One of the issues that makes it difficult for many young people to develop independent Bible reading habits is vocabulary. The Bible is full of words not in the daily vocabulary of many children, words that have a slightly different meaning than their definition in a secular setting and even random words of other languages. Helping Bible students develop a strong Bible vocabulary is critical to their independent Bible study success.
A recent study uncovered something that can make learning Bible vocabulary words more fun and more effective. It seems that when students were given a motion that illustrated the meaning of a word and used that motion to practice it, they were 73% more likely to remember that word two months later. They also found that associating a specific photo with a word helped, but not as dramatically as the gestures.
This method will take some serious creativity on your part. How for example, does one make a motion that illustrates righteousness? It is unclear whether ASL signs would work, although one might logically assume they would have some sort of positive impact. The added benefit of using ASL would be teaching children a language they could use in a ministry to the deaf, with its serious shortage of those who can sign.
The next time you teach your Bible students some new vocabulary words, throw in illustrative gestures. Use them to review the words. You may be surprised how easily your students begin to master really difficult words.