If you’re looking for the top Bible stories for kids, that’s a smart way to design lessons! Bible stories are often most popular for kids because they are essential to the foundations of understanding Christianity. But kids need more than morals and doctrine. They need action, adventure, and heroic characters, and Bible stories are full of them!
So, what tops the list of the most popular Bible stories for kids? Our findings come from surfing, researching, and our own gut instincts as Sunday school teachers of many years. Here are five top stories from the Old Testament and five from the New Testament. They do not include the Christmas and Easter stories found in the Gospels, which would probably top any list of most popular Bible stories.
Best Bible Stories for Children from the Old Testament:
Noah’s Ark (Genesis 5-8, intermittent passages) Kids love the ark because they are fascinated by the idea of God covering the earth with water, and being on a boat with animals that dips and sways, yet manages to stay afloat! Teachers love the ark because it shows Noah having the courage to go against the crowd. Surely all the soon-to-be drowned popular people were laughing their sides off at Noah! Teachers also love how the story shows God’s love of both family and animals as he gives detailed instructions to Noah. God assures that Noah’s family and all the earth’s species would dwell in safety during the flood.
David & Goliath (1 Samuel 17): With bullying as such a huge issue in these times, the story of David and Goliath shows the ultimate bully attack and how a shepherd boy solved it. Kids love the idea that a normal kid like David can beat a nine-foot giant like Goliath. Teachers love how David’s faith in God was what beat Goliath, and they love sending home the message that “faith conquers all.”
Ezekiel saw the wheel (Ezekiel 1: 15-20): Ezekiel’s wheel does look very much like a UFO, and this feeds contemporary kids’ love of flying saucers and the possibility of life elsewhere. Teachers love the discussion Ezekiel’s wheel can generate about whether angels might be slightly mechanical—and if heaven might be somewhere in this very universe!
Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6:16-24): Daniel refused to succumb to a serious amount of peer pressure. It’s always good to show kids heroic young people who refused to go with the crowd—especially when the crowd is bowing down to other gods and disgusting our God! Teachers love to show the ultimate pressure situation: People weren’t just laughing at Daniel; they were conniving to have him ripped to shreds! His faith in God carried him through a night with lions, and your students’ faith can carry them through anything they have to face!
Jonah and the whale (Book of Jonah): Kids just love water stories, and Jonah is a favorite Bible story for kids second perhaps only to Noah and the Ark. Kids love giant fish (they’re sort of like dinosaurs), and the idea a man could exist for three days inside of one is mind-blowing! Teachers love to show how God saved Jonah from drowning, brought him to the shores of Ninevah, and worked as a sign that Jonah shouldn’t be a scaredy cat about preaching God’s word! If he can do it, so can we.
Top Bible Stories for Kids from the New Testament:
Jesus as a child (Luke 2:40-52): When Jesus was 12, his parents accidentally left him in a temple in Jersusalem, and it took them three days to find Him! Kids are often afraid of being lost from parents or abducted. This story will help reinforce that parents would look for lost children to the ends of the earth. Teachers love that it is the only story we know of Jesus as an adolescent. They love to teach that Jesus was already very busy studying God’s word and should serve as the best example ever!
Jesus meets the children (Mark 10:13-16): All kids in Sunday school dream at one point or another of meeting Jesus face to face. Here’s the chance for them to imagine some children who actually did it here on earth! Teachers love to show the kindness of Jesus—who had lame people to heal and dead folks to raise and a lot of preaching to do. But he put it all on pause to meet kids like yours.
Jesus brings Jairus’ daughter back from death (Mark 5:35-43): Kids can be deeply saddened by the death of a child, and Jairus’ daughter was only twelve. This story gives them a chance to understand that if Jesus raised a girl from the dead, he can certainly raise them too in His kingdom—and their parents and grandparents and we can spend eternity together!
Jesus walks on water (Matthew 14:22-43): Every kid would love to walk on water. And kids also love to ponder just how Jesus did this. Did he turn the water to something like jello? Did he build up a sand dune? Did he become lighter than air? While we don’t have any answers, teachers love some of the speculations their kids come up with while discussing miracles like this!
Jesus feeds the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21): Everyone likes to eat and nobody likes to go hungry. Teachers love this story to show the great lengths people who loved Jesus would go to stay by him. Kids love the story because food is an essential. It shows them that God will provide all the needs of people who are following him, so it’s okay to quit worrying!
So, the top five Bible stories for kids is really a top ten, counting the Old and New Testaments. Any of these wonderful Bible tales will help kids understand how much God cares about us and how far He is willing to go to protect those who love Him.
Do you have any favorites we should add to the list? Please feel free to add to our listing in the comment section below! We love hearing your thoughts and ideas.