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Joseph in Egypt
Games Workshop for older students (readers) 

Summary of Lesson Activities:
Play a game of Jeopardy to review the Joseph story. 

Scripture Reference:
Genesis 39–45, 46:5-7

Key Verse:
“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.” Romans 8:28 (CEV)

Workshop Objectives:

  • Identify Genesis as the first book in the Old Testament; locating the story in Genesis.
  • Retell the story in their own words – Describing how with God’s help, Joseph came to be the most powerful man in Egypt.
  • Know that God guides our steps – God can help us make the best of a bad situation. Any situation can be for good, even something intended for evil.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Prepare an opening and/or closing prayer in case you need one.
  • Gather the materials.
  • Set up the Jeopardy game board (refer to material at end of lesson) – write index cards for each of the 5 categories. Prepare index cards with answers written on them. There should be a total of 25 answer cards. (The tie-breaking answer/question is just in case you need it.) Each answer in a category has a point value- 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500. Write the point value on the other side of the card. Place index cards in their pockets on the game board – with the point values showing (so answers are not seen).

Supplies List:

  • Bibles
  • Bible Jeopardy game board (blue with clear plastic sleeves- purchased at a teacher store)
  • Index cards (31)
  • Jeopardy questions and answers (attached)
  • Paper and pencil to keep score
  • Paraphrase of the story (attached)
  • Slips of paper to hand out at end of class (with Bible reference on them)

Lesson Plan

Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Games Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

Say: We are learning (continuing to learn) about the story of Joseph and his brothers.
Last month we left the story with Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt. Before we read about what happens to Joseph, let’s begin with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for teaching us about Joseph – even though lots of bad things happened to Joseph, he kept his faith in you God. Help us to learn how we can have that faith too. Amen”

Pass around a basket to collect any offering.

[Note: The Shepherd will be quietly taking care of attendance, etc. while you are starting your lesson.]

Distribute Bibles if needed. Encourage everyone to bring Bibles every week. Have them find Genesis, chapter 39.

Say: This is a long story. It covers chapters 39 through 45, and part of chapter 46. I encourage all of you to read this story at home this week. At the end of class be sure to take home one of these papers (show them one of the papers to hand out). You can use it as a bookmark. It has the Genesis chapters so that you can remember which ones to read. For now, I’ll read you a condensed version of the story.

Read them the story from the attached paraphrase.
[Note: The exercise of finding the story is important – don’t skip it.]

Play the Game:
Say: We are going to play the game “Jeopardy” to help us learn the Joseph story. As we play the game we’ll have time to talk more about the story.
Form two teams . Supply each team with Bibles. Ask the Shepherd to keep score.

Make sure everyone understands the general idea of the game Jeopardy: you are given an answer and you try to come up with a question for that answer. Teams will work together to come up with the correct question.

Explain the procedure for the game:

  • The first player of Team A chooses a category (any category) and any point value.
  • Read the answer on the index card.
  • The player then confers with his/her teammates. When the team has consensus, they state the question. (Questions are supposed to relate to the Bible story. If stumped, they may use their Bibles.)
  • If correct, that team receives those points. If incorrect, the other team may try for those points by seeing if they can determine the correct question. (The workshop leader may use his/her own judgment as to whether a given question is close enough to the one written in this lesson.) Be sure to explain any answers and questions that need clarification while playing. Take all opportunities for teaching moments!
  • Play then passes to Team B to repeat steps 1-4. Continue alternating between teams until the board is empty (or you run out of time – be sure to leave a few minutes for closing discussion). Take turns so that every player on each team has a chance to choose a category.
  • The team with the most points wins. (But don’t put too much emphasis on winning.)

Important Notes for Game Playing:
Competitive games should be played as a team so that infrequent attendees or visitors are not made to feel pressured or uncomfortable. Make sure that each player has a chance to choose the category and point value, but make sure all players "confer" with their team before answering! This also will promote discussion among the students.

Ask: Do you think Joseph ever doubted God? Do you think he felt like God had forgotten about him? What about you – do you ever feel like that? What can you do if you have feelings of doubt?

Say: Romans 8:28 tells us, “We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.”
Ask: What do you think that means?

Say: This is a good Bible verse to remember by heart. It’s printed on the paper you can take home. God loves you and God is always at work for good in your life.

For story paraphrase see Resource list below.
Jeopardy questions:
Basic format – points:: answer::question

  • Category: VOCABULARY
    100:: Genesis:: What is the first book of the Bible? or Where is the story found?
    200::Egypt:: Where does the story take place? Or where is Joseph sold to slavery?
    300::Famine::Why was it necessary for Joseph’s brothers to come to Egypt for food? [Genesis 42:2]
    400:: Ishmaelites:: Who brought Joseph to Egypt? [Genesis 39:1]
    500::Canaan:: Where was Joseph originally from? [Genesis 42:7c]
  • Category: NUMBERS
    100::17::How old was Joseph when he was sold into slavery [Genesis 37:2]
    200:7:: How many cows (or ears of grain) in Pharaoh’s dream? or How many years did the famine last? [Genesis 41]
    300::10:: How many brothers went to Egypt to buy grain? [Genesis 42:3]
    400::30:: How old was Joseph when he was put in charge of Egypt? [Genesis 41:46]
    500::3:: How many items were in the cupbearers dream? or How many days Joseph predicted before the cupbearer would be released? [Genesis 40:12-13]
    100::Joseph::Who is the main character in the story?
    200 Potiphar:: Who bought Joseph from the slave traders? Or Who was the captain of the Pharaoh’s guard? [Genesis 39:1b]
    300: Pharaoh:: Who put Joseph in charge of Egypt? [Genesis 41:39-41]
    400::Jacob:: Who was Joseph’s father? [Genesis 37:2]
    500::Benjamin:: Who didn’t go on the first journey to Egypt? [Genesis 42:4]
  • Category: OTHER FACTS
    100::Seven years of plenty:: What did the 7 fat cows (and 7 full heads of grain) represent? [Genesis 41: 26; 29]
    200:: Collect food during good years and store up the grain::How did Joseph plan to prepare for the 7 years of Famine? [Genesis 41:35-36]
    300::The Cupbearer:: Who’s dream did Joseph interpret while in prison? [Genesis 40:1-13]
    400::Simeon::Which brother did Joseph put in jail (to ensure the other brothers would return with Benjamin)? [Genesis 42:24b]
    500::The Silver Cup:: What did Joseph hide in Benjamin’s grain to further test his brothers? [Genesis 44:2]
    100:: “When his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did…” [Genesis 39:3]:: How did Joseph come to be in charge of Potiphar’s household?
    200:: “The Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.” [Genesis 39:21]:: How was God with Joseph in prison?
    300:: “…but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” [Genesis 41:16]:: What did Joseph say when Pharaoh asked if he could interpret his dream?
    400:: “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you…I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt [Genesis 41:39, 41]:: How was it that Joseph came to be the most powerful man in Egypt?
    500:: “Do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” [Genesis 45:5]:: What did Joseph tell his brothers when he revealed who he was?

    Tie breaking question: “Let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers.” [Genesis 44:33] :: How did Joseph know that his brothers had changed?


  • Klusmeyer, Steve and Brenda. “Joseph, From Slave to Ruler.” October 2001. (Lesson is no longer at this site.)
  • Story paraphrase adapted from one written by Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church. “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” Faith Challenge Lesson Sets. 2003.
  • Scripture quoted in key Bible verse is taken from the Contemporary English Version © 1995 by American Bible Society. Used by permission.

  • Scripture in the Jeopardy game cards is taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

A lesson from First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI
Copyright 2003 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material 

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