Bible Handling Goals for 8-11 year olds

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.

This document and guides for other age groups can be found on the Max7 website

Knowledge – Familiarity with the story form

The children will

• be able to indicate the main characters and events in a narrative
• read narration or drama with intonation in their voice
• order more complicated events
• begin to identify with one or more of the characters
• know the names and stories of key people in the Bible
• know the different Bible genres
• be able to identify the genre of a passage, with help.

Learning a biblical overview

The children will

• know the Bible as God’s word
• realise that the Bible was not originally written in English but in the language of the culture and time
• know that the Bible is set over a long period of time
• know that there is both an Old and a New Testament
• know that the Old Testament takes place before Jesus and the New from his time onwards
• have some awareness of the historical context of key events
• be able to indicate on a map the area where the key events of the Bible took place
• know where in the Bible key events take place, and the order in which they occurred
• learn to explore Bible passages with some understanding of where they fit into the ‘big picture’.

Skills – Devotional and meditative approach

The children will

• know the importance of reading the Bible regularly
• be able to draw upon the Bible to enrich worship
• learn to reflect on the spiritual significance of a Bible passage.

Basic Bible-handling skills

The children will be able to

• indicate at the top of the page where the name of the Bible book is to be found
• find a Bible passage from a page number
• find a Bible passage from a reference (know how to use the contents page)
• read a short passage out loud with increasing fluency
• memorise longer Bible verses.

Interpretative skills

The children will be able to

• understand some of the cultural influences on the Bible’s teaching
• think critically about what they read or hear – Do they agree or disagree? Is the principle transferable into their own, different culture?
• be able to link the Bible teaching to a contemporary setting.

Use of Bible aids

The children will

• own a Bible that they can dip into spontaneously
• have experienced a variety of books, visual aids and craft activities to enhance Bible understanding
• know what a concordance is and that they can look up words in it alphabetically
• be able to locate and use maps and other material found at the back of the Bible.

Understanding major themes and doctrines

The children will:

• begin to link biblical concepts and themes together
• have a good understanding of key themes in the Bible such as love, justice, Lordship, sin and forgiveness
• know and understand words such as ‘grace’ and ‘redemption’
• know that there are different kinds of love and recognise which are featured in the Bible
• realise that different denominations interpret some passages in different ways
• know their own church’s position on receiving communion and the biblical reason for celebrating it.


The children will:

• have respect for the Bible because it is God’s word
• like the stories in the book and develop a love for the book itself
• understand the significance of the Bible.

You might also like

The Journal is updated every month. Use our New Issue E Mail Alert Sign Up to stay informed.

One thought on “Bible Handling Goals for 8-11 year olds

  1. This article beautifully gives a list and explanation of all the things that 8-11 year old’s should know. As I thought about previous ministry experiences and even my own experience I would say that most churches do not reach these goals. However, I would say that in my current church I am seeing more children have a better grasp of what the Bible says and how they are supposed interpret scripture, though there is always room for improvement. I think the reason that churches often do not reach these goals is because they do not aim for them, because they think that children cannot reach them, and yet children can and we therefore miss an opportunity and communicate to our kids that the Bible is too complex for them.

Comments are closed.