VERSES: Philemon 1:1-1:25
MEMORY VERSE: Philemon 1:5 "Hearing of thy love and faith..."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: 1 Thessalonians. Write "1 Thessalonians" on small pieces of paper and hand out to the students at the end of Bible class, so they words may be taken home, memorized, and recited at the next Bible class. By memorizing the books of the Bible, the children will be able to find any book of the Bible without dependence on lists, bookmarks, or parents.
PRAYER: May we always be happy for those who have heard the Word of God, studied the scriptures, and obeyed the Gospel of Christ like Onesimus and Philemon.
SPECIAL SONG: Be patient And Kind (see April 2014 - Songs We Sing in Bible Class #1 on this blog. If you click on the orange icon by the song, you will hear the tune.)
VISUAL AID: Draw three men on a white board or a chalk board (if desired, simply use triangles and circles for an easy drawing). Write the names of Paul, Philemon, and Onesimus above each of their heads. Refer to the board as you teach the lesson. Make it simple and easy. At the end of the lesson, write the words "love," "gentleness," and "forgiveness" around the men on the board.
- Paul was an apostle and a preacher of God's Word who always did his best and truly tried to do everything God wanted him to do. (Acts 23:1) Because of his preaching about Jesus, Paul was put into prison. While prison is never a good place to be and prisoners are usually not treated very well, Paul had the privilege of writing letters to a few of the churches and, occasionally, he wrote to a few of his friends like a man named Philemon.
- Who was Philemon? Philemon was a Christian and also a slaveowner. He was a friend of the apostle Paul. Back in the time when Paul was writing this letter, men had other men work for them. The men who worked were slaves and could not leave their slaveowners.
- THE PROBLEM? Onesimus was a slave who had run away from Philemon, his slaveowner, but had become a Christian like Paul and Philemon. Where Onesimus had been a worthless slave in the past to Philemon and had even deserted and run away from Philemon, Paul says in his letter that Onesimus had now become profitable to both Paul and Philemon. Onesimus had changed his way of thinking and living because he was now a Christian and served the Lord. How would Philemon now treat Onesimus?
- Paul asked Philemon to take Onesimus back and treat him the same way he would treat Paul. Paul asked Philemon to forgive Onesimus and to not treat him like a servant anymore, but to treat him like a beloved brother. Paul said that if Onesimus had wronged Philemon in any way or owed him anything, that Philemon should charge Paul's account and Paul would repay it at a later time.
- Paul wrote that he had confidence in Philemon and knew that he would not only do what Paul asked of him, but that he would do more than Paul asked.
- The letter of Philemon is a letter of love and forgiveness. This is how Christians treat each other--with gentleness, forgiveness, and love, never holding a grudge or a memory of bad feelings. We should treat others the same way that Paul asked Philemon to treat Onesimus.
- What was Paul's crime? Preaching the Gospel.
- The book of Philemon is actually a letter that was written to a man named Philemon who was a fellow-Christian and friend of the apostle Paul from a Roman prison. We might wonder why Paul was in prison because people who are held in prison are usually criminals, but not Paul. Paul was placed in prison for only one reason and that was because he had been preaching about Jesus, God's Son.
- This short letter that Paul wrote to his friend, Philemon, can be divided into four major parts:
- Verses 1-3 Paul's Courtesy
- Verses 4-7 Paul's Compliment
- Verses 8-21 Paul's Counsel
- Verses 22-25 Paul's Conclusion
Materials Needed: 8.5" x 11" piece of white paper, crayons, pencil or pen, black marker (optional).
- Fold a piece of white paper in half, and then fold it in half again, so it is quartered.
- On the top of the paper, write "A Lesson In Forgiveness" and "Philemon 1."
- Draw a man.
- Write "Paul" above his head.
- Open the half-sheet of paper and draw a man.
- Write "Philemon" above his head.
- Across the half-sheet of paper (still folded once), draw a man.
- Write "Onesimus" above his head.
- Turn folded paper over.
- Write "How Christians treat each other..." at the top of the paper.
- Below those words, write "LOVE," "GENTLENESS," and "FORGIVENESS."
- Turn folded paper over to the front page.
- Draw a prison window by Paul.
- Write "An apostle" and "A preacher of God's Word" around Paul.
- Open to Philemon's page.
- Write "Paul wrote a letter to Philemon," "A friend of Paul's,' "A Christian," "Treat Onesimus the same way he would treat Paul," "Would forgive Onesimus for running away," and "He would do more than Paul asked" around Philemon's picture.
- On Onesimus' page, write "He had run away from Philemon," "In the past was a worthless slave," "A Christian and now a beloved brother of Paul and Philemon's," "Now served the Lord," and "Now useful to Paul and Philemon" around Onesimus' picture.
- Color all pages.