Overview of the 7WordWondersTM

By Vicki and Paul de Vries

Literacy3 program is useful for homes, churches and ministries

ü To engage the Bible via mastering the 7WordWondersTM of literacy.

ü To teach language arts and the love of literacy, fully employing the best book, the Bible.

ü To empower for living, through the wisdom of the Word and of word-power



…and it is OK to use just one WordWonder in a 15-25 minute period



For downloadable samples and additional articles: www.7wordwonders.com  







The 7WordWondersTM —One at a Time

Multiple Models for 7WordWondersTM Programs

Public Schools’ Common Core Issues





The Literacy3 program was created to develop and strengthen the three (3) interactive literacies: general literacy (“word-power”), life literacy (“wisdom”), and Biblical literacy (“Godly knowledge”).  The overall goals of Literacy3 are:

ü To teach general literacy and the love of excellence in all four “language arts”—reading, listening, writing, speaking—and in all seven facets of WordWonder, by fully employing the very best book, the Bible.

ü To empower people for living, through the Godly wisdom of the written Word.

ü To engage the Bible via skilled use of each one of the WordWonders of literacy. 


The Literacy3 program special alloy of 100% Social Gospel ministry, teaching language arts to all, 100% Life-coaching Discipleship ministry, giving everyone Divine wisdom for live, and 100% Saving Gospel ministry, teaching the Bible and God’s message.  It is also designed to enhance the joy and wonder of words and word-power—in reading, listening, writing and speaking.  

Integral to the Literacy3 program are the 7WordWondersTM, each representing a specific aspect of classic language involvement and mastery: (1) Reading-Wonder; (2) Comprehension-Wonder; (3) Vocabulary-Wonder; (4) Pattern-Wonder; (5) Development-Wonder; (6) Creative-Wonder; and (7) Reread-&-Do-Wonder.  The repeated concept of “wonder” reminds both teachers and students of the wonderful God-given power of human curiosity, awe and amazement that is so essential in any learning process.  The hunger to learn and grow is part of our wonderful condition as God’s children, the Lord’s images.  That persistently curious “inner child” remains a significant aspect of even the most mature adult life.  Perhaps this truth is part of what Jesus meant when he said we must be as children to see the Kingdom of God.

In a more elevated sense, Jesus made repeated, powerful use of “signs and wonders” to draw people to himself and to the eternal truths.  As the eternal Word, he empowers words and enables communication.  He is what holds all reality and meaning together.  The divine gift of language, given at human creation, is so awesome to communicate hope, build community, guide the leaderless, inform the ignorant, convict the guilty, motivate the slothful, restore the broken, and bring the healing Gospel to all.  The Word is powerful, and well-used words share in his wonderful power.

Devoid of vibrant curiosity and wonder, education would become burdensome and boring—we all know too well.  In contrast, what could be more full of deep, enduring wonder than to:

1.    Read a text from the Holy Bible, God’s written Word, in accessible language

2.    Comprehend that precious text

3.    Learn, use and engage some key words from that text

4.    Explore and discover a powerful pattern, perhaps partly “hidden” in that text

5.    Map the central development from the beginning to the end of that brief text

6.    Engage the Bible text teaching with more fun, creative, memorable, relevant activities

7.    Reread-&-Do, re-explore, re-discover, re-consider, and re-encounter the text— after having engaged the text in two or more of the other language wonders.

Each of these 7WordWondersTM contributes to the overall attraction, significance and benefit of the reading experience, just as the facets of a sparkling diamond add to the beauty and glitter of the gem.  At the same time, each WordWonder also highlights the truths of the Bible well, and engages readers at various reading levels in a lively interaction with the precious Word of God.  The 7WW approach uses the best of contemporary Biblical hermeneutics—the art and skill of accurate interpretation—now made accessible to children, youth and adults. 

Each 7WW lesson provides a veritable cafeteria of ideas and resources from which the teacher wisely selects.  Keeping students’ curiosity alive, the joy of exploration vibrant, and the fun of discovery energized—this is truly what each of the WordWonders is about.

ü Engaged in the very best text, the Bible, in the most readable translation for the reading ability of the students, starting with the NIRV translation.

ü Energized to try out the expanded Biblical wisdom into age-appropriate, maturing behavior, for the benefit of the learner and the potential blessings to others.

ü Eagerly expanding “word-power” in all the language arts of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

The WordWonders are described here in somewhat logical order, but creative teachers and mentors can guide learners to focus on WordWonders in almost any order.  Mixing up the pedagogical order can aid the learning process and keep the interest high.  Literacy is fun, and the Literacy3 teachers—the parents, neighbors, mentors, pastors, teachers—have the special joy of helping convey that enduring fun and wonder in their own attitudes and lesson planning.

For example, a teacher can introduce the ten key words of the Vocabulary-Wonder first and get the students started in using those words—even before the text is read in the Reading-Wonder. 

ü In a brief exercise, the students—individually or in groups—could see how many of the ten key words they could incorporate in their own creative story or speech. 

ü Using word-cards, students could even compete to see how many of the ten words they could use in a coherent sentence. 

ü When the Bible-text sheet is handed out, students could then see how quickly they could find and circle each of the ten key words.

These and other activities help strengthen vocabulary and heighten anticipation even of the initial reading experience.  Be creative and full of deep Word-filled joy.  And continue to feed the fun of Literacy3—in all of the three (3) precious, interactive literacies.



The 7WordWondersTM – One at a Time

1. READING-Wonder: This most basic of the WordWonders simply calls for students to read a text or a portion of the Bible or have it read to them.  Participants are assumed to have knowledge of the alphabet, vowels, consonants, and simple words, although the teacher should not assume that everyone in her/his group is on exactly the same level of knowledge and skill.  The Reading-Wonder step sets the stage for the other WordWonders and introduces the participants to the portion of the biblical text for that particular lesson.  Instructors cannot avoid this precious WordWonder!


2. COMPREHENSION-Wonder: Fundamental to literacy is the ability to understand what one has read. This WordWonder allows participants to answer straightforward questions of fact related to the biblical portion that was read.  The questions generally begin with such words as "where," "when," "what," "who," and “why”; occasionally, the questions go below the surface such as the question in Lesson 1 on Jesus' First Miracle: "Did this miracle make a difference to the followers of Jesus? What change happened to them?"

Teachers are encouraged to write additional questions or modify the ones provided with the lessons, gearing questions to the age and maturity levels of the participants.

Even if other WordWonders are explored first, the Comprehension-Wonder is usually a "non-negotiable" aspect of the total literacy experience afforded by the 7WordWonders TM.


3. VOCABULARY-Wonder:  Every Vocabulary-Wonder section in each Literacy3 lesson includes ten (10) key words selected from the Bible portion.  Developing a repertoire of words is an especially valuable aspect of literacy.  The processes of seeing, hearing, and learning words begin a lifelong journey of expanding one's intellectual and emotional horizons.  Learning new words and appreciating the differences and similarities between words and their meaning are among the many benefits of the Vocabulary-Wonder.  Coupled with learning Biblical truths, the Vocabulary-Wonder adds significantly to the foundation laid by the Comprehension-Wonder. 

By way of illustration, the ten key words in the Vocabulary-Wonder in Lesson 5, "Jesus Feeds Fived Thousand Plus" are: don't, eat, fish, grass, loaf and loaves, month, pay, prophet, test, and waste.  The teacher is free to engage students in a variety of activities that would help them learn the selected words.  For example, the teacher could prepare "flash cards" with the words and their meaning as well as ask students to keep a vocabulary list on index cards or in a notebook.  Students could also "act out" the words and put them into sentences and so forth.  A creative use of the old “Charades” game would add to the genuine fun of exploring the key words, with the ten key words of that lesson displayed in large letters on the board or on colorful cards posted on the board, and one at a time the students “act out” some aspect of one of the words—or even a combination of two of the key words.  Teachers are encouraged to be as creative as possible when it comes to helping their students learn and enjoy vocabulary.


4. PATTERN-Wonder: The world is full of patterns, repeating motifs that can be seen in nature, but in the world of the written word, patterns tend to be in the form of actions, words, and thoughts.  Conveying this essential Pattern-Wonder is simplified if the teacher recognizes that each Bible text contains concepts that reflect some type of ongoing pattern—and that all the linguistic patterns used in a text help convey the meaning of the text.  Even when a pattern is not recognized, it has its emotional, conceptual and spiritual effects.  The Pattern-Wonder is the subtle—and sometimes not so subtle—tool of the divine and human authors of the Bible to assist in excellent communication and life-transforming comprehension.  The endurance of the Bible as the greatest and best book is due in part to the profound guidance of the Holy Spirit in the hands of human writers to not only reveal truth, but to do so in wonderful word patterns that assist in conveying that truth.  When it comes to the Pattern-Wonder, the pattern medium is part of the message.  It contributes to the message.  The teacher might see other patterns in addition to the pattern explored in any particular lesson, and is welcome to explore those too.  After all, Literacy3 is fun for teachers and students—and all can become pattern detectives!

By way of illustration, the Pattern-Wonder on John 20, 7WW Lesson 19, "Jesus and Thomas," focuses on "Things That Help Belief."  Four patterns of God's responses to doubters like Thomas are presented, along with ten questions to help students grapple with those four patterns.  For example, the problem of doubt is introduced in question 1 by saying, "Doubt changes relationships."  Reference is made to the ten apostles who had seen Jesus alive after his death, but Thomas doubts their report.  As a result, “he feels alone," just as one would suspect.  The question is then asked, "How many times does Thomas say “I” in verse 25?" Additional questions help the students put themselves in Thomas's shoes.  Beautifully built into this story in John 20 are four patterns of God’s responses to doubters like Thomas, patterns repeated elsewhere:

ü God respects honest doubts and comes to the doubter (v. 24-26)

ü God provides the evidence of miracle and invites inspection (vs. 27-28)

ü God even performs a new miracle (vs. 26, Jesus going through the locked, closed door)

ü For all of us readers (and hearers) he preserves the story (vs. 29-31). 

This last point even helps explain why we can now read the story many years later. 

The pattern of doubt and belief is one that Christians need to recognize and discuss.  Depending on the maturity level of the students, the astute teacher will be able to guide the students to realize that honest doubt in itself is not something to avoid.  Jesus is big enough to hear our doubts and also loves us and works with us to overcome our doubts.  Moreover, he is able to meet us where we are and reveal himself to us in ways that can settle our doubts.  The wonderful patterns or “structures” of that Bible text continue to help convey these truths now thousands of years later.

Here is a summary of key Pattern-Wonders in the first ten lessons, demonstrating how the Bible authors helped deliver truth through powerful patterns that helped embody that truth. 




A relationship to the Bible truth in the text

1 – John 2, Jesus’ First Miracle

The repeated use of commands, sentences that make things happen, and other sentences that work like commands

This text includes four commands and other implied commands, all of which help convey Jesus’ authority.  Even when Mary says to the servants, “Do what he tells you,” it is about Jesus’ divine authority—the ultimate “Command Central.”

2 – Luke 5, Filling the Nets

The repeated use of especially vivid, descriptive language

The vivid words and phrases feed our wholesome imagination and draw us into the experience—almost as if we were there ourselves.  Such vivid language invites us, therefore, to consider making a decision as Peter, James and John did in those engaging circumstances.

3 – Mark 4, Calming the Storm

The power of questions to express attitudes and feelings, and to shape and empower the story

The two most awesome moments in this brief story are captured in the disciples’ two questions—reported in verses 38 and 41.  Their dramatic questions powerfully capture their attitudes and feelings better than regular descriptive statements could have.  Jesus’ own two questions in this story are revealing, too.

4 – Luke 8, Healing Jairus’ Daughter and a Sick Woman

The use of a subplot in a story—and in our lives—is the pattern lesson

The events of our lives are all interrelated, more than we usually recognize.  Two miracle encounters are interwoven in Jesus’ ministry, and Dr. Luke’s use of the subplot here in the retelling of these miracles reminds us of the seamless fabric of Jesus’ leadership in our lives.




5 – John 6, Jesus Feeds 5,000 Plus

The quoting from conversations between Jesus and the disciples—and between Jesus and the Father

The powerful use of quoted conversations reminds us of the communal—conversational—aspect of both our relationship with Jesus and God, and also how significant conversation adds to the eating experience.

6 – Luke 7, Healing the Commander’s Servant

An unexpected, dramatic turn of events that magnifies a point

Surprises help awaken our minds to learn an important lesson.  Here the unexpected request for Jesus to heal at a distance demonstrates the deep faith of the Commander.  It also heightens the occasion for Jesus to demonstrate his awesome authority to heal—even at a distance—on which authority we can still call.

7 – Mark 2, Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man

In the two challenges reported in this story, there is a repetition of one strategic pattern: “Position—Opposition—Reposition.”  In other words: “Move—Remove-Block—Move Again”

What helps make this awesome miracle so memorable are the ingenuities and determination both of (1) the sick man and his four friends and of (2) Jesus himself.  The best stories of our lives are not just about what happens to us, but what we help make happen with full devotion of our minds and hearts—especially when other people are benefited, too.

8 – Luke 7, Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son

Unique stories of miracles:  Each miracle story in the Gospel is in the context of other miracle stories—no two of which are the same.

Part of every story—both in the Bible and in our lives—is its context with other stories.  When every case is unique, we are reminded that God does not use cookie-cutters or copy machines.  Today’s testimony is different from yesterday’s.  My experience with God is different from yours.  When we tell one another our experiences and testimonies, we and the others are strengthened and encouraged—knowing that the Lord in his sovereign wisdom meets every individual need.

9 – Mark 7, Healing a Deaf and Mute Man

The story starts out with people having a plan for Jesus’ ministry—similar to what he had done elsewhere.  The text then describes Jesus’ several healing steps here in great detail, with Jesus dramatically avoiding their explicit plan, and with awesome results.  

This story goes into great detail to show Jesus ministering in a way that demonstrates Jesus’ complete independence from the people’s—and our—prescribed expectations.  Written this way, the story opens our mental, emotional, and spiritual pores to let Jesus minister as he chooses.




10 – Luke 17, Jesus Heals Ten

Step-by-step-by-step in this gripping story, our attention is drawn from a very big city to the life, healing, and gratitude of one solitary person.  It moves from a huge picture to a delightful, narrow focus.

Perhaps this dramatic shifting of the focus is not the main point of this story.  However, this increasing magnification of attention in the story magnifies also the point: every person matters to Jesus, including each person’s need, salvation, healing—and enthusiastically-expressed, deeply-sincere gratitude.


These and other patterns matter in word-mastery. 

ü They are part of the text.

ü They engage the mind, soul and spirit—both consciously and unconsciously.

ü They contribute to the message, to the powerful truth of each Bible text. 

And the work of discovering and exploring the Pattern-Wonders is fun—for you as a teacher, and for your students!

ü It feeds human curiosity.

ü It helps make Bible-engagement real exploration.

ü It opens everyone’s pores to learn, grow, learn, and grow some more.


5. DEVELOPMENT-Wonder:  Who could disagree with the statement "Life is full of change"? Indeed, few things stay the same.  These "facts of life" come through loud and clear when it comes to powerful stories.  Helping students see how the people in a story change or how an idea changes and grows in some way is another important aspect of literacy. 

When it comes to Bible stories, characters are always changing, doing, growing—and ideas are in the process of being revealed.  The stories in the Bible lead to goals or situations.  In every text, something happens between the first and last verses.  Something or someone develops.

By way of illustration, the Development-Wonder in Lesson 13 "Jesus Riding into Jerusalem" focuses on the changing mood related to Jesus' final return to Jerusalem, where within days he will be tortured and die for our sins.  The questions for this Development-Wonder look at the verses in reverse order to help show the emotional intensity Jesus is experiencing, recorded in the text.  At the end of the Bible portion, Jesus' mood is one of sadness and impending gloom in contrast to the "festive, joyful beginning" at the start of the Bible text when Jesus enters the Holy City on a donkey and crowds cheer him along.

Students come to realize that Jesus experienced changes in mood, but also that what he experienced was part of his plan to ultimately die for us.  Jesus reveals his humanity and at the same time his divinity in a powerful way.  In any text, something changes from the first to the last verse—and being conscious of that development enhances word-mastery and literacy-fun!


6. CREATIVE-Wonder: While each of the WordWonders can be creatively applied, the Creative-Wonder is the most explicitly adaptable to hands-on, interpretive activities that foster tactile skill-building and imaginative engagement with the Bible portion.  Such activities as "role-playing, creating a song, drawing, painting, sculpture, writing from a perspective,” and such like, are limited only by the teacher's interest, resources and imagination.

Indispensable resources to spark profound creativity to higher levels can be found and explored at www.ResourceWell.org, which includes many appropriate, creative activities related to each of the same lessons in the Literacy3 program.  The lesson numbers are the same, unless otherwise noted on the second line of the 7WW lesson.  Prayers, games, songs, role-playing, art, drama and other creative expressions supplement the Literacy3 materials and purposes.

Please follow these steps to access these tremendous resources—as a gift to you and your ministry from the wonderful Northland Church in Orlando, Florida, Dr. Joel Hunter, pastor.

1.    Go to www.ResourceWell.org

2.    Scroll down to the very bottom and click on “CHILDREN,” the 2nd from the left

3.    In the middle of the page, click on “The Worship, the Word, the Way”

4.    In the middle of the page, click on the “unit” that you want

5.    In the middle of the page, click on the general age-group you want, such as “4-5” or “8-9”

6.    Click on the specific lesson.  See lesson number at the top of the first page, on 2nd line of the 7WW lesson

7.    Scroll to the bottom and click on the PDF documents you want to use—or at least want to explore.  Resources here are useful for the Creative-Wonder and other WordWonders, too

When students complete their creative responses to the text, encourage them to talk about, explain, or discuss their creative work with other students, thereby deepening their personal understanding of and appreciation for the Bible lessons—as well as further developing their artistic and imaginative literary sensibilities.  Literacy3 fun can multiply!


7. REREAD-&-DO-Wonder:  Although the last of the 7WordWondersTM, like its counterpart, Reading-Wonder, the Reread-&-Do-Wonder is an indispensable part of enhancing literacy.  Rereading and applying a text gives readers the opportunity to see material in a new way, and to experience more the power of language, especially after one or more of the other WordWonders is thoroughly explored.  And the Bible is the book that is always worth rereading, anyway.

After leading students through at least three other WordWonders, the teacher could ask them to re-read the Bible portion out loud, either one verse per student or as a group or in small groups.  The very act of rereading material that has been studied from the vantage point of the previous WordWonders will empower students with these benefits:

1.    To engage again the sounds and significances of wonderful words in a great text

2.    To notice and comment upon things that did not stand out to them when experiencing the Reading-Wonder in the first place

3.    To reinforce the relevance of the other WordWonders that were well explored

4.    To see-hear-read-speak the whole text, and also to experience its full Biblical light to now shine with its revealing God’s trust-worthy wisdom on each of the students’ “paths” (Psalm 119:105)

5.    To open an informed discussion of the full relevance of the text—and consider or more fully explore “What are we going to do about it?” in our lives and relationships, individually and in groups, going forward

6.    To recognize afresh a purpose of this text in the Bible: “What difference does it make?” is always a good question, and since the text is from God’s Word, good readers can find answers

7.    To experience anew the sheer joy of reading, of verbal discovery, and of word-mastery

The teacher could ask the students a number of questions referring to what they learned at the end of the lesson that they did not notice or think about at the very beginning.  Alternatively, students could be asked to summarize the entire story and share what they learned—and what difference it might make to them.  This strengthens their own word-mastery in every way.

Note that the Reread-&-Do-Wonder can be further enhanced through the “Way” section in the www.ResourceWell.org  lessons, which can be used according to teacher discretion.


Multiple Models for 7WW Programs


ü After-School Programs = Plan 15-25 minutes on one of the 7WordWonders TM each day, staying with the same Bible text for the week.  Intersperse that planned learning fun with students doing their homework, and also generously mixing in the wonderful, related ResourceWell.org games, role-playing, puzzles, arts and crafts, songs, prayers and such like.


ü Revitalized Sunday Schools = Choose from the 7WordWonders TM for all ages.  For the children, intersperse some of the related ResourceWell.org materials.  Making language arts and Bible-knowledge the dual purposes for Sunday School would renew one of the original purposes of the Sunday School movement about 230 years ago, as an empowering educational tool to uplift the victims of child labor.


ü Home Schools = Provide user-friendly, creative materials for training youth and children in critical thinking, language arts, divine values for life, and knowledge of the Best Book.  Teaching the 7WordWonders TM (1) brings serious fun to Bible engagement, knowledge and comprehension, while also (2) empowering the youth and children in the language arts—reading, writing, listening and speaking—and (3) endowing them with precious Godly wisdom for their lives going forward.


ü Saturday Morning Literacy Programs = For adults, youth, and children, take 15-20 minutes on each of at least four or five of the 7WordWondersTM With children, intersperse also some of the related wonderful ResourceWell.org materials.


ü Christian Academies = Concentrate 15-20 minutes each on one or two of the 7WordWonders TM, each day, interspersed with related wonderful ResourceWell.org materials.


ü Neighborhood Bible Studies = Select from the 7WordWonders TM with adults, youth, or children.   In any session, you could select from three of the Wonders, devoting 15-20 minutes to each of those Wonders.


ü Summer Vacation Bible Schools = Utilize about 15-20 minutes on each of five of the 7WordWondersTM, interspersed with tons of the related Bible-lesson ResourceWell.org materials, including games, songs, art, role-playing and such like.


Please keep in mind that what people read unrelated to school or work improves their reading skill and fun the most. Such reading feeds the deepest dimensions of mind, spirit, soul, and heart.  In addition, the 7WW help awaken readers’ awareness of the vibrancy of words, in all seven different dimensions of language.  What the 7WW students learn from the powerful Biblical texts is then transferrable to other reading, writing, listening and speaking opportunities.


Public School COMMON CORE Issues

Many schools, including public schools all over New York State, New Jersey, and in most of the states in the United States of America, are shifting curricula to the multi-tiered “Common Core Standards,” fully endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education.  The basic concepts of the common core are the foundation of what has been called “liberal arts” in good colleges.  The “liberal” in “liberal arts” is about the liberating benefit of good education and crucial “critical thinking”—and not about political or religious liberalism.

While there are standards for every discipline of the school curriculum, the standards for “English Language Arts” are of special concern for everyone.  After all, word-mastery enables success in every school discipline.  You will recognize that the 7WordWondersTM approach prepares children well in each of the four crucial areas of word-mastery in the Common Core:

Common Core Standards for

English Language Arts

In all the grades, all over the United States

Related WordWonders

In the order of the general relevance of the WordWonder to each standard

Standard 1: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding:

As listeners and readers, students will collect data, facts, and ideas, discover relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and use knowledge generated from oral, written, and electronically produced texts. As speakers and writers, they will use oral and written language to acquire, interpret, apply, and transmit information.








Standard 2: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression:

Students will read and listen to oral, written and electronically produced texts and performances, relate texts and performances to their own lives, and develop an understanding of the diverse social, historical, and cultural dimensions the texts and performances represent. As speakers and writers, students will use oral and written language for self-expression and artistic creation.








Standard 3: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for critical analysis and evaluation:

As listeners and readers, students will analyze experiences, ideas, information, and issues presented by others using a variety of established criteria. As speakers and writers, they will present, in oral and written language and from a variety of perspectives, their opinions and judgments on experiences, ideas, information and issues.








Standard 4: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for social interaction:

Students will use oral and written language for effective social communication with a wide variety of people. As readers and listeners, they will use the social communications of others to enrich their understanding of people and their views.








Common Core Standards from English Language Arts Core Curriculum, NY State Education Department, 2005


While school standards will change, the use of the 7WordWondersTM in our learning from the Bible—and in all reading, speaking, listening and writing—will always be helpful and relevant for bringing people to a saving knowledge of God, to wise guidance for life, and to excellent word-mastery for a more fulfilling and fruitful personal, family, occupational, community and church life—every day of the week.



All of the 7WordWondersTM work in concert with each other, building a full repertoire of literacy skills that cannot easily be enhanced alone.  Add a heavy dose of teacher enthusiasm, prayer, preparation, and creative imagination, and students will come away with greater Bible knowledge and the precious language-arts-mastery that can guide, encourage and strengthen them throughout life.  And they will be imbibing deeply in the very fun that our Creator intended all of us to experience as we learn his Word and understand his world.

Happy reading, writing, listening and speaking—and praise God for the 7WordWondersTM!  They all add to Literacy3 fun.



The study of the reading, understanding and application of Bible texts is called hermeneutics.  Hermeneutics is (1) an art, (2) a science, and (3) a spiritual discipline.  The most engaging and profound contemporary book on Biblical hermeneutics is The Hermeneutical Spiral by Grant Osborne (IVP Academic Press, 2006).  Below are brief summaries of each of the 7WordWondersTM and the related chapters in Osborne’s book.

1.    Reading-Wonder = being able to read with understanding.  Coaching the reader is fine, and we do it positively, with praise and encouragement. The ability to read is one of the most awesome gifts to give to a child, a youth or an adult.  Reading empowers.  [see Osborne: Introduction]


2.    Comprehension-Wonder = being able to comprehend and put thoughts in one’s own words.  That is an important reading wonder for anyone.  Even seasoned readers will read a text and then mostly forget what they read.  The skills of comprehension and recollection need to be both developed and reinforced in each of our lives.  [see Osborne: Chapter 1]      


3.    Vocabulary-Wonder = being familiar with the Word and with words.  That is priceless!  There is a reason why reading tests focus especially on vocabulary.  IDEA: try starting with this WordWonder—get the students to talk about each Key Word, and then ask each student to tell a story or create a sentence using as many of the 10 Key Words as possible.  Also, each student can find and circle all the Key Words in the hand-out sheet with the text—either before or after they read it aloud.  Let it be fun!  [see Osborne: Chapter 3]


4.    Pattern-Wonder = being attentive to the patterns in a text—overt or subtle.  That helps the reader both (a) to master the depths of meaning in the text and (b) to master more and more of the infinite nuances of language that enhance his or her communications.  The key patterns in a Biblical text may be the skilled use of grammatical-structures—such as questions, commands, or vivid adjectives—or subtly repeated thought-structures, ironies, unstated implications, repeated metaphors, and so forth.  A focus on pattern-wonders raises word-skills for the student—while giving one more awesome tool for deep engagement with a great text.  [see Osborne: Chapters 2 and 4]


5.    Development-Wonder = being aware of movement from the first to the last sentence in a text.  That is an essential word-skill.  Mastery of the development wonder makes a person—adult, youth or child—a better talker, listener and thinker, as well as a more engaged and skilled reader.  The text is going somewhere, and it matters that the skilled readers notice.  [see Osborne: Chapters 5-14]


6.    Creative-Wonder = being creatively engaged.  That acknowledges that language is part of life—never detached.  All kinds of creative response—such as short story writing, sculpture, spontaneous role-playing, painting, scripted drama, creative retelling in a contemporary setting, related games, relevant prayers, and such like—are part of the deeper truth that the Word always desires incarnation into matter and energy.  [see Osborne: Chapters 15-16]


7.    Reread-and-Do-Wonder = being engaged in rereading a great text—especially the best text, the Bible.  What a truly precious WordWonder!  When rereading, please note both (a) what now seems new in the text, and also (b) how the light from the Word in this text should help guide people’s lives and decisions now.  Especially right after one of the other 7WordWondersTM has been fully explored, rereading is a new experience.  And then if a day or more go by, rereading the same text is remarkably revealing.  The Bible is special.  “It is the book you always want to reread,” as a teacher explained to her 2nd grade students.  They understood.  [see Osborne: Chapters 17-18 and Appendices]






Take time!! 


It is OK to explore only one of the 7WordWondersTM in a 15-to-25-minute period.



…and Have Fun!!


Keep curiosity alive as you engage the 7WordWondersTM of the Bible. 








Copyright © 2015 by Paul de Vries

DrPaul@7WordWonders.com  – Phone: 347-6-READER

Church Station, Box 3277, NYC, NY 10008 – Phone: 646-395-0008

Edited May 1, 2015