Illustrating the Text: Making Bible Study Memorable

My teenage sister, Caitlin, is currently studying the Precept Upon Precept course on Revelation. In many of the PUP studies, Kay asks the student to draw out events of the book (or passage of interest) in cartoon diagrams. Revelation is no exception! Kay asks the Revelation student to illustrate the entire book. And though I believe Kay’s intention was for simple, easy diagrams, my artistic sister created a cartoon masterpiece. Caitlin brought the book to life in memorable–and often hilarious–cartoon form. It captivates everyone who sees it!

For the summer, my cousin (5th grade) visited us. Caitlin’s cartoon Revelation enraptured him. He had never seen anything like it. He read it through again and again. He laughed, asked questions, and simply enjoyed the pictures with the text. My cousin went home understanding the layout of the often confusing book of Revelation. He could even relate some of its symbolism to his parents.

What Caitlin did is take Revelation chapter by chapter. Each new chapter had its own elaborately designed frontal page–the number of the chapter decked out in whatever fashion suited her fancy. In some areas Caitlin wrote out every word of the text, and in others she simply plugged in pertinent verses. If the text allowed, she even wrote events in her own words. Following the text, she plugged in her cartoons–sometimes scary and literal, sometimes purely stick-figure.

Your student may not be studying Revelation this year, but implement Kay’s illustrating technique anywhere, anytime throughout your semester studies. Yet use it like my sister did–take it to a creative cartoon level filled with personality, humor, and fun! (Yes, all of those are possible without sacrificing textual accuracy!) Hint: the fun of this project is what makes it successful and memorable. If you have creative students that want to tackle this, let them have freedom in working at it. Be hesitant about nailing them to a time table. If you are blessed with flexibility of time, be flexible in this. It can take awhile!

A few days after my cousin left us and reached home, my uncle called. “Do you know,” he chuckled, “he has begun illustrating Genesis.” And this on his own accord!

Cartoon illustrating captures imaginations and engages students creatively with the text. It brings to thrilling life those very words of life. No matter what age, no matter what book, this is an enjoyable assignment to tackle. It is for their memory, their understanding, and their ultimate goal of knowing more of God through His Word.

 

 Stephanie has been serving the past couple of years with Transform Student Ministries as a Boot Camp and Conference Staffer. Stephanie was also, a part of the Intern Program in 2010.

 

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