Critical thinking skills are crucial for Christian young people. Having strong critical thinking skills can help them avoid all sorts of false teaching. These skills involve more than just comparing what they are told or read to scripture – all that is one great critical thinking practice for them to learn and practice.
There are quite a few helpful resources for teaching critical thinking skills to young people. Some of these are secular, but can easily be adapted for Bible classes by changing the examples to ones they might encounter when discussing Christianity, God, the Bible, etc.
- Examples of Critical Thinking: Biblical Application. Answers in Genesis has a great article showing how to use critical thinking skills to analyze something from science. They have other resources that can help students analyze scientific “finds” – helping them understand why there are often multiple interpretations to the same data. https://answersingenesis.org/apologetics/critical-thinking/examples-of-critical-thinking-biblical-application/
- The Thinking Toolbox books by Nathaniel & Hans Bluedorn. These books are written primarily for teens, but would also work for many upper elementary students. Each principle is followed by examples and exercises designed to give students practice. In most cases it would be relatively easy to substitute appropriate examples from the Bible or religious discussions.
- Practical Critical Thinking for Grades 9-12 by Catherine Connors-Nelson. While this is a secular teacher’s manual and student book set, it has so many good basics in it. Many of the activities could be adapted or you could use the general skills information and develop your own activities.
- The “Case” book series by Lee Strobel. A former reporter, Strobel does a great job of hunting the evidence trail for many of the doubts expressed by people. His books have student and children’s versions as well as the adult ones. He has recently partnered with a Christian University in CO, so I anticipate more apologetics materials coming out from him over the next several years.
- RightNow Media. Our church has a free subscription to this service that we are all allowed to use. It has a wealth of videos – including some great ones with apologetics. If you have a child who would rather watch than read, this may be worth checking out – even if you have to pay for a subscription.
Taking the time to work with your students on critical thinking skills can protect them from not only the arguments of atheists and people from other religions, but also from false teaching within the church. It’s worth taking class time to help them master it.