Today’s assembly was for one of our local Infants school’s and themed around the Bible is a library:
To help the children understand the variety of material in the Bible.
Preparation and Materials
- A large Bible (you could borrow a lectern Bible from church).
- Two benches or equivalent, one on either side of you.
- A4 cards showing the following words, one on each: Stories, Songs, Poems, History, Wise sayings, Laws, and four road signs.
If I asked you what your favourite book in all the world is – hands up if you would be able to name one straight away? Books are fantastic and the great thing about them is that there are books to suit everyone. Hands up if you like books about cars, wizards, pirates, detectives, cook books?
What book am I thinking about now? It’s in two main parts. One part is a special book for Jewish people, Christians and others. The second part is the Christians’ special book. But the whole thing is not just one book but lots of books – it’s the Bible.
Does anyone know how many books are in the Bible? The two parts are the Old Testament (39 books) and the New Testament (27 books). So it’s a bit more like a library of books than just one book.
Ask the children about going to the library – if there’s a school library you could talk about how we choose different books. I expect your teachers really like you to choose a wide variety of different books, not always the same kind. That helps us to learn about lots of different things.
So I thought we would create a human library today. I am going to need some volunteers. Invite a number of children up to represent the different types of books that we find in the Bible library. Don’t go into too much detail – you just want to give them the idea that the Bible is a rich and varied collection. Give them the A4 cards to hold. Put some volunteers on the OT ‘shelf’ (bench) and some on the NT.
Christians believe that as we read the Bible we get to know God better. There are lots of great children’s books and Bible stories (you could show some or mention where they are in the school library). Even if we find it hard to read the Bible ourselves at the moment we can listen to others tell us the stories and get to know God that way. Above all, Christians believe that God’s great book, the Bible, is meant to be enjoyed by everyone.
Ask the children what each road sign stands for:
- No entry
- One way
- Danger from falling rocks.
Show a Bible and point out that Christians and people of other faiths believe that it is a book that contains much wisdom that can help us to live a better life.
Show the ‘No entry’ sign. Sometimes the Bible tells us that it is better for us not to follow certain ways of living (such as being selfish and holding on to our possessions). You may wish to draw attention to the Ten Commandments. Christians believe that this is not because God is a ‘spoil sport’ but because God loves and cares for us.
Show the ‘Stop’ sign. Explain that sometimes in the Bible there are stories and laws that tell us to stop doing something we are already doing. It may be that we are hurting other people or doing something that we know is wrong. The Bible shows us that we should stop doing wrong and follow a life that is good and helps and cares for others.
Show the ‘One way’ sign. The Bible shows us a way to live that encourages us to think of others before ourselves. It asks us to not always put ourselves first and make demands, but to consider other people’s ideas and preferences. We will be happier when we live like this.
Show the ‘Danger’ sign. Explain that Christians believe that the Bible is not there to make our lives boring or miserable but to show us a good way to live that makes those around us happy. It shows us that there is a danger of living lives so caught up with ourselves that we end up making ourselves and those around us unhappy too.
Recap that the Bible is not just a rule book for Christians to follow; it is full of examples of how we can live our lives for others. Many people find that it gives them direction and provides them with peace and comfort. Some people believe that God speaks directly to them through the Bible and others find it a good source of interesting stories and wisdom from the earliest civilizations. It tells the stories of Jesus and his followers in the New Testament, and of the Jewish people in the Old Testament.
Time for reflection
Think about books. What kind of books do you like? Do you have a favourite book and a favourite writer? Do you know any very old stories such as those you might read in the Bible or from ancient legends?
Dear God, thank you for all the different types of books. Thank you for the joy of reading. Thank you for the Bible, for the stories, letters, poems and songs, history and more that we find between its pages. Amen.