“The king will be corrupt too!” Teaching thinking in bible studies

Ehud Tsemach*, Anat Zohar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bible studies are one of the foundations of Israeli education. Nevertheless, this content area has been neglected for many years and it is now bordering on crisis. Passive learning style and classroom discussions that lead to predetermined conclusions are prevalent in Bible classes in both elementary and high schools. In this article, we present the Teaching Thinking in Bible Studies Initiative that seeks to facilitate active Bible studies where students construct the meaning of the text autonomously. The initiative also encourages students to use core thinking strategies when reading the Bible. Our model proposes a Bible lesson directed at well-defined thinking goals that unfold throughout the lesson, and that includes explicit discussions of thinking processes and strategies. The first section of this article explores theories and research, identifying the characteristics and principles of teaching thinking, and reviews previous studies about Bible education. In the second, we present the initiative's pedagogical principles and the structure of a thinking-based Bible lesson. In the third section, we provide two examples of teaching thinking in Bible lessons focused on argumentation and asking questions. Finally, in the discussion, we examine how our initiative corresponds and adds to other initiatives and the teaching thinking literature.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)63-81
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Curriculum Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Bible
  • Israel
  • Jewish education
  • Teaching thinking
  • literacy
  • metacognition


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