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Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

November 19, 2012

Bible Basics for Teens

Earlier this year we had the honor of publishing an excellent introduction to the Bible by Franciscan University professor John Bergsma called Bible Basics for Catholics: A New Picture of Salvation History. Dr. Bergsma, who is a colleague of Dr. Scott Hahn, is known for his fun and creative drawings that illustrate the deep meaning behind the Old Testament biblical texts. He has a unique approach to teaching the Old Testament that all religion teachers can learn from and teens will surely enjoy.

Bible Basics

What is really remarkable about this book is the memorable drawings of challenging texts. In a world with so much technology, students learn more visually today than ever before. Dr. Bergsma's drawings act as excellent teaching tools for the modern learner.

Earlier this year, Dr. Bergsma gave a webinar titled, "How to Get Through the Bible in an Hour," in which he shared brief samples of his creative illustrations. Here is the recording of that webinar:

Watch his presentation on YouTube or Vimeo.

Dr. Bergsma works really fast in this presentation, so you may want to watch and rewatch the way he teaches certain stories in the Bible: Creation, Abraham, Moses, David, the Prophets, and the Eucharist. You may even want to pick out clips from the presentation to show to your students. Dr. Bergsma's book, Bible Basics for Catholics, gives a step-by-step explanation and discussion that dig deep into the key Old Testament stories that illustrate God's covenants throughout salvation history.

Teaching Bible Basics to Teens

Whether you teach a course on Sacred Scripture or occasionally include a lesson or two on the Bible, reflect on the following questions:

  1. How can I use images to teach about the meaning of the Old Testament and the New Testament?
  2. What connections can I show between the Old Testament and the New Testament?
  3. How can I help students see God's "covenant" in the texts we will study?
  4. How can I use humor to spike my students' interest in the Bible?

Bible Basics for Catholics is also available as an eBook on the Kindle and Nook or on the iPad using the Kindle or Nook apps.


1 Mandy

July 11, 2014
Thank you for this valuable lesson and tool! May I ask why you stopped after the gospels? Is there a similar resource for the rest of the New Testament? Thank you and God Bless!

2 Jared Dees

July 11, 2014
Hi Mandy! This may be top secret news, but Dr. Bergsma is working on a book in a similar format based on the New Testament!

3 Mandy Vigna

July 18, 2014
Thanks Jared, and I'm excited to hear it. As I reread my comment, I hope it didn't sound rude. I wasn't trying to complain; I just wondered if there was a specific reason (other than time of course) Revelations was separated from the rest. Thanks and God Bless!

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