Teaching Deeper Bible Studies: YS Idea Lab with Andy Blanks

Jacob Eckeberger
March 21st, 2016

We’re all familiar with the challenges of teaching groups of students who have varying levels of biblical literacy. Sometimes the tendency is to oversimplify things, but that’s a trap you can’t fall into. If you only offer surface-level Bible studies, you’ll do more harm than good and create some significant roadblocks in the discipleship process.

In this YS Idea Lab, Brian Aaby asks Andy Blanks from Youth Ministry 360 to share some of his tips for teaching deeper Bible study to teens.

If you don’t have time to watch the full interview, here’s a quick look at some of the key points:

1) Teach in Context

Orient what you’re teaching in the greater narrative of Scripture. If you don’t put the stories in context, then students won’t get the big-picture story of God’s redemptive love. Start out by describing the verse, then move a little wider to describe the chapter, then talk about the book, and then place it all in the timeline of Scripture.

2) Ask Great Questions

Knowledge-based questions are important. They help us remember key people involved in stories, what they did, and the words they said. But you can’t stop at knowledge-based questions. You can take the conversation a bit deeper by asking compare-and-contrast questions: What did we see Jesus do here that he did differently in another place? You can also ask application questions: How do Jesus’ words change the way you interact with your parents? Another idea is to ask students to paraphrase verses, forcing them to rethink the Scripture and put it in their own words.

3) Think in Terms of Five- to Seven-Minute Blocks

When you think in terms of these blocks, you create intentional breaks for students to take a breath, relax, and recalibrate for the next round of deeper questions. This helps you keep from overwhelming students with a deluge of tough questions.

4) Give Tangible Reminders

Andy shared a great idea of handing students physical objects that represent key elements in the Scripture you’re teaching. A tangible object (a rock, dice, a marble, etc.) could help students continue to think about the conversation throughout the week.

The YS Idea Labs are filmed on location at the National Youth Workers Convention. Check out more YS Idea Labs HERE.and register early for NYWC to save BIG: NYWC.COM.

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JACOB ECKEBERGER is the Content and Community Manager at Youth Specialties, an itinerant worship leader, the spouse of a church planter, and a long time volunteer youth worker. You can find him blogging about social media and digital strategy ideas at JACOBECKEBERGER.COM.

Jacob Eckeberger

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.