The problem with language is that it often fails to capture fully what is taking place. Paraphrasing a verse or passage challenges students to pay close attention to the meanings of words, especially if you use the following rule:
Rewrite this verse, but you cannot use any words currently in the passage, except for essentials such as: it, to, the, and, but, for, etc.
Have students practice paraphrasing familiar passages such as John 3:16 or 1 John 1:9. As students do this, they use higher order thinking skills and must try to understand the meaning of the passage by wrestling with the meaning of key words.