“Why are we reading the Bible? I thought this was history class!”
Comments like this one remind me why I love working with 6th graders. They aren’t afraid to say exactly what they are thinking at any moment in time. I also thought that it was a great question. So, when a student asked this, we stopped the lesson to discuss it in class.
What does the Bible have to do with history class? At first, the students thought the answer was easy. After all, in 6th grade history our students learn about ancient civilizations. They discover how mummies were made, why rivers were important, and the beginnings of democracy in Greece. It seems simple to see how the Old Testament fits into this class. After all, ancient Egypt plays an important role in the history of the Hebrews!
Then, we took the discussion a little deeper. Besides the historical context of the Bible, how do the Bible and a Christian worldview affect our studies? I asked the 6th graders to think and write about this question. Here’s what they had to say:
- I think it’s because we (Christians) look at history differently than anyone else.
- Believing in God makes me want to question what some historians say.
- I can be cautious of what other people think about the past and I can compare it to the Bible.
- My Christian beliefs and values help me decide everything I do and believe in life.
- You can learn to see God through history.
- We, as Christians, look at history with the understanding and belief that God is in control of all that happens. It is for His glory alone, whether we understand why or agree with what happened.
Even in middle school, our students are beginning to struggle with difficult worldview questions. What do I believe, and why? Why is the world the way it is? What do I say to people who don’t believe in God? They find that sometimes we have more questions than answers in history class. They find that not all historians agree with each other. They find that a Christian perspective is not always welcomed in academic circles. And, hopefully, our students begin to learn that they must seek out how to give “a reason for the hope that is in you” (I Peter 3:15), whether they are reading about Abraham and Moses from the Bible or ancient China and Rome in a history textbook. So yes, we read the Bible in history class!
Ms. Kala Walls serves LCS as a 6th grade Social Studies teacher, and as the International Student Program Coordinator. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.