Teaching Bible: Subject by Subject, Part 5

Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Subjects: Bible

Of all the subjects we include in our children’s education, the most important should be their Bible lessons.

When Charlotte Mason talked about the knowledge that is important to give our children, she cited, “First and chiefest is the knowledge of God, to be got at most directly through the Bible” (Vol. 6, p. 254).

So let’s talk about how to teach Bible.

Teaching The Living Book

Since the Bible is the living Book, we treat it as such by letting our children interact directly with it. Just as with other living books, we do not depend on fill-in-the-blank or true-and-false questions to guide them through Scripture. Instead, we read the Bible and require a narration. Discussion is encouraged following the narration.

Read and narrate the historical accounts.

The Old Testament accounts, the life of Christ recorded in the Gospels, and the acts of the early Church provide wonderful opportunities to read and narrate. Since those historical accounts are written in narrative form, it is easy to simply read them and ask the children to retell the stories in their own words.

Charlotte encouraged us to keep two things in mind when reading these accounts. First, try to read a full scene so the children get the whole gist of what is going on. Don’t feel obligated to stop and start at exact chapter breaks; go by scene changes in the narrative. Second, make necessary omissions. Some accounts are not as appropriate for young children to hear or understand at their tender age. Those narratives can be saved for future inclusion.

You’ll find a day-by-day guide to reading and narrating these Biblical history accounts in the first three of our history lesson plan books, covering Genesis through Acts.

Discuss and apply the epistles.

The epistles offer much food for thought and discussion. But beware of treating them like textbooks. Don’t settle for fill-in-the-blank type studies. Wherever possible, encourage your students to read and put the passage into their own words to test their comprehension. Discussion questions are welcome, as are gentle applications without heavy-handed sermonizing.

Feel free to make use of Bible study helps, such as Bible dictionaries or commentaries. But be careful not to use those aids as a crutch. Teach and show your children how to study Scripture for themselves first before they read another Bible student’s comments.

Sometimes it is hard to find good Bible studies that adhere to these superior study methods. That hunt is what led to our writing and publishing our own Bible studies. Some of our studies are designed for the whole family to complete together, like the study on Hebrews and one on Revelation.

Others are designed for older students to complete either with or without parental help, like the study on Proverbs or on Romans and one that teaches different Bible study methods.

The key is to get your children in the Word. But that is only half of it; you also need to get the Word in your children, and that means Scripture memory.

Memorize Scripture.

Charlotte’s students memorized several portions of Scripture every school year, both large and small portions. Our children (and we, as parents) should do the same.

As Charlotte explained, “It is a delightful thing to have the memory stored with beautiful, comforting, and inspiring passages, and we cannot tell when and how this manner of seed may spring up, grow, and bear fruit” (Vol. 1, p. 253).

The Scripture Memory System described on our website is a great tool to help your whole family learn and review individual verses or whole chapters of the Bible, all in just five or ten minutes per day. Consistency is a key to getting the Word in your children.

So read and narrate the historical accounts, discuss and apply the epistles, and memorize Scripture. With these simple yet powerful methods you can give your children the most important knowledge of their lives: the knowledge of God in the Bible.

Daily Lesson Plans for History, Geography, and Bible

If you are looking for a simple way to teach history, geography, and Bible to all of your students together, take a look at the lesson plan books listed below. The planning has all been done for you.

Each one gives you a book list for the entire year. Some of the books are available through Simply Charlotte Mason, some can be downloaded for free on the Internet, and some you’ll find at your local library or favorite bookstore. Get the books listed for the whole Family and the books listed for the grade levels in which you have students, then simply follow the daily plans to enjoy a full year of history, geography, and Bible in a Charlotte Mason style.


  1. I looked at all 6 of the different email subjects today. I’ve never really done Bible but devotions with my children, because I was unsure of what to do with my children and everything that I saw has always been more like devotions not learning the bible. My kids are 13, 11, 8, 6 and 2. I feel like I’ve missed out soo much in doing with them. Honestly, somehow I missed a lot in remembering things in church/Sunday School. I was searching on the site today, and I found a few Bible curriculums that I checked out here. Gosh, I wish I could remember what each was called. I think one was called, “Life in the Word.” I’ll describe at what I’m referring to. So one I found that actually had hands-on activities. There was one that it seemed the student did on their own, but since we’ve done nothing together shouldn’t I get something that we can all do together. My 13 yr. old is very smart, and enjoying doing on his own though. My 11 yr. old still needs direction, and my 8 yr. old is a very hands-on child. So I need some direction in what would work. I have no clue on where to start in the Bible with my kids. Honestly, I’m hoping to learn with my kids as I’m embarrassed to say, but I’m excited. I’ve always home-schooled, but I happened to attend one of the “Rails” work-shops at MassHope and I feel this teaching I’ve missed along the way. Thank-you!!

    • Hi, Kelley –

      The best way to begin is to start reading through the accounts in the Old and New Testament, one episode at a time, and have your children tell the story back to you in their own words – narrate. That method requires more thinking skills than it seems. And you can use more active ways of narrating if desired. Some of the ideas on this Narration Ideas list may be helpful.

      For your 13-year-old, from what you have described, I think Life in the Word would be a good fit. It walks the student through the steps of Bible study and could also be used as a parent-and-child team study that you do together with him if desired.

      Please don’t feel embarrassed about learning along with your children. That’s one of the best perks of homeschooling!

  2. Just a quick comment to let you know how much I am enjoying learning alongside with my children following your lesson plans for Genesis-Deuteronomy. We are now in Exodus and the commentary that goes along w it is excellent. I made posters based on the charts about the ten plagues and how the true God discredited the Egyptian gods because I was getting so into it. Oh–and I also like how the kids are now doing various readings in history on their own once/week for a time bc that’s a nice little break for me.

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