Shakespeare’s works alone contain more than 1500 Bible references!
Biblical text is a rich source of language, a combination of poetry and prose, and an excellent foundation for literary studies. Countless authors worldwide have been inspired by the Bible: Shakespeare, Goethe, Obioma, Dostoevsky to name a few.
Pupils are encouraged to respond freely to the text. The teacher helps them find words to express what they are feeling and thinking, and to trust and develop their own opinions.
The teacher further guides pupils in analyzing the text in terms of character, plot, theme, setting and literary devices (metaphors, personifications etc.).
Exploration of the text can be enriched by creative writing, such as narratives, interior monologues, dialogues and speech writing.
Here two examples of creative writing assignments:
Example writing assignment
Based on the story of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-19), retell the story from one of these three perspectives:
1. Tell the story from the perspective of a young girl or boy in the crowd that follows Jesus all the way from Capernaum to Nain.
2. Tell the story from the perspective of a girl or boy who was a friend of the young man who died (the son of the widow of Nain).
Write the story from the perspective of "I" – in the first person. Your story must be based on the facts mentioned in the passage.
Reread the passage carefully (Luke 7:11-19).
Decide if you are using yourself as the character or if you are creating a different persona. Be aware of who your character is: How old are you? What do you like doing? How many brothers and sisters do you have? What do you look like? You do not need to mention these details in your story, but it is good if you are clear about them in your head and heart – it will make your writing more authentic and convincing.
1. Example Answer Perspective 1
In the early morning, the sun shone weakly in a pale fresh sky. I shivered as I hurried outside; it was always chilly this early in the day. I left the small inn I had been staying in in Capernaum, and went out on the streets. I wasn’t alone. A few days ago the streets here were empty, when the only people who got up before dawn was the occasional shop keeper, and perhaps a stray cat. Now a large crowd over spilled into the roads, filled with excited people, energised people. Old, old men with bushy eyebrows and wise eyes leapt and bounded along with the crowd; women with colourful dresses laughed and chattered, none tired by the early start; a few children capered along, weaving between people and waving at onlookers; then there me, smiling at listening like many others; and in the centre, with his disciples and encircled by an interested, excited, engaged crowd, was Jesus. We were all following him, staying with him and watching the wonders he was doing. Today he was going to Nain - I didn’t know why, but I was sure something miraculous would happen if I followed.
The walk to Nain was long. It was a days worth. Along the dusty road we went, waving at the people who looked out of their windows to see what the clamour was. It was much hotter, and the sun had risen to look like an enormous, overripe melon. We still talked and walked, though with less dancing. Occasionally people would follow us for a while, or else call out “What are you doing? What is going on?”
And we would reply: “We are with someone who performs miracles and has great wisdom. They call him the Messiah, sent from God.”
It was evening when we arrived in Nain, tired, hot and dusty. Stars were sprinkled in a faded dark blue sky, twinkling above the city gate. It stood proud and knowledgeable, watching over the city.
I found a little inn, which was opposite the gate, and stayed there for the night.
Next morning, I was awoken by a clamour outside. Hurrying, I went to the window. A crowd swelled the streets outside the magnificent city gate. It was not the crowd from last night, although I saw some of the people I had walked with yesterday surveying the new crowd with pity. It was clear why - a man had died, his body resting on a cushion, wrapped in cloths, and carried in an open coffin by four men. A woman walked beside the coffin, silent with grief. Women and men, girls and boys stood close together in support, clasping their hands, and pulling handkerchiefs to their tear-stricken faces.
Suddenly, like a light in the dark, Jesus appeared. His disciples were with Him, but they walked behind Him, waiting at the side of the crowd as Jesus weaved his way through. Although the crowd was tightly packed, Jesus managed to get to the coffin, where the woman was standing. She had been staring at the floor, unable to move, but looked up as Jesus approached. Jesus said something to the woman, but it was too difficult to hear.
I left the inn, and ran to the crowd. Getting as close as I could, I watched Jesus turn to the dead man, lying peacefully on his bed of cushions.
Jesus said to the man “Young man, I say to you, arise.”
And I gasped at what happened next, for the man who was dead, sat up bed slowly, and started to talk. He was alive! There were gasps from the crowd, and people stared wide-eyed, shocked, at the miraculous thing they were seeing. The man was talking quietly, and it seemed only Jesus could hear him. Then Jesus presented the man to the woman, who must have been his mother. She began to cry, but her joy was clear. I was also joyous, though I did not know the man. Jesus had performed another wonder, something so great and powerful, and I was here to see it. In the crowd, people began to glorify God, and we were all, I think, scared too, by the power of it all. This was something we could never do, or see. This was truly a miracle.
2. Example answer Perspective 2
I was surrounded by a crowd of black. These were the people I grew up with, although the usual lively atmosphere had been replaced by a deep sorrow. Either side of me were my family, walking slowly with their heads bowed. In front of me, I could spot the coffin with Sebastian’s lifeless body in it, carried by four men, including my older brother. Tears came to my eyes once again. Sebastian was my best friend. We had spent almost every day together since we were tiny and I couldn’t imagine life without him. I didn’t want to believe that he was truly gone. I blinked quickly, trying to stop myself from crying for the hundredth time today. My gaze moved to his mother. The life was drained from her and she was sobbing into a handkerchief. I wanted so badly to go over to her and give her a big hug but she looked so fragile, like if you touched her she would break into a million pieces.
The distant sound of laughter interrupted my thoughts. I stood on my tiptoes to look over the crowd and stretched my neck to see another crowd travelling towards us. They were bubbling with laughter and life. What a contrast to us. They seemed to be lead by a man who was walking straight towards us.
The procession was moving so slowly that I barely noticed that we had stopped. Hushed voices whispered around me wondering what was happening. I weaved in between all the bodies and pushed my way to the front of the procession until I was standing right next to the open coffin. I couldn’t bring myself to look inside. Instead, I focused on the man who now stood touching the coffin. His eyes twinkled with kindness and empathy as he looked around at us. He then turned to the open coffin and said “Young man, I say to you, arise”.
Silence filled the air as we stared in disbelief. Suddenly, Sebastian sat up and started talking quietly to the man. I was so shocked that I just stared with my mouth wide open at this miracle. I couldn’t believe it. This man somehow had the power to bring the dead back to life! All around me people started to shout and dance with joy. The man helped Sebastian out of the coffin and walked him to his mother who had fallen on the ground in shock. Sebastian helped her up and then they hugged, tears rolling down their faces.
Everybody crowded around, rushing to hug and talk to Sebastian. I looked at the man who had done this and suddenly realised that this must be Jesus, the son of God, the messiah that everyone had been talking about. They said that he could perform miracles but I never imagined that I would see a miracle happen in real life! I heard a voice shout out “God has visited his people” and then another voice cried out “A great prophet has risen up among us”. Soon we were all joining in, shouting our praise with joy and fear!
Example Speaking/ Interpretation Assignment
Interpretation/ Speaking assignment
Choose one, two, or all verses from LUKE 5: 20-26. Interpret and speak for 3 minutes on the meaning of your selected verse/verses.
Assessment criteria: depth, clarity and communication skills
A good starting point is to find a verse that you find puzzling and try and find out what it could mean. To find answers to your questions, you can either meditate upon it yourself or get inspired by others. You can read any interpretation you like on the internet or in a Bible Reference Book or ask someone to help you, such as your father, your aunty, your pastor etc.
In your speech you can answer questions such as: Why do you like the verse? Why do you think it is interesting or puzzling? Why does Jesus say something? Why do people react the way they react?