Bible Handling Goals for Children – 5 years old and under

An age-appropriate guide for children’s use of the Bible – their knowledge of its content, skills in using it and attitudes towards it.

Children of different ages approach the Bible in different ways. As their general skills grow, so does their understanding of the Bible and their skill in using it. The statements below represent the knowledge, skills and attitudes that leaders will encourage and help children to develop by the upper end of their age group.


Familiarity with the story form

The children will know that the Bible is:

  • a big, special book that is not the same as other books
  • something to enjoy
  • something to learn with
  • something to have fun with
  • something to explore.
  • Learning a biblical overview

The children will know that the Bible is God’s book, contains words from God and stories about God/Jesus and is the book that adults and child role models think is important and wonderful.


Devotional and meditative approach

The children will:

  • learn to concentrate for short periods on listening to and hearing what is in the Bible
  • expect that what is going to be explored with the Bible will be a positive experience
  • not be over-cautious or reluctant to do Bible things because the Bible is too serious
  • be positive about Bible words like ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’.

Basic Bible-handling skills

The children will

  • open the Bible (or children’s version of the Bible) and look inside
  • hold the book up the right way
  • begin to grasp the link between written and spoken words.

Interpretative skills

The children will:

  • know the Bible is about God/Jesus
  • know the Bible is important to people
  • find out about Bible stories and truths for the first time
  • understand what they hear and know of God and the Bible events in terms of their limited life experience.

Use of Bible aids

  • The most important aid is the leader who guides them ‘into’ the world of the Bible.
  • The leader will use different types and styles of biblical material to introduce children to the Bible.
  • Artwork, illustrations and visual aids will demonstrate life in Bible times.

Understanding major themes and doctrines

The children will know that:

  • God made everything and God made them
  • God knows them and loves them – they’re special to him
  • God can do anything and he knows everything
  • God is everywhere and he’s always with them
  • they can rely on God – he knows what to do. They’re safe with him.


The children will …

  • see the Bible as something that enthuses adults
  • be happy that what follows ‘Let’s have a Bible story’ is something they want to hear
  • know that the Bible says what they should do or have in the group and they’re OK with that
  • look forward to exploring more of the Bible.

This article is based on guidelines used by Scripture Union to help shape materials used for Bible engagement.