Saturday, September 26, 2015

Lesson - The Letter To The Romans

VERSES:  Romans 1:1-11:30

MEMORY VERSE:   Romans 1:16  "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is  the power of God unto salvation, to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Review all 27 book of the New Testament together in class.

PRAYER:  Pray that we all stay far away from sin, yet when we stumble, that we will pray to the Lord to forgive us. Pray that we stop doing sinful things and start doing right.

SPECIAL SONG:  The Books Of The New Testament (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog); Be Careful Little Eyes What you See (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog).  All songs can be found on this blog and the tune to each song can be heard by pressing the orange circles.

VISUAL AID:   Bible map showing Rome, Large Activity (see Activity below)

  • Paul lived in a time when there were no computers, no email, not even a telephone! Paul had never been to a city called Rome, but, because God wanted to tell the Christians who lived in this faraway city some very important things, God instructed Paul to write a letter to the Christians in the city of Rome. It wasn't just any regular letter; no, this was a special letter that God told Paul to write. This letter was inspired by God or "God-breathed"(Second Timothy 3:16, 17). Paul wrote everything in the letter that God told him to write. It was a very long letter. Paul wrote mostly about sin and how to live a godly life--a life that would please God. The letter was also not written on rectangles of white typing paper like we have now, but on a scroll which was usually like a roll of parchment or a thin, stiff, flat material made from a skin of an animal. 
  • At the time Paul wrote this letter, the Rome and the Roman Empire was the center of the world. Rome was a very large and important city. It was a wealthy city which meant that the people in the city had a lot of money and they used their money to build important buildings and roads. Not many cities had roads like Rome. There is a saying, "All roads lead to Rome," meaning that no matter where the people lived, they could find their way to Rome by just walking on a road. The road would eventually end up in in the city of Rome. 
  • Did you know that we can read a copy of this letter that God told Paul to write to the Romans? We know exactly what Paul wrote to the Romans because it is in the Bible! Let's turn to Romans and read the very first word in this long letter. (Read Romans 1:1) The first word is Paul because the Apostle Paul signed his name at the beginning of the letter. Usually, when we write a letter, we sign our name at the end of the letter and put it in the mailbox, but not Paul! Paul wrote his letter, signing it first, then he gave it to a messenger who then took Paul's letter all the way to Rome. Let's look on the map to see where Rome was. We know where the letter was going, but we don't know where Paul was exactly when he wrote the letter because the Bible doesn't say.
  • As we read this letter to the Romans, God told Paul to tell the Romans many things like:
    • Paul was an Apostle and he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God unto salvation. (Romans 1:16)
    • The Romans thought they were very wise or smart, but God said they were fools because they had turned away from God to idols and many terrible, sinful things. The Romans should have looked around them and seen all the beautiful things that God had created for them and known that there must have been a Creator (Romans 1:20). He said that the people were so sinful and because they were not sorry for the things they had done, that God had given up on them. (Romans 1:20-32)
    • Paul wrote about how to become a Christian. He said that when people were baptized into Christ, they were immersed or buried in water. It is not a sprinkling or pouring of a small amount of water, it is a burial. When the person goes down into the water, their sins are washed away. When they come up out of the water, then they are able to live a new life. The old, sinful man dies and the new man is freed from sin. (Roman 6:1-7). (See Lesson - The Queen's Treasurer - May 2015 on this blog).
    • Paul says that nothing should keep us from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39), not death, or life, or angels, or anything! We should always do what God wants us to do!
    • Paul tells us in Romans how to get faith: We get faith from hearing God's Word. God doesn't zap us with faith, we cannot buy faith at a store; the only way to get faith is to read the Bible. (Romans 10:17)
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Looking with simple eyes at the book of Romans, we can learn many things. Some say that this book is more difficult than others in the New Testament, but we can always look at the simple things in a book to find out a few important facts. 
  • The theme of the whole book of Romans is "Justification By Faith." We can be made right in God's sight by having faith in Him. (Romans 5:1).
  • For a biblical definition of 'faith', read Hebrews 11:1. To see if we can please God without faith, read Hebrews 11:6.
  • Preachers have beautiful feet! Read Romans 10-13-17 to see if this is true.
  • We know from the book of Esther (Esther 8:13, 14) that there were posts who rode mules and camels to send letters to the Jews. Jeremiah 51:31 talks about posts and messengers meeting each other. There was a method in place way back then to send letters to people far away.
ACTIVITY:  The Letter To The Romans
Materials:  4" x 6" tan construction paper, 3" x 6" red construction paper, 2" x 5" red construction paper, two 1/2" x 4" brown construction paper, 3" x 6" brown construction paper, 3" x 8" white paper, scissors, glue, tape, pencil, crayons, 4" of twine if desired, 9" x 12" blue construction paper if desired (I did not use blue paper or twine).

  1. Hand out tan construction paper.
  2. Using most of the paper, draw a long necked messenger's head.
  3. Cut out head with long neck.
  4. Glue about 2" of bottom of neck.
  5. Hand out large red paper. This is the messenger's shirt.
  6. Attach neck to top of 3" x 4" red shirt.
  7. Hand out two long strips of brown paper.
  8. Round corners on one end of each strip.
  9. Matching rounded corner in the middle of the top of red shirt, angle down and across red shirt. These are the straps of the messenger's mailbag.
  10. Glue edges of brown strips on red shirt.
  11. Cut edges of brown strips to make even with red shirt.
  12. Hand out 3" x 6" brown paper.
  13. Place 3" x 6" brown paper at an angle on man's back. This is the messenger's mailbag.
  14. Glue mailbag to red shirt. Cut bottom of mailbag even with red shirt.
  15. Hand out 2" x 5" red paper. This is the messenger's arm.
  16. Round top corners of arm.
  17. Glue arm to the middle of the shirt.
  18. Write "To ROME, ITALY" on brown mailbag.
  19. Set messenger aside.
  20. Hand out white paper. This is the letter to the Romans.
  21. In the middle of the white paper, write "Letter to the Romans."
  22. Roll white paper to the middle.
  23. Secure with tape.
  24. Roll other side of white paper to the middle.
  25. Secure with tape.
  26. If desired, tie twine around the letter, gently.
  27. Turn messenger on his back.
  28. Place rolled up letter a little above the the brown mailbag with words not showing.
  29. Secure with tape.
  30. Turn messenger over to the front.
  31. Color.
  32. If desired, glue messenger to blue paper.  (I chose not to use the blue paper.)
  33. Make certain all students know that this is the messenger who took Paul's letter to the Romans to Rome.
  34. Take messenger home at the end of class.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Introduction To The New Testament Letters

WHAT ARE THE LETTERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT? Romans; First and Second Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians; Colossians; First and Second Thessalonians; First and Second Timothy; Titus; Philemon; Hebrews; James; First and Second Peter; First, Second, and Third John; Jude.

MEMORY WORK:  Review all 27 books of the New Testament.

PRAYER:  Thank God for the opportunity of learning how to read, so we can also read the books of the Bible whenever we choose.

SPECIAL SONG:   The Books Of The New Testament (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:  Bible; Large Activity (see below)

  • For many weeks, we have studied from the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John about how Jesus came to this earth, died on the cross, and rose from the grave. We learned that the reason that these four books were written was so that we might believe that Jesus is the Son of God and have life through His name (John 20:30, 31). 
  • From the book of Acts, we studied about the history of the early church and how people were baptized into Christ, becoming members of the Lord's church. We discovered how many Christians were persecuted, suffering beatings, time in prison, and sometimes even death in order to spread the Gospel of Christ (Acts 7:57-60).
  • Now, we find ourselves beginning the letters of the New Testament and will soon begin learning how Christians should live their godly lives after they are converted to Christ.. Studying the letters that inspired men wrote, we learn many things, such as how to please God, the biblical definition of sin, if there is a commandment for children to obey their parents, what kind of thoughts should be filling our minds, and how to defend ourselves against the devil. 
  • We will begin with Paul's letter to the Romans and continue through the New Testament to the book of Jude. Following the book of Acts in God's Word, we find that there are twenty-one letters which address the manner in which Christians should live. These letters were written by inspired men like: Paul, Peter, Jude, and James. God told these men what to write and they wrote. We now have the opportunity of reading these short letters in book form from our Bibles and learning "How To Live The Christian Life." May we learn, remember, and apply what we read.
ACTIVITY:  The Books Of The New Testament Puzzle
Materials needed:  Four red 3" x 5" construction papers, one blue 3" x 5" construction papers, twenty-one white 3" x 5" construction papers, and one green 3" x 5" construction paper, one rubber band, markers, a Bible or list of the books of the New Testament. (Multicolored index cards may also be used for convenience. They are a bit more expensive and are found in school supply stores.)

  1. Using their Bibles, students should be able to find the list of the books of the New Testament in the front of their Bibles. The Bible is used for reference and spelling.
  2. Hand out four red cards.
  3. Write "Matthew," "Mark," "Luke," and "John" on the four red cards. These are the Gospels or books of Biography.
  4. Hand out one blue card.
  5. Write "Acts" on the blue card. This is the book of History.
  6. Hand out twenty-one white cards. (May hand out a few at a time, if desired.)
  7. Write "Romans," "First Corinthians," "Second Corinthians," "Galatians," " Ephesians," "Philippians," "Colossians," "First Thessalonians," "Second Thessalonians," "First Timothy," "Second Timothy," "Titus," "Philemon," "Hebrews," "James," "First Peter," "Second Peter," "First John," "Second John," "Third John," and "Jude" on each white card. These are the letters that were written by four men and inspired by God. Some may say that writing all 27 book titles is time-consuming, but students learn by writing. By writing the names, they become familiar with spelling the names of the books.
  8. Hand out one green card.
  9. Write "Revelation" on the green card. There is no 's" in the title of the book "Revelation." (Some adults do not know this.)
  10. The "Puzzle" part:  When finished writing, shuffle the cards and see if the student is able to put their cards back in order.
  11. At the end of class, hand out rubber bands to secure their 27 cards.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Review - Paul's Journeys In Cups

Taking the time to review at the end of a book, a series of lessons, or a complicated topic can be of great help, especially to the serious Bible student. Having one more opportunity to cement the facts can help a student remember details for a long time. We have had over twenty lessons on Paul's journeys and have learned what happened on each journey along the way. Many things have happened to Paul--some good and some bad. It may be helpful at this time to review the main events, characters, and cities of these journeys to remember what we have learned. Perhaps the Activity below may be of benefit to your Bible students...and the Bible teacher!

VERSES:  Acts chapters 13-28


  • Paul's First Missionary Journey:   Read Acts 13:1-14:26
  • Paul's Second Missionary Journey:   Read Acts 15:36-18:22
  • Paul's Third Missionary Journey:  Read Acts 18:23-21:8
  • Paul's Journey To Rome:   Read Acts 23:23-28:16

ACTIVITY:  The Ultimate "Paul's Missionary Journey And To Rome" Review or Paul's Journeys In Cups
Materials needed:  Twenty 3" x 5" white index cards, markers, a pencil, four paper or plastic cups.

  1. On Cup #1:  Write, "Paul's #1 Missionary Journey."  (A permanent, black marker works well.)
  2. On Cup #2:  Write, "Paul's #2 Missionary Journey."
  3. On Cup #3:  Write, "Paul's #3 Missionary Journey."
  4. On Cup #4:  Write, "Paul's Journey To Rome."
  5. Set cups aside.
  6. Hand out 20 white index cards.
  7. On each card, write a question, event, character, or city, and the verse where the answer is found and which number or name of the journey Paul was on.
  8. The Way It Works:  Every student has four cups, a marker, a pencil, 20 white index cards, and a Bible. Using their Bibles, the students write a question, or character, or event, or city on a card. Also in small print on the same side of the card is the "Proof" (book, chapter, and verse), proving on which of Paul's journey that this particular event, character, or city happened. When everyone is finished writing, the students pair up, questioning each other, or, if desired, questioning themselves.
  9.  The "Question-Asker" is responsible for covering up the answer at the bottom of the card as they ask the question.
  10. All correct answers are placed in the correct cup and the number of points totaled at the end of the student's turn.
  11. At the end of class, stack up all four cups and place all index cards inside top cup.
  12. Encourage students to play "Paul's Journeys In Cups" with someone at home.

SPECIAL NOTES:  There is nothing wrong in having a difference in degree of question difficulty. Here is another example of this activity:

  • Divide up the questions into "Easy," "Not-So-Easy," "Serious Thinking,"  and "One Of The Most Difficult Questions Ever." 
  • Use a different color of index cards for each category. For example, all the "Easy" questions would be written on a white card, "Not-So-Easy" questions would be written on yellow index cards, "Serious Thinking" questions would be written on green index cards, and  "One Of The Most Difficult Questions Ever" questions would be written on pink index cards, so the student could choose which question they wanted to try.
  • Weigh each category with more points for the degree of difficulty. For example, 1 point for "Easy" questions, 3 points for "Not-So-Easy" questions, 5 points for "Serious Thinking" questions , and 10 points for "One Of The Most Difficult Questions Ever" questions.
  • Dividing groups up selectively may encourage more interest.

  1. Elymas, the sorcerer - Acts 13:6-12  First Journey
  2. John Mark went back home - Acts 13:13  First Journey
  3. Jews envious of Paul - Acts 13:45  First Journey // Acts 17:5  Second Journey 
  4. Paul and Barnabas called gods because they healed a crippled man - Acts 14:8-18  First Journey
  5. Paul and Barnabas disagree about taking John Mark - Acts 15:37-40  Second Journey
  6. Timothy - Acts 16:1-3  Second Journey
  7. The Macedonian Call - Acts 16:9-10  Second Journey
  8. Lydia and her household is baptized - Acts 16:14-15  Second Journey
  9. At midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang in prison - Acts 16:25  Second Journey
  10. The Philippian jailor is baptized - Acts 16:29-34  Second Journey
  11. "These that have turned the world upside down!" - Acts 17:6  Second Journey
  12. Berean Christians more noble than those in Thessalonica - Acts 17:11  Second Journey
  13. Paul on Mars' Hill - Acts 17:16-34  Second Journey
  14. Acquila, Priscilla, Paul are tentmakers  - Acts 18:3 Second Journey
  15. Crispus - Acts 18:8 Second Journey
  16. Apollos - Acts 18:24-28  Third Journey
  17. Demetrius, the silversmith - Acts 18:24  Third Journey
  18. Paul preached until midnight on the first day of the week - Acts 20:7  Third Journey
  19. Eutychus fell out the window - Acts 20:9  Third Journey
  20. The Ephesians cry as they say goodbye to Paul - Acts 20:36-38  Third Journey
  21. Agabus took Paul's belt and tied his hands up with it - Acts 21:10, 11  Third Journey
  22. The chief captain - Acts 21:32  Third Journey
  23. "Be of good cheer, Paul!" - Acts 23:11  Journey to Rome
  24. Felix  - Acts 23:24 Journey to Rome
  25. Festus - Acts 25:1  Journey to Rome
  26. King Agrippa - Acts 26:1  Journey to Rome
  27. "Almost thou persuadest me to become a Christian" - Acts 26:28  Journey to Rome
  28. The Fair Havens - Acts 27:8  Journey to Rome
  29. "Wished for the day" - Acts 27:29  Journey to Rome
  30. Shipwreck! -Acts 27:44  Journey to Rome
  31. Bitten by a deadly snake - Acts 28:3  Journey to Rome
  32. Melita - Acts 28:1  Journey to Rome
  33. Publius - Acts 28:7,8  Journey to Rome

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Lesson - Paul Arrives In Rome

VERSES:  Acts 28:12-31

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 28:30  "And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Revelation.  Write "Revelation" (no 's') on small slips of paper and hand out to the students at the end of class.

PRAYER:  Thank God for our homes, having a safe place in which to live.

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, tracing Paul's steps from city to city, ending in Rome; a large Activity (see below).

  • After three months on the island of Melita, Paul and all those who were with him left the island on a ship that had wintered there.  They landed in Syracuse first and stayed there three days. After they went and found a compass, they came to the city of Puteoli where they found members of the church and stayed with them for seven days. From there they sailed on to Appiiforum and a place called The Three Taverns where more friends came to greet Paul when they heard that he was coming. Paul was thankful for his friends and was greatly encouraged that they were there with him. 
  • Finally after a very long journey, Paul, his friends, and the other prisoners arrived in Rome. The centurion delivered the other prisoners to the captain of the guard, but Paul was required to stay in a place by himself with a soldier that took care of him.
  • After three days in Rome, Paul called for the important Jews to come together and said to them, "Men and brothers, I have done nothing wrong against the Jews or the customs of our fathers, yet I have been brought from Jerusalem as a prisoner into the hands of the Romans. When the Romans questioned me, they would have let me go because they found that I had done nothing worthy of death. But when the Jews spoke against me, I was forced to appeal to Caesar. I have nothing bad to say about my own nation and for this reason I have called you all together, to see you, and to speak to you for it is the hope of Israel that I wear this chain."
  • The Jews replied that, while they had received no letters from Judea concerning Paul, and no one had come to speak to them about him, they had heard many things about the church and wanted to hear what Paul believed. They selected a day to come and hear him and many came to his house where Paul was staying and listened to him preach and teach about the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets from morning until night! Some of the Jews believed what Paul had to say, but some did not. Paul spoke words from the prophet, Isaiah, whom even the Jews knew, saying that the salvation of God was also sent to the Gentiles and anyone else who would hear it. The Jews reasoned among themselves after they left Paul, thinking about the things he had said to them.
  • In Rome, Paul lived two whole years in his own rented house and welcomed everyone who came to him. He taught about the church and many things concerning Jesus. He spoke with boldness and confidence and did not need to fear anyone.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • We all enjoy good friendships. As Paul sailed from place to place, making his way to Rome, the church and his friends encouraged him, giving him hope and cheering him along. We can think of our friends and know that there are friends we have that encourage us, making us feel better just by being there for us. That is how Paul felt when he saw his friends.
  • Think what a journey Paul, his friends, and the other prisoners had endured: violent storms, little food, fear of being thrown in the sea and death! 
  • In Jerusalem, Paul was thrown into prison for preaching and teaching about Jesus and, in the end, even though he is in Rome and in chains, what did he continue to do? Preach and teach about Jesus. Would we continue to teach about Jesus if it meant that we would go to prison and be in chains?
  • Read Acts 28:23. How long did Paul preach? From morning to night! Today we are squirming in our seats if the preacher preaches more than 30 minutes! Here is an example of how long a sermon could be! Let us be more patient and attentive.
  • While Paul was in prison, he made the best of his time and wrote letters to congregations of the Lord's church encouraging them and, also, scolding them for doing things that were not right in God's sight. Many smart men who have studied the Bible for many, many years believe that Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon from prison. Whether Paul wrote the letters from Rome is hard to tell, but these letters that Paul wrote are in all of our Bibles. We can read these letters or 'books' any time we choose, simply by picking up the Bible and reading!
ACTIVITY:  From Morning Until Night
Materials needed:  9" x 9" light blue construction paper, 9" x 9" black construction paper, two 3" x 3" brown scraps of construction paper, four 1" x 1" scraps of green construction paper, 1" x 4" white paper, tiny star stickers (perhaps six or seven), fastener, glue, scissors, white, red, and black crayons, black marker, pencil, 9" pie pan or bowl.
  1. Hand our light blue and black paper. 
  2. Place the light blue paper exactly on top of the black paper.
  3. Place pie pan or bowl on top of paper.
  4. Trace with pencil.
  5. Cut circles out of both papers at one time, holding papers tightly (or trace the pie pan or bowl on both papers with pencil).
  6. Draw a tiny circle in the middle of the light blue circle.
  7. Cut four inches off of light blue paper, saving both pieces.
  8. Lining the light blue paper on top of the black paper, insert fastener into both papers at once. (The Bible teacher may need to help with this step.)
  9. Secure fastener on the back. (Students may do this part. This is the fun part!)
  10. On the smaller of the light blue semi-circles, glue to the black portion that shows.
  11. Hand out white paper.
  12. Fold paper in half.
  13. Draw a cloud with a pencil.
  14. Cut out clouds.
  15. Glue clouds to the outer edges of the light blue paper.
  16. Glue brown paper just above the larger light blue paper. This is Paul's house in the morning.
  17. Add door, windows, and people in the windows, especially Paul preaching.
  18. Hand out green scraps.
  19. Cut four grass patches.
  20. Glue two grass patches in front of the house, saving two grass patches for later.
  21. Write "Paul's house" above door.
  22. Write "morning" on the blue sky by the house with a red crayon.
  23. Turn wheel so that black paper shows.
  24. Glue other brown square in the middle of the black area. This is Paul's house in the evening.
  25. Again, add a door, windows, and people in the windows, especially Paul still preaching in the evening.
  26. Add other two grass patches and glue them in front of the house.
  27. Add stars in the black sky.
  28. Write "Paul's House" above the door.
  29. Write "evening" on black sky by the house with a white crayon.
  30. On the unmarked light blue wheel, write "Paul preached from __________ till _______." and "Acts 28:23."
  31. The idea of this project:  Stressing how Paul preached about the kingdom of God and about Jesus to the Jews and anyone else who would hear him---from morning until the evening.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Lesson - Paul Is Bitten By A Deadly Snake!

VERSES:  Acts 28:1-11

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 28:4  "...there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Review all New Testament books from Matthew through Jude.

PRAYER:  Pray for others who are sick that they may get well.

SPECIAL SONG:  The Books Of The Old Testament and The Books Of The New Testament (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tunes.)

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

  • We remember that Paul had appealed his case to Caesar in Rome, Italy and had been on a sailing ship as a prisoner. Luke and other friends traveled with him, along with other prisoners. Their ship was shipwrecked on a small island called Melita, and all 276 people who were on the ship were stranded, but alive. Their journey to Rome was filled with hardships.
  • Sometimes islands in the oceans and seas do not have any people living on them, but this was not the case with the island of Melita. Although the people were described as "barbarians," this only meant that they were of a different culture and language than the group on the ship. The people on the island were kind and showed compassion to the shipwrecked passengers. Because it was raining and cold, the people of Melita built a fire for them.
  • While they were collecting wood for the fire, Paul gathered a bundle of sticks when a snake came out of the fire and bit him on the hand! When the people of the island saw the snake hanging on Paul's hand, they talked among themselves. They said, "Certainly this man is a murderer and, although he has escaped the sea, he will not live." Then they stood by and watched Paul. Paul shook off the snake into the fire and felt no harm at all! The people continued to watch Paul to see how he would react to the snakebite, but nothing happened to him. His hand was not swollen and he did not suddenly fall down dead. The people could see that the snake bite had not harmed Paul. Then they changed their minds from thinking he was a murderer and said that he was a god! They did not know that the God of Heaven was watching over Paul.
  • The most important man on the island was an official named Publius. He had a place where he stored his possessions and let some of the passengers on the ship stay there. Publius was extremely kind to the men, politely letting them stay there for three days. However, Publius' father had a fever and was very sick. When Paul heard about the official's father, he went into the room where he was laying, prayed, and laid his hands on him. and the father was healed! When everyone on the island heard what Paul had done for Publius' father, the ones who had diseases came and Paul healed them, too. The people were so thankful and grateful that they honored Paul and Luke and all that were with them. When they left the island three months later, the people of Melita gladly gave the men all the things they needed to make the trip to Rome. 
"Older Student" Tips:
  • The island that Paul was shipwrecked on was called Melita, which today is called Malta.
  • Read Mark 16:17, 18. Jesus told his disciples that signs would be accompanying them, proving to all who saw them taking up snakes such as Paul did in this case and other unnatural situations that they were truly from God. These signs were their credentials, showing that they were God sent. The people of Melita believed that the men were from God when they saw that Paul did not die or even get sick from a deadly snakebite and then witnessing many people whom they knew to have diseases be healed. 
  • The whole purpose of the snake incident was to show the people on this island that Paul was a man of God and that his message would be a message from God.
ACTIVITY:  Snakebit!
Materials needed:  9" x 12" brown construction paper, 4 1/2" x 9" green construction paper, scrap of red construction paper, scrap of aluminum foil, glue, scissors, pencil, crayons, markers.

  1. Hand out brown paper.
  2. Lay the student's hand and arm down on the paper.
  3. Trace with pencil.
  4. Trace pencil line with black crayon.
  5. Cut out hand and arm.
  6. Set aside.
  7. Hand out green paper.
  8. Draw a snake.
  9. Cut out snake.
  10. Set aside.
  11. Cut two small 1/4" red circles. (These are the bite marks on Paul's hand.)
  12. Glue red circles close together on hand.
  13. Cut two small triangles out of foil. (These are the snake's fangs.)
  14. Glue fangs on snake's head.
  15. Write, "Deadly snake" on snake.
  16. Color snake.
  17. Write, "Paul's hand" on edge of arm.
  18. Write, "...there came a snake out of the heat and fastened on to his hand."  and "Acts 28:3" on the palm of the hand.
  19. Glue snake's fangs to red circles.
  20. Carefully, carry project home.

Lesson - Paul Sails To Rome

VERSES:  Acts 27:1-44; 45:1

MEMORY VERSE:   Acts 27:24   "...Fear not, Paul, thou must be brought before Caesar..."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Jude.  Write "Jude" on small slips of paper and hand out to the students at the end of class.

PRAYER:  Thank God for his protection and his providence.

SPECIAL SONG:  The Wise Man Built His House On The Rock (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:  Bible map; large Activity (see below), whiteboard or chalkboard. A map is drawn by the Bible teacher as the students watch and then draw on their own papers. Colored dry erase markers or chalk is helpful.

  • In Caesarea, Paul and other prisoners were entrusted or delivered into the hands of a centurion named Julius. Julius was responsible in making sure that his prisoners reached Rome. Paul had appealed to Caesar and Caesar lived in Rome, Italy, a far away place from where Paul was. (Using the map as a visual aid, trace Paul's journey.)  Traveling from Caesarea to Rome was quite a long journey, especially on a sailing ship. Sailing ships relied on the weather and lots of wind. When there was no wind, the ship would float along until the winds came. Sometimes the winds would not come for days. Traveling was definitely not an easy thing to do.
  • Julius, the centurion, Paul, Luke, Aristarchus, possibly other friends of Paul and other prisoners sailed on a sailing ship which stopped in Sidon where Julius, the centurion, did a very nice deed for Paul. While they were in Sidon, Julius gave Paul his freedom to go to his friends and receive anything that he needed. Julius trusted that Paul would come back to the ship and Paul kept his word. 
  • After they left Sidon, they were beginning to have trouble with the weather. They had to go another way around the island of Cyprus that was sheltered because the winds were not cooperating. They sailed over the sea of Cilicia and docked in Myra, a city in Lycia. In Myra, the centurion found a ship that was going to Italy and he commanded all those under his control to board that ship to Rome. 
  • After they had sailed slowly for many days, they sailed to Cniidus, under the island of Crete, around Salmone, and then on to a place called The Fair Havens which was on the island of Crete. After many days and when the sailing was dangerous, Paul scolded the captain of the ship and the centurion, saying the journey was not going to be an easy trip. There would be danger and much damage, not only to the ship and the cargo, but to the lives on the ship. But the centurion listened to the captain and owner of the ship instead of Paul. Thinking that they might be safer sailing on to Phenice which was on the other side of Crete, they sailed on. The south wind blew softly, so they sailed close to Crete, but before they could get to Phenice, a mighty, violent wind took hold of their ship and they were swept along by the wind out in the sea.
  • As they made their way across the huge sea, they sailed on the sheltered side of a small island called Clauda where they did their best to fix some things that had happened to the ship. Becoming a huge storm, the ship was tossed here and there in the sea, so much so, that the men lightened the ship by throwing unnecessary items overboard into the sea. It did not do much good, so the next day, they threw some of the things that were more important, even things that they needed, overboard.. 
  • After many days of not seeing the sun nor stars, the men were giving up hope. But after a long while without any food, Paul stood up in the middle of the men and said, "Sirs, you should have listened to me and not sailed from Crete. But now, I encourage you to be happy because no one's life will be taken, but only the ship will be lost. An angel of God told me not to be afraid because I must be brought before Caesar in Rome and God will save all those that travel with me. So, be happy because I believe God and everything that the angel said. However, the bad news is that we will be thrown out on to an island."
  • On the fourteenth night about midnight, the men thought that they were close to land, so they took soundings which was the way they could measure the depth of the water. They were afraid that the ship would run into the rocks, so they let down four anchors which they thought would hold the ship and then they wished for the morning to come. Some of the men had let down the life boat and were about to sail away in the small boat, when Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless all the men stay on the ship, they cannot be saved." This time the centurion listened to Paul and cut the ropes that were tying the small boat to the ship and let it fall into the sea.
  • When it was almost daylight, Paul encouraged the men to eat some meat because it had been fourteen days that they eaten nothing. Paul said that no harm would come to them if they ate something for their health. After he had finished speaking, he took some of the bread, and while they were all standing there, gave thanks to God and ate it. The rest of the men began to be more cheerful and they ate, too. In the whole ship, Luke writes that there were 276 people.After they had eaten, they threw more things over into the sea, throwing even the wheat into the water.
  •  In the morning, they had no idea where they were, but they discovered a small creek with a shoreline which they intended to turn the ship into, if it was possible. They took up the anchors and headed for the shore, but they were actually in a place where two seas met and they ran the ship into a sandbar where they were stuck. The front of the ship could not be moved, but the back of the ship was broken up by the waves. They were shipwrecked!
  • It was a dangerous time to be a prisoner! The soldiers wanted to kill all the prisoners because they thought they might swim out to sea and escape, but the centurion wanted to save Paul, so he stopped the soldiers from killing anyone and told everyone to jump off the ship and swim to shore! So, everyone jumped off the ship. Some used boards to make it to the island of Melita, and some hung on to broken pieces of the ship.  All 276 people made it to land safely just like the angel of God had told Paul. God knows the future and is always in control! We will talk more about what happened on the island of Melita and what God has in store for Paul next time.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • We notice that Luke is with Paul, traveling with him to Rome. Read Acts 27:1. Luke is telling this journey in detail because he is there (Notice the pronoun "we.") Aristarchus was also with Paul and Luke. Aristarchus was one of Paul's traveling companions when he was in Ephesus and Demetrius stirred up the silversmiths, causing much confusion in the city. Aristarchus was one of the men who the Ephesians caught in the theater. (See Lesson - Demetrius And The Sin Of Idolatry - July 2015 on this blog.) We need to remember that these friends of Paul were also suffering right along side of Paul without food and a fear of the storm.
  • Fourteen nights in a violent storm and all 276 people were saved. Not one was lost! God was in control all the time! We need to remember that when times are hard for us that, if we are obedient to God and doing His Will, He will always take care of us. Read 1 Peter 5:7..We should pray to God and He will take care of us.
  • The captain, the centurion, and everyone on the ship could have saved themselves much trouble and could have saved the ship if they had listened to Paul in the beginning. The same thing applies to us today if we would listen to God. 
  • During hard times--times that come to all people, we all "wish for the morning to come" (Acts 27:29). We should never give up hope, but pray to God and He will listen. We only need to ride through the night when things look dark and bleak. The morning always come and things always look better and brighter. When we are doing right and trusting God, He will take care of us.
ACTIVITY:  Paul Sails To Rome
Materials needed:  White bond paper, 2" x 4" rectangle of scrap paper, scraps of brown and tan construction paper, a plastic straw, pencil, eraser, markers, crayons, scissors, glue, tape.

  1. Move Bible map of Paul's fourth missionary journey, showing entire Mediterranean Sea area close to the students, so all can see.
  2. Hand out white paper.
  3. Using a pencil, each student looks at the map on display, and as the Bible teacher attempts to draw the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea on the board, they gently draw the general area on their white paper. No professional artists needed. An illusion of the area is fine. (You can do this! It does not need to be perfect! Try this yourself a day or two before class begins. It is easier than it looks!) 
  4. Make sure that the islands of Cyprus, Crete Sicily, and Melita are drawn on the paper.
  5. Trace pencil lines with black marker.
  6. Label Caesarea, Sidon, Cyprus, Myra, Cnidus, Crete, Fair Havens, Phenice, Clauda, Melita, and Rome on the map.
  7. Draw a line connecting Caesarea, Sidon, the back side of Cyprus (closest to land), Myra, Cnidus, around to Fair Havens, around Caluda, and ending in Melita.
  8. At the top of the paper, write, "PAUL SAILS TO ROME" and "Acts 27, 28:1."
  9. Color.
  10. Trace "journey line" in red crayon.
  11. Carefully using scissors, cut on the red line that connects the cities and islands, going around the names that the student has written on the map. (Bible teacher may need to help a little with this step.)
  12. Set map aside.
  13. Ship:  Using scrap paper, cut a small one-inch semi-circle out of brown paper (this is the ship), a skinny brown pole (glued to the middle of the ship), and tan triangles (glued to the pole for masts). 
  14. Tape ship to straw.
  15. Carefully, insert ship into the line that has been cut through the Mediterranean Sea, showing the path from Caesarea to Melita. CAUTION: If not careful, the paper will tear.
  16. Turn white paper over to the back side.
  17. Tape two long edge and one short edge of 2" x 4" paper to the back side of the white paper to form a pocket for the ship and the straw when it is not in use.
  18. As a class, carefully and gently move the ship along the journey that Paul sailed, trying to get to Rome.
  19. Everyone places their ships in their pockets before leaving class.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Lesson - Paul Before Agrippa

VERSES:  Acts 25:13-26:32

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 26:28  "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Review the New Testament books from Matthew to Third John.

PRAYER:  Pray that we might have hearts that might be pliable or changeable to God's Ways.

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:  White board or chalk board:  Draw Paul and King Agrippa facing each other with words on each man's side. (See Activity below.)

  • Because Festus was the new governor, King Agrippa and his wife, Bernice, arrived in Caesarea to greet Festus and to congratulate him on his new position. King Agrippa and Bernice had been visiting many days when Paul's name came up in conversation. Festus explained how Paul had been left in prison by Felix when Felix had left office. He also talked about how the important Jews came to him and demanded that he pronounce judgment on Paul.  Festus had informed the Jews that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had the right to meet his accusers face to face, defending himself against the crimes which they accused him. Festus told King Agrippa that he was surprised that the Jews did not have strong crimes against Paul, and in Festus' judgment, the accusations were weak. Festus told King Agrippa that he had asked Paul if he would go to Jerusalem and be judged, but Paul had appealed to Caesar. Festus had said that he would honor Paul's request. All the information that Festus told King Agrippa peaked his interest. King Agrippa wanted to meet Paul and talk to him the next day.
  • When King Agrippa and Bernice came to meet with Festus the next day, it was not done quietly. There was a huge ceremony for the King and many important men of the city were there as Festus told them that the Jews wanted Paul to die, but he could not find anything wrong that Paul had done. Festus had a problem. Before he could send Paul to Rome as he had requested, Festus had to find something bad to write in a letter about Paul, so the people in Rome would know what terrible things he had done. Festus could find no wrong in Paul.  Festus hoped that as King Agrippa questioned Paul, he could find something that he could write in his letter.
  • As Paul was standing before them all, King Agrippa told Paul that he was free to speak for himself.Paul then stretched out his hand and began to speak. He said, "King Agrippa, I am happy because I am able to answer all of the things that the Jews have accused me of." Paul said that he knew that King Agrippa was an expert in the customs of the Jews and he asked that the king be patient as he listened to him.
  • Paul then began to tell King Agrippa about how when he was a youth, he was taught from the strictest part of the Jewish faith which was of the Pharisees. He told the king how he used to persecute Christians in the synagogues.. But, he said, one day he was traveling on the road to Damascus to persecute even more Christians, when a bright light shone around him and he heard a voice speaking to him. The voice was Jesus! Jesus was the one Paul was persecuting. Jesus told him to go preach to the Gentiles. Paul told King Agrippa that he obediently preached to everyone that they should repent and turn to God. Paul said that it was for that reason the Jews sought to kill him.
  • In the middle of Paul's speech to the King, Festus interrupted Paul saying that much education had made him crazy, but Paul said that he was not crazy, but he spoke words of truth and seriousness. Paul said the king knew these things were true because they were not done in a corner, but before all the people. Then, Paul asked King Agrippa, "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe!" Then King Agrippa said to Paul, "You are almost persuading me to become a Christian." Paul said that he prayed to God that everyone should be like him except for the chains he was wearing. 
  • When Paul had finished speaking, the king,  the governor, Bernice, and all those who were sitting with him stood up.When they were a little ways away, they talked between themselves and said, "This man has done nothing worthy of death or even prison." King Agrippa told Festus, "This man might have been set free, if he had not appealed to Caesar in Rome."
"Older Student" Tips:
  • There are only three times the word, "Christian," is used in the Bible. The first time it is used is in Acts 11:26 when the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. In this lesson, King Agrippa identified those who became followers of Christ as Christians in Acts 26:38. The third time is in 1 Peter 4:16 when Peter said if any man suffered as a Christian, he should not be ashamed, but glorify God.
  • In Acts 26, we learn more of what happened on the road to Damascus and Paul's conversion (see Lesson - The Conversion of Saul - May 2015 on this blog).
  • Paul was not afraid of his captors. He bravely, with confidence and boldness, stood before, not only his accusers, but before royalty and people of prominence and taught about Jesus. His confidence was found in the power of the Gospel. Today, we can have that same confidence.
  • "Almost" is not enough. If a person is traveling to a city and is "almost" there, he is not in that city. If someone is "almost" 10 years old, he is not yet ten years old. If a person has not obeyed the Gospel of Christ, he is not yet a Christian.  One must hear the Gospel, believe the Gospel, be willing to repent of their sins, to verbally confess Christ as Lord, and then be baptized into Christ for their remission of their sins. "Almost" is not enough. Just to believe is not enough. Just to believe and repent is not enough. Just to believe, repent, and confess is not enough, but when one has done all of these things, then they have become a Christian. (Romans 10:17; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Romans 10:9, 10; Romans 6:3, 4.)
ACTIVITY:  Paul And King Agrippa
Materials needed:  9" x 12" tan construction paper, crayons, marker.

  1. Hand out tan paper.
  2. Fold paper in half.
  3. Fold paper in half again.
  4. Unfold paper.
  5. Fold back one panel the opposite way it is folded. (see picture in step #7).
  6. Find middle line. 
  7. Trace middle line with black crayon.
  8. Bring one fold to middle line and crease.
  9. Bring other fold to middle line and crease.
  10. On one outside panel, draw Paul and write his name above him.
  11. On the other outside panel, draw King Agrippa and write his name above him. (When paper is completely folded, the two men should be facing each other.)
  12. Unfold paper.
  13. On the blank panel closest to Paul, write "King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets. I know that thou believest." and "Acts 26:27."
  14. On the blank panel closest to King Agrippa, write "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." and "Acts 26:28."
  15. Students may practice what each man said to the other, if time permits.
  16. Before leaving class, fold papers so that Paul and King Agrippa are facing each other.