Monday, June 29, 2015

Lesson - Paul And Silas In Prison

VERSES:   Acts 16:16-40

MEMORY VERSE:   Acts 16:30   "And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  1 Timothy. Write "1 Timothy" on small slips of paper, so the students may memorize another New Testament book at home.

PRAYER:   Thank God for the blessings of freedom that we enjoy each and every day.

SPECIAL SONG:   How Do Christians Worship God? (see May 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #5 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:  TV Box (For directions and ideas, see February 2014 - Visual Aids #1 - TV Box on this blog. It takes time to prepare the pictures and box, but the students remember the lesson for a long time and the Bible teacher is "led" by the pictures, so nothing is forgotten in the story.)

  • While Paul and Silas and others in their group were in Philippi, they were preaching and teaching about Jesus Christ to people who had never heard about Jesus. The Lord had chosen Paul to preach to the Gentiles or people who were not Jews and there were lots of Gentiles to preach to in the city and Roman colony of Philippi.
  • As Paul, Silas, Luke, and the others were going to the place of prayer, a young slave girl who had a spirit of divination met the men and cried out, "These men are the servants of the Most High God who will show us the way of salvation!" What the young girl said was true, but she followed Paul and his company many days, shouting out these words over and over again. Finally, Paul, being annoyed, turned to the spirit and commanded in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. 
  • That is when the trouble began! The young girl made much money for her masters by telling people's fortunes, but when the young girl's masters saw that they could not make any more money from the young girl, they caught Paul and Silas and took them to the rulers in the marketplace.
  • The masters of the girl complained to the important rulers about Paul and Silas, telling them that Paul and Silas were Jews and were causing trouble in the city. They said that Paul and Silas were teaching customs which were against the law for Romans to observe and practice. A huge crowd gathered and joined in the attack on Paul and Silas. The important rulers beat Paul and Silas and then threw them in prison, telling the jailer to keep the prisoners safe. When the jailer heard that, he put Paul and Silas in the safest place he could think of where they could not escape--in the middle of the prison. He made sure they couldn't get away by locking their feet in stocks.
  • Do you know what Paul and Silas did at midnight? They prayed and sang praises to God! They were not afraid! Do you know who heard them? The prisoners! They were listening to the words they were singing and to the prayers they were praying. 
  • Suddenly, there was a great earthquake!! The foundation of the prison was shaken and all the prison cell doors were opened, and every prisoner's chains and stocks were opened. When the jailer woke from his sleep and saw the doors of the prison cells were opened, he drew out his sword and was going to kill himself because he thought all the prisoners had escaped. 
  • But Paul cried out in a loud voice to the jailer, "Don't hurt yourself! We are all here!" The jailer called for a light and ran into where Paul and Silas were. He was trembling and fell before them. He brought them out of the cell and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" The jailer must have been listening to Paul and Silas while they were praying and singing just like the prisoners had been doing! Paul and Silas told him to believe on Jesus and he would be saved and all those in his family as well. Paul and Silas spoke more about the word of the Lord to him and all that were in his house. That very hour, the jailer took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. He then was baptized and everyone else in his house. The jailer took Paul and Silas to his house and gave them food and rejoiced because he and all of his household believed in God.
  • When it was day, the important rulers sent in soldiers to tell the jailer to let the men go. The jailer told Paul and Silas that they had been set free and to go in peace. But Paul said that they had been beaten in front of everyone in the market place and they had not done anything wrong. They were Roman citizens and had been thrown into prison! Putting a Roman citizen in prison was against the law. Paul said that they were not leaving the prison until the important rulers came and released them themselves instead of letting them go privately. When the rulers heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were afraid and released them from the prison themselves.
  • Do you know where Paul and Silas went after they were released from prison? To Lydia's house! She was the kind, hospitable lady that Paul had baptized when they had gone to the river on the sabbath day. When Paul and Silas had seen the brethren, they comforted them and departed for another city.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • The jailer knew if the prisoners escaped, he would be responsible and would lose his own life. He also knew this was something highly unusual if all of the prison doors were open, all the stocks were open, and not one prisoner had escaped.
  • A spirit of divination or soothsaying was like fortune telling is today. People make predictions about future events. Maybe they come true and maybe they don't. Both are witchcraft and Christians are not to be involved in any type of witchcraft. Witchcraft is a work of the flesh. Read Galatians 5:19-21.
  • We can learn from this example of conversion that belief (Acts 16:31) was not the only thing that the jailer was commanded to do because he was baptized as well (Acts 16:33).

ACTIVITY:  Paul And Silas In Prison Booklet
Materials:  4 1/2" x 12" light brown construction paper, crayons, scissors.
  1. Hand out brown paper.
  2. Fold in half, lengthwise.
  3. Fold In half again.
  4. Unfold.
  5. Draw two squares in the middle panels. These are the windows.
  6. Cut windows out.
  7. Fold paper in the middle again, and fold outer flaps up to meet the middle fold line. This is not difficult; it should look like a book.
  8. With booklet folded, so only the cover is shown, write "Paul And Silas In Prison" on the cover.
  9. Unfold once, so that two panels and one window can be seen.
  10. Draw the scene with Paul and Silas singing at midnight with their feet in stocks.
  11. Write "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God." at the top.
  12. With windows together, "turn" page, do that the last two panels and the other window can be seen.
  13. Draw the other prisoners listening to the prayers and songs.
  14. Write "and the prisoners heard them." at the top.
  15. "Turn" page, so that the back two empty panels and one window can be seen.
  16. Draw the jailer falling before Paul and Silas, saying, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
  17. On the last empty panel with a window, write "Acts 16:25-40."
  18. Color everything.
  19. Fold booklet in half, and in half again, showing only the words, "Paul and Silas in prison."
  20. Read the story.
  21. Ask questions about "what happened next?" in the story. For example, "How did Paul and Silas get out of their stocks?" "Did all the prisoners escape?" "What did Paul cry out to the jailer?" "Did the jailer believe in the things that Paul and Silas had been praying and singing about?" "Was the jailer baptized after Paul talked to him and his family?"

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lesson - The Macedonian Call

VERSES:   Acts 16:9-15

MEMORY VERSE:   Acts 16:9   "...Come over into Macedonia and help us."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   2 Thessalonians.  Write "2 Thessalonians" on small slips of paper and hand out to the students at the end of class, so they may memorize another New Testament book.

PRAYER:   Pray for opportunities to do good to other people and then do good.

SPECIAL SONG:   Be Patient And Kind (see April 2014 - Lesson - Joseph Meets His Brothers Who Hated Him on this blog. Click on orange circle for tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Bible map, white board to write on which to make small marks (see "Older Student" Tips), and Large Activity (see below)

  • On a night when Paul, Silas, and Timothy were traveling to Troas on their journey to teach and preach to people about Jesus, Paul had a vision. A vision is different than a dream because the person must be asleep to have a dream, but not necessarily so with a vision. There was always a message from God with either a vision or a dream, and that is how it was when Paul had his vision. From a far away place called Macedonia, a man begged him to come over into Macedonia and help them. After Paul had seen the vision, they immediately made preparations to go to Macedonia. They were convinced that the Lord had called them to preach the gospel there.
  • Luke, also, who was a believer in Jesus, a doctor, and the writer of the book of Acts, traveled with them from the city of Troas..(Show this part of their journey on the map.) From Troas, their journey took them to the city of Samothracia which was on an island, then to Neapolis. From Neapolis, they traveled on to Philippi, an important city in Macedonia. There, in Philippi, they stayed for a few days. On the sabbath day, Paul and the men went out of the city to the riverside where there were women praying and worshiping God. Paul, Luke, and others sat down by the river and began speaking to the women.
  • There was a certain woman named Lydia, who was also praying there by the river that day. Lydia was from the city of Thyatira (show on map), sold purple fabric, and was a worshiper of God. As she listened to Paul and the ones preaching and teaching, the Lord opened her heart, so she would pay close attention to those things that Paul was teaching.  We know that Lydia paid very close attention to their teaching because she was baptized, and not only was Lydia baptized, but all of those in her household were baptized that very day. 
  • After Lydia was baptized, she spoke to Paul and the men. She said, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay with us." She was very hospitable and inviting, so they went to her house and stayed.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • While we mentioned that the difference between a dream and a vision was that, with a dream, the person had to be asleep, but with a vision the person was usually awake. God talked to people in visions and dreams before the Bible was written, but now we have the Bible and there is no need for special dreams or visions. The Bible is all we need today (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). If God only spoke to a few people today through dreams and visions and not the rest of us, then God would be a respecter of persons, which the Bible says He is not (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11).
  • Read Acts 16:10-13 out loud. Make a small mark on the white board every time the word "us" or "we" are read. What does this mean? It means that Luke was with Paul on his second missionary journey. Luke is writing the book of Acts and, while he had not written in the first person before, including himself in the events, he is doing it in these few verses. Luke is traveling with Paul as he continues to write the book of Acts.
  • There must not have been a synagogue in Philippi because the believers were worshiping by the river.
  • Christians should be hospitable people, sharing their food and their home with other Christians. Read Romans 12:13. A qualification or requirement to be an elder is to be hospitable. Read 1 Timothy 3:2.
ACTIVITY:  Lydia Is Baptized
Materials needed:  9" x 12" light blue construction paper, 4 1/2" x 9" brown construction paper, 2" x 9" green construction paper, 6" x 9" blue cellophane, scraps of different colored paper, seven or eight 1" tan circles (I used seven), glue, marker, crayons, scissors, stapler, staples.

  1. Hand out light blue paper. This is the background.
  2. Hand out brown paper.
  3. Tear one long edge of brown paper. This is the land.
  4. Glue land 3" from the bottom of the light blue paper.
  5. Hand out blue cellophane paper.
  6. Fold cellophane in and out like an accordion. This is the river.
  7. Staple cellophane along three edges of blue construction paper. This should form a "pocket" for Paul and Lydia to stand in the river.
  8. Hand out green paper.
  9. Cut or snip 1" all along one edge of green paper with scissors. This is the grass.
  10. Glue small uncut edge of green grass behind the top edge of the blue cellophane. This should form a small "pocket" for the people to stand in. (Do not glue the green cut edges because the people should be able to "stand" in the grass.)
  11. Hand out tan circles and scraps of colored paper.
  12. Cut seven or eight rectangles. These are the people's clothing.
  13. Glue one tan circle on top of one rectangle to form a person. Lydia could be the purple clothed person since she sold purple fabric.
  14. Finish all people.
  15. Color the people's faces and draw arms.
  16. Write the people's names on the bottom of the clothing. For example, "Paul, Silas, Luke, Timothy, Lydia, Woman, Woman."
  17. People should NOT be glued to the background, so they can be moved around the picture.
  18. Write "Lydia Is Baptized" and "Acts 16:9-18" at the top of the blue background/
  19. Write things that are known about Lydia in crayon in empty blue space, such as "In Philippi" "seller of purple" "household was baptized, too" and "by the river." More facts may be added
  20. Students may tell the story of how the women were praying beside the the river, then the group of men join them. As Paul teaches, Lydia wants to baptized. Paul baptizes her in the river.
  21. Make sure everyone has their people before they leave class!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lesson - Young Timothy

VERSES:   Acts 16:1-8

MEMORY VERSE:   Acts 16:5  "And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   1 Thessalonians. Write "1 Thessalonians" on small slips of paper and hand out to the students at the end of class, so they may memorize one more New Testament book.

PRAYER:   Thank the Lord for all that He gives us, both our physical blessings and our spiritual blessings. Thank Him for the ones who love us and are teaching us the Bible.

SPECIAL SONG:   Acts 8:4 (see June 2015 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #7 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Bible map; Activity (see below)

  • As Paul and Silas were strengthening the congregations on their second missionary journey, Barnabas and John Mark had sailed to Cyprus to check on the congregations there. When Paul came to Derbe and another nearby city named Lystra, there was a young disciple there and his name was Timothy.
  • We know that Timothy's mother had been a Jewess or a lady Jew, as was his grandmother, but his father was a Greek. It was his mother, Lois, and his grandmother, Eunice, who taught Timothy the scriptures and a love of God (2 Timothy 1:5). Even though Timothy's father was not a Christian, still Timothy was taught God's Word. Timothy was well reported of and highly spoken about in the congregations of Lystra and Iconium.
  • Timothy became dear to Paul just like a son (2 Timothy 1:2). Paul taught Timothy much about the Lord and Timothy was included on Paul's second missionary journey. As the  men went from town to town, they gave the congregations decrees or orders that were written by the inspired apostles and elders in Jerusalem. So, as the congregations of the Lord's church were established and grounded in the faith, the number of Christians increased every day. The people were taught, they believed, and they obeyed. The church grew.
  • The Holy Spirit was still with Paul and the disciples on Paul's second missionary journey, teaching them what the Lord wanted them to do. When they had traveled through the whole regions of Phrygia and Galatia (see map), they were told by the Holy Spirit not to go into Asia or to Bithynia, even though they wanted to go. They traveled many hard miles from Mysia and on to Troas.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • The Lord was directing this second missionary journey just like He was in charge on the first missionary journey. Paul and the men were guided by the Holy Spirit. We remember that the Holy Spirit comforted the disciples (John 14:16, 17) and taught them many things (John 14:26).
  • Later, the apostle Paul wrote two letters to Timothy and we have what Paul said to him in our Bibles today. They are the books of 1 and 2 Timothy. Paul wrote instructions to Timothy on how to live a godly life. We read, listen to, and obey Paul's words as well, knowing they come from God (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
ACTIVITY:   Timothy
Materials needed:  9" x 12" yellow construction paper, crayons.
  1. Hand out yellow paper.
  2. Fold paper, so that outside edges meet in the middle.
  3. With paper still folded, write "Who did Paul treat as a son?" in the middle of both papers.
  4. Unfold paper.
  5. In middle section, draw a picture of Timothy.
  6. Color.
  7. On the left section, write "His mother, Lois, and his grandmother, Eunice, taught him about God." and "His father was a Greek." and "Spoken highly of in Lystra and Iconium."
  8. On the right section, write "Dear to Paul." and "Was included in Paul's second missionary journey." and "Later, he received two letters written by Paul. They are in our Bibles."
  9. Fold back up again and the students take the papers home.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Songs We Sing In Bible Class #7

Time goes by so quickly! It is hard to believe that it has almost been a year since there has been an addition to Songs We Sing In Bible Class. Hopefully, you will find these of benefit to you and your students.

Thank you for the rain! Thank you for the rain! 
The rain comes from above.
Thank you for the rain! Thank you for the rain! 
A blessing of God's love.
The rain! The rain!
Thank you for the rain! 
The rain! The rain!
Thank God for the rain!

Jesus called them one by one,
Peter, Andrew, James, and John,
Next came Philip, Thomas, too,
Matthew and Bartholomew.

James, the one they called the Less,
Simon, also Thaddeus,
Twelve apostles Judas made,
Jesus was by him betrayed.

Matthias then took Judas' place,
To preach to men of every race,
Paul three preaching trips did make,
And went to Rome for Jesus' sake.

Yes, Jesus called them,
Yes, Jesus, called them,
Yes, Jesus called them,
And they all followed Him.

ACTS 8:4
Therefore they that were scattered abroad
Went everywhere preaching the Word.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Lesson - The Old Law Is Not Binding Today

VERSES:   Acts 15:1-41

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 15:36  "...Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord and see how they do."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Review all the New Testament books that the students have been encouraged to memorize. This is a good foundation for memorizing the rest of the books.

PRAYER:   Pray that we always treasure the Bible, God's Word, and share it with others.

SPECIAL SONG:  Jesus Loves The Little Children (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #2 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:  Bible map; Activity (see below)

  • When Jesus died on the cross, things had changed. No longer did Christians live under Moses' Law, but they lived under Jesus' Law. But some of the Christians who had been Jews and had lived under Moses' Law were having trouble understanding that Jesus had different rules.
  • While Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch, there were certain men who came down from Judea and were saying and teaching that Christians had to still follow the rules of the Old Testament in order to be saved and go to heaven. When Paul and Barnabas heard what the men were still teaching people, there were disagreements in the church when Paul and Barnabas told the men that the Old Testament laws did not apply to Christians. The men from Judea were very upset and made a plan for Paul, Barnabas and other men to go to Jerusalem and discuss this question concerning the Old Law with the apostles and elders.
  • Along the journey, the men continued to preach about Jesus to the Gentiles, bringing much joy to the cities of Phoenicia and Samaria. However, when they got to Jerusalem, there were some Christians, who had been part of the Pharisees group, who argued that parts of the Old Testament law were still binding.
  • The apostles and elders met together and discussed the problem. After much disagreeing, Peter finally stood up and said that a good time ago, God had chosen to include the Gentiles in hearing the Gospel and Peter was the one who had preached to them and they had believed and obeyed. Peter said that God had put no difference in the Jews and the Gentiles. 
  • The entire group was silent as Paul and Barnabas spoke to them about the miracles that they performed among the Gentiles. Afterwards, the men remained quiet. Then a man named James spoke up and, after he quoted scriptures, offered a wise solution. He suggested that they write letters to the Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia congregations, telling them that neither the apostles, nor the Holy Spirit, had given such a command to keep the Old Law. 
  • After the letter was written, Paul, Barnabas, a man named Judas and another man named Silas, who were prophets, were sent back to Antioch where the letter was read out loud to all the church. The letter caused great rejoicing among all the brethren. Judas and Silas encouraged the brethren there and, after the men had stayed a while, traveled back to Jerusalem, all but Silas, Paul, and Barnabas who stayed in Antioch and continued preaching.
  • After a few days, Paul suggested to Barnabas that they, once again, go on a second missionary journey and visit the churches where they had been before to see how they were doing. There was a disagreement on who should go with them on the journey. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark again, but Paul did not think that was a good idea since John Mark had left them in the middle of their last journey and did not work with them. They both felt very strongly about who should go, so, in the end, Paul and Barnabas went their own separate ways with Barnabas taking John Mark and Paul taking Silas.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • The Jews had lived by the Old Testament Law for hundreds and hundreds of years. When Jesus died on the cross, He took the Old Law away and put Jesus' Law into its place. We live under Christ's Law today. Christ died to sacrifice Himself once and for all (Hebrews 10:10) and, as an example, that is why we do not offer animal sacrifices as they did under Moses' Law. There is no need for animal sacrifices (Hebrews 10:4) because Jesus was the better sacrifice (Hebrews 9:13, 14, 22, 23). While change is sometimes difficult, we must always do just what the Bible says.
  • It is interesting to notice that, while Paul and Barnabas disagreed on who should travel with them on the beginning of a new second missionary journey, they worked it out without anyone stopping their preaching or going home. They continued to preach and teach about Jesus Christ, separately.
ACTIVITY:   Paul and Barnabas disagree
Materials needed:   9" x 12" light blue construction paper, stapler, staples, permanent marker (Be careful! Will be permanent on anything!), four strips 2 1/2" x 9" of different colored construction paper, four small strips of 1" x 7" matching different colored construction paper, glue, four plastic spoons, scissors.

  1. Hand out four spoons.
  2. With permanent marker, CAREFULLY draw face and hair on the back of each spoon.
  3. Set spoons aside.
  4. Hand out four 2 1/2" x 9" papers.
  5. Fold each paper in half.
  6. With scissors, cut a "V" in the middle of the folded edge. These are the four men's coats.
  7. Write a name--"Paul," Barnabas," Silas," or "John Mark"--on the bottom of the coat.
  8. Hand out four small strips of matching paper. These are the men's arms.
  9. Fold each small strip in half.
  10. Cut in half on folded line.
  11. Open up each coat.
  12. Place a small amount of glue on each side on the bottom half of paper near the fold line. (We are gluing the men's arms to the inside of their coats.)
  13. Fold coats in half again. 
  14. Staple each side of each coat.
  15. Insert one spoon with face in each coat.
  16. Hand out light blue paper.
  17. Fold almost in half.
  18. Staple of each side to form a pocket.
  19. Write "Paul and Barnabas disagree, but continue to preach the Gospel." and "Acts 15:36-41).
  20. Just before Bible class ends, the students places the four men in their light blue pocket and tells someone at home about the lesson.
  21. The Intent Of This Project:  Using the spoons, the students tell the story of how Paul and Barnabas wanted to choose their own helper (John Mark and Silas), but they disagreed about who to choose.  Barnabas wanted to take John Mark; Paul disagreed because of John Mark's history and wanted to take Saul. Finally, Paul took Silas with him and Barnabas took John Mark. Both men disagreed, but continued to preach the Gospel. It is possible to disagree with your brother and continue to teach and preach in harmony.

Lesson - "We Are Men Like You!"

VERSES:   Acts 14:1-28

MEMORY VERSE:   Acts 14:7  "And there they preached the gospel."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Colossians.  Write "Colossians" on small slips of paper, and hand out to the students at the end of Bible class.  By doing so, the student may memorize one more New Testament book in biblical order. Colossians is #12 of the New Testament books. Take a minute to review all the books that have been learned so far.

PRAYER:   Pray that we treat all people just the same and never treat anyone badly.

SPECIAL SONG:   Read, Read Every Day (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #1 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Bible map; Large Activity (see below)

  • In the city of Iconium, Paul and Barnabas went together to the synagogue. The reason that both men went to the synagogue was that was where the people were! The people were already gathered together, so Paul and Barnabas did not need to invite or gather or round up people to listen to God's Word; they simply went to where the people were. In the synagogue in Iconium, not only were there Jews there, but also Gentiles. 
  • Jews had always heard the preaching of God's Word through their fathers, the prophets, and the judges, but Paul and Barnabas were preaching a different message than what they had heard before. They were preaching about Jesus. On the other hand, being accepted by God to hear His Word was something new to the Gentiles. God's chosen people had been the Jews for hundreds of years, but now that had changed (see June 2015 - Lesson - The Conversion Of Cornelius on this blog). The gospel of Jesus Christ--or the message of His life, death, burial, and resurrection--was now being preached to all people!
  • As Paul and Barnabas preached to the people about Jesus, a huge amount of the Jews and the Gentiles believed. But there were some of the Jews who did not believe and stirred up the Gentiles, influencing their minds in a bad way and undid the good that Paul and Barnabas had done.  Because of this, Paul and Barnabas stayed a long time and spoke boldly and unashamedly about Jesus. They even performed miracles to prove that they were sent from God, but the city was divided in their beliefs. Part of the people stayed with the Jews and part of the people stayed with the apostles. When Paul and Barnabas learned that the Jews and the Gentiles had plans to stone them, they fled to the cities of Lystra and Derbe which were not too far away in the region of Lycaonia. There, in Lystra and Derbe, they preached the gospel.
  • While Paul and Barnabas were preaching in Lystra, there was a man who had weak feet and had never walked before in his entire life, but there he sat, listening to Paul. Paul was looking intently at the crippled man and understood that the man had enough faith to be healed. With a loud voice, Paul said to him, "Stand up on your feet!" The man did not carefully, cautiously, or slowly get up and stand.. He LEAPED up and WALKED! 
  • When the people saw this man that they had known for a long time walk, they said in their own language in Lycaonia, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!" They began to call Barnabas "Jupiter" and Paul "Mercurius." Both Jupiter and Mercurius were false gods of the city. The priest of Jupiter quickly began to bring oxen and garlands into the city, planning to offer sacrifices--not to God, but to Paul and Barnabas!
  • When the apostles, Barnabas and Paul heard about what was happening, they tore their clothes, which was a sign of grief, and ran in the middle of the people and cried out, "Sirs, why are you doing this? We are men just like you and we are preaching that you should turn from things like this and turn to the living God who made the heaven, earth, the sea, and everything that lives in them!" With these words, Paul and Barnabas persuaded the people not to offer the sacrifices to them.
  • Then, guess who showed up? The Jews from Antioch of Pisidia and Iconium. They took Paul and stoned him with stones. They dragged him outside the city of Lystra because they thought he was dead, but when the disciples stood all around him, he stood up and went back into the city. The next day, Paul and Barnabas went to the city of Derbe. (Show on map.) While they were in Derbe, they converted many people by preaching about Jesus. Then, Paul and Barnabas went back to the cities that they had already been--Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch--and strengthened the Christians there, encouraging them to continue in the faith. After they had ordained or appointed elders in every congregation of the Lord's church with prayers and fasting, they commended them to the Lord.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Let's look on our Bible map. Where have Paul and Barnabas gone? They started in Antioch, sailed over to the island of Cyprus, went up to Perga, then to Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. That is quite a long trip! Paul and Barnabas went through many hardships, but they remained true to the Lord. When we have hard times in our lives, we should also trust in God to get us through just like Paul and Barnabas.
ACTIVITY:  "We are men like you!"
Materials needed:  9" x 12" tan construction paper, 2" x 12" black strip of construction paper,  4" x 9" tan construction paper, markers, tape, crayons, scissors.
  1. Hand out large tan paper. This is the background.
  2. Fold large tan paper, so that the edges meet in the middle.
  3. Draw one  3" lines on each fold in the middle of the tan paper.
  4. Open tan paper.
  5. At top of paper, write, "We Are Men Like You!" and "Acts 14."
  6. Draw many men around the tan paper, include the priest of Jupiter somewhere on the paper close to an ox with a garland.
  7. Color.
  8. Write "Priest of Jupiter" on the priest.
  9. Write "Ox" on ox or close by the ox.
  10. Write "Healed Man" on the man who could not walk. Student chooses which man is the healed man.
  11. Hand out smaller tan paper.
  12. Draw, color, and cut out Paul and Barnabas.
  13. Write "Paul" on Paul and "Barnabas" on Barnabas.
  14. Draw tear marks on Paul and Barnabas' clothing. It is fine to write the word "torn" with arrows on clothing.
  15. With scissors, cut on two black lines on folds. The Bible teacher may need to help some who cannot cut well.
  16. Insert black strip into cuts.
  17. On back, secure ends of black paper with tape.
  18. Attach Barnabas and Paul to the front of the black strip with glue or tape.
  19. Idea Behind This Project:  Just after the men of the city have called Barnabas "Jupiter" and Paul "Mercurius", Paul and Barnabas have torn their clothes in grief and have run among the people. Black strip may be moved GENTLY back and forth like Paul and Barnabas are running through the people, saying "We are men just like you! Turn to the living God!" The whole project can stand up on a table by simply re-creasing folds.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lesson - Shaking The Dust Off Their Feet

VERSES:  Acts 13:14-52

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 13:47   "...I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles..."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Philippians.  Write "Philippians" on small slips of paper and hand out to the students, so they can memorize another New Testament book at home.

PRAYER:   Pray for boldness and confidence when talking to others about Jesus. May we never be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.

SPECIAL SONG:   No, Not One (see June 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #6 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Bible map; Large Activity (see below)

  • From Perga, Paul and Barnabas traveled to the city of Antioch of Pisidia and went to the synagogue. After the law was read, the rulers of the synagogue asked if anyone had an encouraging word to say to the people and Paul stood up and motioned with his hand for all to listen. He began preaching about God and children of Israel, He talked about King David and how he was a man after God's own heart. He spoke of John, the baptizer, and how he had not been the Christ. Paul preached for quite a while, and then began to preach about Jesus, God's Son, and how He rose from the dead. He preached about how the Gentiles could receive the forgiveness of sins through Jesus. 
  • When the Jews had left the synagogue, the Gentiles were eager to hear the Truth. They followed Paul and Barnabas and wanted them to preach to them on the next sabbath day. When the group of people was going in different directions, many of the Jews and others were persuaded by Paul and Barnabas to continue in the grace of God. 
  • The next sabbath day, almost the whole city came together to hear Paul and Barnabas preach the word of God. But something bad happened! When the Jews saw the huge crowds that had gathered together, they began to be envious or jealous. The Jews spoke against everything that Paul said! 
  • Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and told the Jews that it was necessary that God's Word was spoken to them first, but after the way they behaved and the  things they spoke against God's Word, then they were going to turn to the Gentiles and speak to them about the gospel. Paul and Barnabas said that the Lord had placed them to be a light to the Gentiles that salvation should be preached to the whole earth.The Gentiles were delighted to hear the word of God and many of them believed. The Word of the Lord was spread throughout the whole region. 
  • But, again, there was trouble! The Jews stirred up the devout women and the very important leaders of the city and did many unkind things to Paul and Barnabas. Finally, the Jews drove them out of the city of Antioch. Do you know what Paul and Barnabas did next? They shook the dust of their feet against them and moved on to the city of Iconium (see map). The disciples were not sad; they were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Paul was not afraid to be in the synagogue with a great crowd of Jews. Paul and Barnabas took God's Word to where the people were gathered. Here in Antioch, the people were meeting in the synagogue. Notice what Paul did when he was asked if anyone had anything encouraging to say. He stood up with confidence and began to speak to the people about Jesus. Paul saw an opportunity and he took it! We should do the same.
  • In Matthew 7:6, we can read Jesus' words about what to do if people would not listen to God's Word and if they did not treasure the word of the Lord. The disciples were "not to cast their pearls before swine" or give the precious word of the Lord to people who did not care about God and His sayings. In Matthew 10:14, Jesus said if the anyone would not hear or listen to God's words, then they were to leave the city and shake the dust off their feet, moving on to another city who would hear them. This is what Paul and Barnabas did. The people wouldn't listen, so they left and shook the dust off their feet.
  • It is interesting to notice that Paul and Barnabas were not depressed or grieved about being kicked out of Antioch. What did they do? They were filled with joy!
ACTIVITY:  Shaking the dust off their feet
Materials needed: 9" x 12" tan construction paper,small amount of baby powder, markers, crayons, scissors.
  1. Hand out tan paper.
  2. Fold paper in half.
  3. Using most of the paper, draw one foot.
  4. Cut both feet out at one time.
  5. Outline feet with black marker, making one sandal on each foot.
  6. Color.
  7. One one leg, write "But they shook off the dust off their feet."
  8. On the other leg, write "Acts 13:14-52."
  9. Shake a SMALL amount of baby powder on each foot. This is the dust.
  10. The student may only "shake" off the dust once or twice before the powder is gone, so shake sparingly!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Lesson - The Missionary Journeys Begin!

VERSES:   Acts 13:1-13

MEMORY VERSE:   Acts 13:9  "And Saul (who also is called Paul)..."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Ephesians.  Write "Ephesians" on small slips of paper, so the students can memorize another New Testament book at home.

PRAYER:   Thank the Lord for the opportunities He gives us to tell others about His Son. May we pray that more opportunities would come our way.

SPECIAL SONG:   This Little Light Of Mine (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Bible Map, tracing Paul and Barnabas' journey on the map.  Large Activity.

  • In the church at Antioch where Barnabas and Saul had been staying, there were others besides them who were teachers and prophets. A few others were Simeon, Lucius, and Manaen. While they did the Lord's work and fasted or did not eat any food for a time, the Holy Spirit spoke and said that he had work for Barnabas and Saul to do. When they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on Barnabas and Saul, they sent the two men on a journey to tell others about Jesus. They began the first missionary journey at Seleucia and then sailed on a ship to Cyprus. (Show on map.) 
  • Because people back in those days had no cars, trains, or airplanes, their journeys were long and hard. They either rode on an animal, sailed on a ship, or, most often, they walked. Their journeys took many days, weeks, months, and sometimes longer. They would go to where people would meet, such as market places, people's houses, or in the synagogues. On the island of Cyprus and in the city of Salamis, Barnabas and Saul preached to the people in the synagogues. John Mark, who was a younger man and some say was related to Barnabas was also with them and helped them.
  • When they had traveled through the island to a city called Paphos, Barnabas and Saul found a man there who was a Jew and was a sorcerer or someone who did magic tricks. He was called a false prophet because he pretended to be from God, but only tricked the people and could not do any miracles from God. The man's name was Barjesus, but he was mostly called by the name of Elymas in this lesson. Elymas traveled with a very important man, Sergius Paulus, who was the deputy of the country and a very wise man. 
  • Sergius Paulus wanted to hear the Word of God, so he called for Barnabas and Saul to come to him, but Elymas resisted Barnabas and Saul. He did not want Sergius Paulus to listen to God's Word. He wanted to turn Sergius Paulus away from the faith. 
  • Then Saul, who was also called Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his eyes on Elymas and said to Elymas, "You who are filled with trickery and all mischief, you child of the devil and enemy of everything right, will you not stop making something evil out of the right ways of the Lord? Watch, because now the hand of the Lord is on you, and you shall be blind and will not see the sun for a season!" Immediately, a mist and darkness fell upon Elymas and he went around looking for someone who would lead him by the hand. When the deputy saw what had been done to Elymas, he believed and was amazed at the teaching of the Lord.
  • When Paul and the men who traveled with him left Paphos, they went to a city in Pamphylia called Perga. It was here that John Mark left them and went back to Jerusalem. (Show on map.)
"Older Student" Tips
  • Many of the apostles and Christians fasted, and when they fasted, they prayed as well. Fasting means that they did not eat food for a time. They were devoting their time to praying to God.
  • Remember miracles were performed to prove that those who performed them were from God. Elymas was a false prophet because, though he claimed to be a prophet, he could do no miracles, proving he was not from God.
  • It is interesting to notice that Saul, now called Paul, did not hesitate to rebuke or scold Elymas for the mischief he had made. He called Elymas a child of the devil because he was getting in Sergius Paulus' way of hearing God's Word.
  • Saul has his name changed on the island of Cyprus to the name "Paul." Paul means "little one" which is a name of humility. When we think of the name 'Saul' , we think of an important Jew who persecuted Christians, however, now the humble name of 'Paul' makes one think of a preacher of the Gospel who will be subjected to many hardships as a Christian.
ACTIVITY: Elymas Goes Blind
Materials needed:  9" x 12" tan construction paper, 4" x 12" black construction paper, 4" x 8" wax paper (or netting or clear sparkle paper), markers, crayons, staples, stapler,.

  1. Hand out tan paper.
  2. Draw picture of Elymas and Saul looking at each other.
  3. Color the two men.
  4. Above Elymas' head, write "Elymas".
  5. Above Saul's head, write "Saul", then cross out the "S" with a red crayon. Write a "P" close by the word "Saul."
  6. Draw a small arrow from the word Elymas to the picture of Elymas.
  7. Draw a small arrow from the word "Paul" to the picture of Paul.
  8. On the edge of the paper close to Paul, write "Filled with Holy Spirit."
  9. On the edge of the paper close to Elymas, write "Withstood Paul and Barnabas."
  10. In the middle of the words "Elymas" and "Paul", write the word "AND".
  11. Below the word "and", write "...and now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a season." Draw a line all around the words, beginning close to Paul's mouth and ending close to Paul's mouth. This is a speech bubble.
  12. Below the speech bubble, write, "Immediately, a mist and a darkness feel on him and he went about seeking someone to lead him by the hand/" Also, write, "Acts 13:1-13."
  13. Hand out wax paper. This is the mist.
  14. Write the word, "mist" at the bottom of the wax paper.
  15. Hand out black paper.
  16. Write the word, "DARKNESS" across the front of the black paper.
  17. Place the wax paper over Elymas' face, folding excess wax paper to the back of the tan paper.
  18. Place black paper over the mist, completely covering Elymas, folding the excess wax paper and black paper to the back of the tan paper.
  19. Staple both papers at the top of the tan paper. The Bible teacher may need to help small hands.
  20. Fold both the wax paper and the black paper to the back of the tan paper until ready to tell that part of the lesson.
  21. Re-tell the story with all the students, covering Elymas first in the mist, then in darkness. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Extra Helps #15 - Learning With Maps

As we begin the missionary journeys of Paul, the students will occasionally be drawing maps. It is helpful to know where Paul went on his journeys, so we become familiar with the towns and cities, areas and provinces in which he traveled. It is interesting to follow his footprints as he preached through the land. Some say that by studying maps, it helps the lands become a little more real in the students' minds. True or not, it cannot hurt studying where those of old lived their lives, how they preached about Jesus Christ, and learn how and where the church grew as the Word spread.

There are different ways to teach students through map-making. Here are just a few to consider:
  • Large Bible maps may be hoisted up on stands or applied to the walls and displayed in the Bible classroom. This can create great interest in young minds. Perhaps you have an overhead projector (see March 2014 - Visual Aids - #4 Overhead Projector on this blog) and are able to trace or draw large maps on butcher paper, chalking the different areas with colorful chalk, and laminating the maps so they will be protected for a long time. Having one of these extra large hand-drawn maps stapled on the classroom wall is quite impressive. One can tell that the Bible is being taught in that particular classroom, students are eager to learn where they will travel during the next lesson, and there is much to be learned. Small footprints can be pinned or taped to the map and can be connected to other cities as lessons are studied each week. When Paul boards a ship and travels to the next country, a small cut-out ship could be added to the Mediterranean Sea, showing which way Paul traveled. Or, pieces of yarn may be attached with pins, noting the cities where Paul preached.
  • Students may draw their own maps for that day's lesson and add the map to a special personal folder, accumulating the maps of Paul's four missionary journeys. There is no need for the maps to be perfectly drawn. An illusion is all that is necessary. Details such as cities, names of seas, etc. may be added.
  • The students may draw one map of the areas from Italy to Egypt to Palestine and staple the map to a bulletin board that has been prepared in advance. As the students study a particular chapter in the book of Acts, simply add the cities or areas mentioned in that chapter. Continue until the books of Acts has been completely studied. The maps should look extremely detailed.
Whatever your chosen method is of studying the missionary journeys, adding maps can only complete a thorough study. Where interest is nurtured, students learn.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Lesson - An Angel Helps Peter Escape

VERSES:  Acts 12:1-25

MEMORY VERSE:   Acts 12:24   "But the word of God grew and multiplied."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Galatians.  Write "Galatians" on small slips of paper and hand out to the students at the end of the class, so they may memorize this new book at home.

PRAYER:  Always remember to pray for those in need, those in prison, those in troubled lands, those who are sick or have no food. When we cannot help in any other way, we can always pray.

SPECIAL SONG:  Read, Read Every Day (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #1 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:  Large Activity (see below)


  • Soon, Herod, the king, began to persecute the Christians even more. When he killed John's brother, James, and saw that it pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter and put him in prison. King Herod assigned 16 soldiers to guard Peter at different times of the day, so there was never a time when someone was not watching him or was not with him. Since it was the feast days of unleavened bread, King Herod's plan was to bring Peter before the people after the Passover was over. 
  • But, one thing that King Herod did not count on was prayer. All the time that Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed for him. They prayed for him in the morning. They prayed for him in the afternoon. They prayed for him in the evening. They prayed for him at night. They prayed for Peter all the time. God was listening.
  • The night before Herod was going to bring Peter out to the people, Peter was chained to two soldiers with two chains. He was sleeping between them and there were two soldiers guarding Peter's door. They wanted to keep Peter right where he was--in prison! But God had another plan for Peter.
  • That night an angel of the Lord came to Peter and a light shone in the prison. The angel hit Peter on his side and woke him up. The angel said, "Get up quickly!" All of Peter's chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to put on his sandals and Peter did.  Then Peter was told to throw his coat over him and to follow the angel. All this time, Peter didn't know he was really moving and doing what the angel told him to do. He thought he was seeing a vision, but he followed the angel of the Lord and did exactly as he was told. When they went through the first and second guards, they came to the iron gate that led into the city. The iron gate opened all by itself! Peter and the angel went on through it and out into the street of the city and the angel disappeared.  That was the moment that Peter knew that it was not a vision, but that the angel of the Lord had really helped him escape from the prison! He knew that God had sent His angel to deliver him from Herod.
  • After he had thought about what he was going to do next, Peter decided to go to John Mark's mother's house and many were still there praying for Peter. When Peter knocked on the door of the gate, there was a young girl named Rhoda who answered. She knew Peter's voice and was so happy that, without opening the gate, she ran into to tell everyone that Peter was outside. They thought she was crazy, but she kept telling them that it was really Peter. They said it was Peter's angel, but Peter kept on knocking outside on the door of the gate. When they opened the door and saw that it was truly Peter, they were amazed! Peter, motioning with his hand to be quiet and he told them all of the things that had happened to him. He told them to go and tell the others and he went to another place.
  • As soon it was daylight, there was quite a commotion in the prison! The soldiers had no idea what had become of Peter because they could not find him! They knew what would become of them if Peter was not found. After Herod had diligently looked for Peter and could not find him, he brought all the soldiers that were supposed to be guarding Peter and killed them. Being a guard was a very important job and they had failed to keep their prisoner in the prison.
  • Herod decided to go from Judea to the seaside where Caesarea was and stay. The people there celebrated Herod and made him feel special. They set aside a day to honor Herod. Herod had beautiful clothes to wear, he sat on a throne, and he made a very long speech. When the people heard Herod's speech, they shouted to Herod, "This is the voice of a god, not a man!" Because Herod did not disagree with the people and did not give God the glory, the angel of the Lord immediately struck Herod with worms that ate him up and he died. That was the end of that Herod!
  • But nothing man could do could stop the Word of God. God's Word grew and multiplied. Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem and took with them John Mark--whose mother's house the Christians had been inside, praying for Peter.

"Older Student" Tips:

  • The church we read about in the book of Acts was a praying church. They prayed for important things to happen and God listened to their prayers. If we are doing those things that are right and what pleases God, He will listen to our prayers, too. But, we know that the face of the Lord is turned against the ones who do evil and He will not listen to their prayers. Read 1 Peter 3:12, Psalm 34:15, 16 and John 9:31 .
ACTIVITY:   Peter's Chains
Materials needed:  12" x 16" gray or silver construction paper, tape, scissors, marker, crayons.
  1. Hand out gray paper.
  2. Width-wise, cut in eight 2" strips.
  3. On one strip, write "Acts 12:7."
  4. With the two ends of the paper meeting in the middle, secure with tape. This strip should be formed like a circle. These are the links in two chains.
  5. Insert a second strip in the middle of first circle.
  6. Secure with tape.
  7. Insert a third strip through the second circle.
  8. Secure with tape.
  9. Insert a fourth strip through the third strip.
  10. Secure with tape.
  11. Set this chain aside.
  12. On another strip, write "...And his chains fell off..."
  13. Insert a second strip in the middle of first circle.
  14. Secure with tape.
  15. Insert a third strip through the second circle.
  16. Secure with tape.
  17. Insert a fourth strip through the third strip.
  18. Secure with tape.
  19. Slip one of the end links onto the student's hand.
  20. Slip one of the end links of the second chain onto the student's other hand.
  21. The Bible teacher reads Acts 12:7 out loud. When the words "And his chains fell off" is read, all students' chains fall off of all wrists. (It's a beautiful moment!)
  22. Repeat until class time is over or the students tire of the exercise.