Jul 132013

What Bible Study Tools are Available for Your Non-Reader?

Biblical studies are inherently text-based because they are based upon The Bible. However, there are some great visual, bible study tools available to you.

Finding ready-made visual materials for teaching your visual learner can be difficult. As noted in “Using Multimedia Resources in Teaching the Bible“, the authors point out “Theological education (especially in the Protestant Christian tradition) has largely neglected the pictorial-spacial capacities of the brain.

The emphasis on the primacy of the Word in Protestant circles has magnified the tendency to look with suspicion on the making of images. Nevertheless, visual thinking continues to be the clearest learning ‘channel’ for many people.”

What this means is most bibles are simply text. Few are visual in nature with the exception of kids’ bibles. These days, there are also software and apps that can be used as bible study tools in a more auditory and/or visual way.

There are several illustrated bibles with drawings in them. These visual bibles help convey meaning to young, visual learners, particularly for very young learners. Illustrated bibles are great for any visual learner, because it has been shown “the highest level of recall comes from the simultaneous presentation of corresponding verbal and visual input.” (Dalton & Farmer, 2002). There are many Illustrated Bibles available on Amazon.com make awesome bible study tools. Our favorite is probably the DK Illustrated Family Bible, which contains additional information on history, artifacts, traditions, etc.

For a true multisensory learning experience, which is best for all types of learners, you might want to consider full, multisensory bible study tools. In their multimedia study, Dalton & Farmer found that “caricatures worked better than photographic images for supporting or illustrating ideas and that the more abstract the concept to be communicated, the more cartoon-like the related image needed to be.” This is important because it is the main element that makes the curriculum we use ‘ideal’ for Bible studies. I have found only one bible study tool that is “ideal” — Grapevine Stick Figuring Through the Bible. We used it with our boys and they both enjoyed the program.

A complimentary copy of Grapevine Stick Figuring Through the Bible was sent to me for review. This program provides basic Bible studies through daily reading assignments and plenty of space for the student to draw their “rendition” of the Bible passage in stick-figure form. While my youngest was reluctant to draw in the beginning because he thought he was “not a good drawer”, he has decided it’s fun to come up with entertaining renditions of the Bible verses. The GREAT thing about the Grapevine Studies is through the act of reading, then drawing a meaningful rendition, the child engages his visual and kinesthetic learning styles. This allows the daily concept to be more fully retained, making Grapevine one of the great bible study tools for kinesthetic or tactile learners. While the concept is simple, and illustration is a highly effective way of helping children remember what they’ve read.

The Stick Figuring curriculum comes in several different levels. The various levels add on small levels of higher level thinking. Therefore, a child who is behind in reading ability doesn’t have a problem using the simpler versions. Your child will have fewer, and less intense, questions to answer in consideration of the verses he’s read using the simpler version. The verses appear to be very similar across versions.

Teach Your Children Well: A Christian Guide is an eBook designed to help Christian parents teach their children Christian doctrine, Christian virtues, rightly interpreting the Bible, and guarding against false beliefs. The book provides many word pictures parents can use in teaching these truths. While this is a book, so it’s not much different than using a bible, it is one of the bible study tools that can take advantage of a computer’s text-to-speech function. You can have the computer read aloud to your child.

The authors of the Multimedia Resources study also examined the American Bible Society’s “New Media Bible.” It is targeted towards high school students as one of the bible study tools. While I couldn’t find this resource available on Amazon, I did find McGee’s New Media Kids’ Bible for younger children. I also found several New Media Bible videos on Amazon.

We have also been able to find some great educational videos about Jesus’ life, “Walk Through the Bible” and Biblical times through Discovery Channel DVDs. You can search the Discovery store for “Bible” or “Religion”. As always, the Discovery Channel videos are very colorful and visually “rich”. You’ll also find visually rich **National Geographic DVDs. When you go and land on the main page, search for “religion” and the results will be for videos of some of the biblical lands, Easter, or the Geography of the Bible.

Check Out These Games you can use as Bible Study Tools:

Check Out These APPS you can use as Bible Study Tools:

bible study tools

Check Out These Software Programs you can use as Bible Study Tools:

Check Out These Videos/DVDs you can use as Bible Study Tools:

While it can be difficult to make bible study into a multisensory experience, it can be done using great bible study tools. Some of the best bible study tools include using arts or crafts supplies to create visual representations in a hands on manner, or enacting mini skits to act out scenes. You might not be able to find readily available multimedia representations of the Bible, but your child’s mind is well-equipped to creatively represent the Bible in his own way.

*Dalton, R.W. & Farmer, K.A. (2002) Using Multimedia Resources in Teaching the Bible. Teaching the Bible Today. Interpretation.