Most ministry leaders accept that many Bible stories are “modified” so that they can be told to kids. It’s quite common in kidmin to tell the story of David’s life while leaving out some of the bad decisions he made as king. Most kid-renditions of the story of Noah stop right before he spends a little too much time in his vineyard.
Though many have a problem with this approach, there is something that can be more detrimental when teaching kids from The Bible.
There is a difference between paraphrasing a Bible story to make it appropriate for kids and adding to it to make it more interesting. The latter is not acceptable.
Here’s an example; If you wanted to tell the story of the miracle of Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000, you would simply want to read the story as it is in the Bible. You might preface it by explaining the culture of that time or follow up the reading with some clarifying comments. You might even give a modern illustration of a similar event that happened in today’s times. But you would be clear in saying that these things are meant to help the kids understand the story. You wouldn’t want to embellish the story by adding characters or by changing it altogether.
If you give the impression that something is IN the Bible and it’s NOT, you can really cause confusion in kids as they begin to dive into scripture themselves.
1) Making up characters that are not in the story
2) Giving names to name-less characters in the story
3) Adding words/text/sentences that are not in the story
4) Creating an additional story to set up or conclude the actual story without communicating that the made-up story is NOT in the Bible.
5) Changing the names/setting/characters to modern versions of those things without communicating that “this is a modern-day version” of the Bible Story. (Many actually have a problem with this one.)
God’s Word is rich in truth and is “God-breathed.” While we want the kids in our ministry to be fully engaged and receptive, we don’t want to put words into God’s mouth. Use illustrations. Use modern-day parables. Use and communicate that you are using supporting stories. But, when it comes to the Bible, stick to THE story, it’s a good one!