Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

July 14, 2014

Working with Bible Study Aids

Your school may be embarking on Elective Course A, Sacred Scripture, of the USCCB Doctrinal Framework. Even if you are not, Scripture study plays prominently in each of your school's required and elective courses. Correspondingly, making sure students are familiar with Bible study aids (e.g., Bible dictionaries, one-volume Bible commentaries, and Bible concordances) is an essential prerequisite for this task. Use the following exercise to introduces students to these tools.

Activity Directions

Introduce students to these Bible study tools: the Bible dictionary, a one-volume Bible commentary, and a Bible concordance. Display at least one example of each to show the class. Then have them complete the following short exercises with their group. Allow about five minutes to work. Then rotate the study aids. Continue until each group does one assignment for each study aid.

Bible Dictionary Assignments

  1. Look up and define "nomads" and list one example of nomadism from the Bible.
  2. Look up "genealogy." How many genealogies are there in the Bible? List them.
  3. Look up "mystery." How is it defined in the Old Testament? How is it defined in the New Testament.

One-Volume Bible Commentary

  1. List three interesting facts about Jesus' anointing at Bethany (Mk 14:1-11).
  2. What are the origins and background of Hannah's hymn of praise (1 Sm 2:1-11)?
  3. What does Paul mean by "freedom from the Law" (Rom 7:1-25)?

Bible Concordance

  1. What is the first reference of "Jerusalem" in the Bible? (Jos 10:1) What is the last reference? (Rv 21:10)
  2. What is the Scripture reference for "Such a one, man or beast must not be allowed to live"? (Ex 19:13)
  3. Which Gospel has the most references to St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus? (Matthew)

Option: Arrange a trip to your school library (or local Catholic university library) to compare single-volume Bible commentaries with multi-volume versions.

This activity is part of the Ave Maria Press textbook Sacred Scripture: A Catholic Study of God's Word by Dr. Daniel Smith-Christopher and Fr. Patrick Mullen.

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