If you’ve been in a church around Christmastime, you know that Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem for the census that Caesar Augustus ordered. Growing up as a child, I imagined a short journey across fields and deserts, probably taking a day or so to get there. But what if I was told that the journey was about 90 miles! And just how fast do you think an almost-ready-to-deliver Mary could travel?
In Matthew 5:41 Jesus teaches to his followers how they should treat others and tells them to “go the extra mile.” But what if I told you that First-Century Roman law stated that any Roman soldier could make someone serve him for one mile and the “Way of the Sea,” a famous highway running from Rome through Israel to Egypt, had mile markers all the way to Rome? How does the detail of the content add to your understanding of Matthew 5:41?
If we place passages in their context, details illuminate Scripture and bring depth to understanding God’s Word. So, as we develop stories, facts, artifacts, and teaching plans for each session in Explore the Bible: Kids, we place great value in placing Scripture in its historical context so that we can fully glean its truths and apply them in our context. We want Scripture to come alive as kids study the pages of their Bibles. We want them to see the kind of scabbard Ezra might have had or the size of the gates to an Assyrian palace and know that these things and places are real. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is truth. Especially as kids begin to form their thoughts about God and how to have a relationship with him, we want to make certain that they want to dig into God’s word—that they develop a desire to know more about it to that it can dwell richly within them in their journey with Christ. We want them to explore the Bible.