Facts can be so interesting. I just learned that the moon returns to the same spot in the sky at the same phase every nineteen years. Fascinating.
I also just learned, from reading Route 66: Travel Through the Bible, that the citizens of Ur in Abram’s day worshiped the moon-god, Nannar. Also fascinating.
Both the lunar cycle tidbit and the description of the moon god of ancient Ur in our Bible curriculum are interesting facts. So, is this Bible curriculum something like a truckload of Bible facts we’re hoping to dump into the brains of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders? Of course not! The introductory material to Route 66: Travel Through the Bible expresses our hope for this study.
We encourage teachers to approach lessons not so much as a fact-finding process, but as a way to strengthen the students’ relationship with God.
Surveying the entire Bible, book by book, students will find facts. They will also learn primary themes, events, figures, and doctrines. But this is all to teach them about God and what He has done through His Son so they can “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Col. 1:10).
So when students learn that human sacrifice was a standard feature of pagan religion in Abram’s day—it’s not to equip them for a trivia challenge. It’s to explain why God’s command to sacrifice his son Isaac does not seem to surprise Abram. Even before Abram learns that God isn’t like Nannar, who demands child sacrifice, Abraham obeys and trusts God. And God declares Abram righteous because of his belief.
In the lesson this example is taken from, students will then see that God does the same today by graciously declaring us righteous for our faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:21–24). Not only is Route 66: Travel Through the Bible designed to strengthen the students’ relationship with God through a knowledge of facts, but also through application and a clear presentation of the gospel.