better suited for teens and adults. In some ways, these higher-level questions should be questions Christians continue to ask themselves throughout their lives. With these questions, even young children can be encouraged to start dreaming godly dreams for their lives.
It’s important to remember not every student in your class will be ready to even think about answering higher levels of questions, and that’s okay. Asking a mix of questions – that include some from each level – will provide every student an opportunity to learn and grow towards higher levels of understanding in what you are teaching them.
So take a look at the questions you have for your next lesson. What categories do they cover? Take a few minutes and add some additional questions from other categories. Those few extra minutes can add to the learning experience for all of your students.