Forming Faith Blog

Bible Basics (Bible Nuts & Bolts)


Free Resource: Bible Nuts & Bolts (Cross+Gen Ed activity)

Bolts, Screws, and NutsJesus is the center of our faith, but Scripture is the main way we learn about Jesus and God’s kingdom work. We do this by hearing, reading, and studying the Bible both in a community and on our own. However, to fully understand the Bible, we need information and skills that cannot be found directly in the text of Scripture.

The Bible Is Foreign

One of the reasons that we need help understanding the Bible is that, despite our English translations, it’s a series of documents from a period of ancient times in cultures and countries foreign to us. Most of us agree that to understand the words of Shakespeare, we not only need help to decipher his form of English but also to learn the cultural context of his audience so that we understand his references (and humor). How much more so do we need help gaining the skill and information needed to understand the Bible?

Bible Skills & Resources

If we have been a part of a congregation or have experience reading Scripture, we can easily decode a Bible citation (e.g. John 3:16). However, for those who are new to the Bible, either because of age or being new to the faith, it may not seem self-explanatory. We also may not know what the Old Testament and New Testament are, or what a Gospel is. Neither may we know how to use a study Bible or the tiny footnoted text at the bottom of many Bible pages.

Many Christians don’t know what a genre is (a type of literature like fantasy or romance) or how understanding the genre(s) of a Bible book can help us interpret what we’re reading. Do we all know that the book we hold in our hands is a translation from ancient languages and that the translators must make decisions on what words to use in their translations (and therefore the act of translation involves interpretation)?

Assumed Knowledge

There’s also the general knowledge assumed by the writers of the Bible books. Does everyone know:

  • Who were the Gentiles, the scribes, or the Pharisees?
  • Who were the Romans and what were they doing in Jerusalem?
  • What is a parable?
  • What do the words Messiah and Christ mean?
  • And many more.
Bible Nuts & Bolts

All of this is the reason why most of our Living the Word (Narrative Lectionary) products, provide a Bible Nuts & Bolts activity or information box, teaching these skills and sharing this information. The topics of our Bible Nuts & Bolts change each week and include subjects like:

  • What is the Old Testament?
  • Finding Scriptures (using Bible citations)
  • What is a covenant?
  • What is the kingdom of God?
  • How can Bible maps help us?

This week’s free resource is a sample Bible Nuts & Bolts activity from our Living the Word: Cross+Generational Education curriculum called “Common Threads,” an activity that can be used with all ages, either together or separately. This activity teaches participants about how to use Bible citations to find verses in the Bible.

-Gregory Rawn (Publisher)


2018-2019 (NL Year 1) faith formation materials are now available for purchase. Fall lessons can be downloaded right away! You can download the 2018-2019 Planning Tool and Scope & Sequence to start your planning for the next program year!

For more great ideas on how to engage participants of all ages in the story of God’s love, check out our Living the Word series for elementary students, youth, adults, and intergenerational settings!

Image Copyright: mashe / 123RF Stock Photo

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