Bible Sessions


Summary of Activity

Children and families will participate in three sessions where they work together to learn about the “Big Story” of the Bible. They will highlight verses in each book of the Bible. (For use with The Adventure Bible for Young Readers.)

We are trying something new this year for our annual "About the Bible" Rotation. Our 4-6 graders are attending three classes with their parents and we are basically doing an overview of the Bible with them -- highlighting verses in each book of the Bible. We made ribbon bookmarks with little charms that reflect the different categories of the Bible during our first session.
Three sessions is way too short... but at least it is a start. ... I got the idea for the Family Bible class from Faith Inkubators "Faith Stepping Stones." After these three classes, we're going to have a special blessing service as part of worship for the families that participated. Again, an idea from Faith Ink.

...we've got to help families reclaim their role as the primary faith educators of their kids!}

Theme:

Learning Bible skills will help us as we read and study the Bible.

Memory Verse: 

“Lord, show me your ways. Teach me how to follow you.”  Psalm 25:4

Objectives and Life Application:

  • Children will explore the concept of the Bible as the “inspired Word of God.”
  • Children will recognize that reading the Bible will help them know more about the character of God.
  • Children will recognize that reading the Bible will help them understand God’s plan for them and the world.
  • Children will recognize the Bible as a “library” or collection of smaller books that fit together to “tell the one big story.”
  • Children will learn about the structure of the Bible be able to properly categorize the books of the Bible.
  • Grades 4-6 will learn to locate scriptures.
  • Children will memorize Psalm 25:4.

 


Leader Preparation

  • Read the background information sheets and lesson materials.
  • Gather necessary supplies.
  • Prepare the ribbon bookmarks and sort the beads (see Advanced Preparation).
  • Make copies of Bookmark instructions.
  • Make copies of the Journey Through the Bible handout for families to take home.


Lesson Plan - Session 1 - Overview of the Old Testament

Time Guidelines:
9:30-9:40 -- Welcome & Introductions (10 minutes)
9:40-9:55 -- Bible Bookmarks (15 minutes)
9:55-10:25 -- Bible Study & Verses (30 minutes)
10:25-10:30 -- Journals (5 minutes)


Welcome and Introductions

Gather the children and their parents together around the tables. Welcome everyone and introduce yourself. Make sure you are wearing your name tag and that all participants are wearing nametags. Go around the circle and ask participants to tell their names and one of their earliest memories about the Bible.

Explain that for the next three weeks we will be going through the Bible together. We will look at the “Big Story” of the Bible and highlight a verse in every single book of the Bible.

Opening Prayer:
Pray something like this: “Dear God, Thank you for this day and for all the people who are here today. Thank you for giving us the Bible, your special Word, and for all the ways you use the Bible to help us know you better. AMEN”

Bible Bookmarks
Children will make a Bible bookmark using ribbons and Christian symbol beads for each category of literature in the Bible.

Supplies:

  • 1/4 inch satin ribbon in eight colors – 18 inch lengths of each color per child
  • Christian symbol beads with large enough hole to thread the beads – 8 different symbols (cross, dove, heart, music note or praying hands, angel, commandment tablets, Bible, ICHTHUS, etc.)
  • Optional: Fray Check (found in fabric stores, keeps ribbon from fraying)


Advanced Preparation:

  1. Sort the beads beforehand.
  2. Cut the ribbons into 18-inch lengths.
  3. Stack the ribbons on top of each other in order (white, yellow, dark blue, green, purple, red, lavender and orange).
  4. About 3 inches from one end, tie a knot to secure the ribbons together. This should leave a tail of about 1.5 inches.
  5. If desired, dab “Fray Check” on the ends of the ribbons.
  6. To save time, make up sets beforehand – 1 ribbon stack and 1 of each of the 8 Christian beads
  7. Copy the instructions for ribbon color and Christian beads – some of the ribbon colors have a liturgical meaning – this will extend the learning for many years!


Directions:

  1. Pass out a ribbon stack, baggie with the eight beads and the instructions to each family.
  2. Beginning with the white ribbon and the ten commandment bead, have parents help their children thread the designated Christian bead onto the end of the designated ribbon and tie a knot to secure.
  3. Make sure the bead will not pull off. Two knots might be necessary to secure the bead.
  4. Repeat with all 8 beads, following the guide below for ribbon color and bead placement.

Ribbon ColorBeadType of Bible Book
WhiteTen Commandments TabletsLaw
YellowBibleO.T. History
Dark BlueMusical InstrumentPoetry
GreenAngelProphets
PurpleCrossGospels
RedDoveN.T. History
LavenderFish - ICHTHUSLetters
OrangeHeartN.T. Prophecy


As families work together, ask them if the symbols remind them of any stories from the Bible.



Journey Through the Bible – Old Testament

(This idea adapted from Faith Stepping Stones, Faith Inkubators, www.faithink.com)

Supplies:

  • Bible Bookmarks that were just completed
  • Bible Marking highlighters
  • Bibles
  • White Board and markers
  • List of Old Testament scripture references – one for each family (to take home)


Introduction:

Ask the group to quickly brainstorm what they know about the Bible. Write down the answers as the children and families call them out. After 1-2 minutes, look at the list you have created. Explain that over the next three weeks, we will learn even more about the Bible.

Have the children look at the title of their Bible covers. What is the title? (Adventure Bible)
Why would the Bible have a name like that?
Next have them open their Bibles to the first page. The children should see their names written there. Their church gave them this Bible because we know how important the Bible is in helping all of us grow in our faith.

Review/Introduce these ideas:

  • The Bible is like a big library filled with 66 different books.
  • There are many kinds of books in the Bible, just like there are many different kinds of books in a library.
  • Even though the Bible contains 66 different books, it really tells “One Big Story” of God’s plan for the world.
  • The Bible is divided into two main parts - the Old Testament and the New Testament. (testament means agreement -- see Background information) The Old Testament tells stories about Bible people from very early time -- before Jesus was born. The New Testament tells stories about after Jesus was born.
  • Turn to the Contents page and have the children note the Old Testament and the New Testament.
  • Explain that their Bibles also have some fun and interesting information they can read. (Words to Treasure, Life in Bible Times, Let’s Live It, Did you Know?, and People in Bible Times)
  • Their Bibles also have an Introduction page before each book of the Bible. Have them turn to the Introduction page for Genesis. A quick glance at the Introduction page can tell you a lot about the book of the Bible that follows.
  • Have children place the white ribbon with the ten commandment tablets here. The first five books of the Bible are called books of LAW.
  • Turn the page and have families locate Genesis 1:1. Remind the children that the large (orange) numbers are chapter numbers and the smaller numbers are verse numbers with a colon in between the chapters and the verse. We say it “Genesis one one.”


Directions:

  1. Pass out the Bible marking highlighters and the Bible handout (see below).
  2. Make sure that every parent/child group has a Bible.
  3. Guide the participants through the process of locating each book and highlighting the designated scripture passage from each book. Read or paraphrase the information included for each book.
  4. Move quickly, but do not rush the participants. If time runs out before completing all 39 Old Testament books, instruct the families to complete the list at home before the next session.


Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. For 400 years there was silence… We’ll see what happens after that next week!

NOTE: If there is not time to finish all the Old Testament verses, send a copy of the scripture references home with the children and their parents. Instruct them to read through and highlight the verses in their Bibles before the next session.

Closing Prayer: Gather the children and parents together in a circle. Remind them to bring their Bibles next week! Encourage them to spend 5-10 minutes each evening reviewing some of the verses that were highlighted during class. Ask for prayer requests and see if a child would like to close with prayer.


Journey Through the Bible Handout – Old Testament
Keep these sheets as a reference for you and your child. If you did not finish highlighting all the Old Testament verses in class, do this with your child before next week’s session. Next week we’ll move on to the New Testament!

  • Genesis
    The book of Genesis is the first book of the Bible. Genesis means “beginnings” and this book tells about the very beginning of the world.

    Highlight Genesis 1:1

    Read the Did you Know note: What does create mean? Genesis tells about how God created the world and all that is in the world, including animals, plants and people. It tells some of the most ancient stories such as Adam and Eve and the first sin. This is an important story because it is the reason the rest of the Bible is written – the perfect world God created got messed up when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God! Genesis also tells the story of Noah and the ark. In Genesis we read about how God called Abraham and promised to give he and his wife Sarah many descendants who would bless the whole world. We also can read about Abraham and Sarah’s son Isaac, his sons Jacob and Esau and then the story of Jacob’s family and especially his son, Joseph. Genesis ends with Joseph’s family moving to Egypt to escape a famine.

  • Exodus
    This book tells the amazing and dramatic story of how God used Moses to deliver the Hebrews from slavery, bring them safely through the Red Sea and teach them to follow God and worship. The word Exodus means “going out” or exit – the people exited Egypt. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. The Ten Commandments are God’s laws. Following these laws helps us show our love to God and to other people.

    Highlight Exodus 20:1-19 “The Ten Commandments”

    Read the Let’s Live It note: Ten Commandments.

  • Leviticus
    In this book, God continues to give Moses instructions about special holidays, holy living and worship. If we truly love God, our lives will show it. People will be able to tell by the way we act. The more we grow in our faith, the more like Jesus we become. This is how we become more holy.

    Highlight Leviticus 19:2

  • Numbers
    The Hebrew people were afraid to enter the Promised Land. And so, because they didn’t trust God, they ended up wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.

    Highlight Numbers 6:24-26

  • Deuteronomy
    After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the Hebrews are about to enter the Promised Land. Moses is very old and is about to die. He reminds the people of the amazing and wonderful things God has done for them. Moses dies at the end of this book.

    Highlight Deuteronomy 6:4-9

    This verse is an important one for families. We see that God wants parents to pass on the faith to their children. This verse is called the SHEMA by Jewish people. This scripture is often put in a mezuzah and attached to the doorframe of their houses. Jesus quoted this scripture in the New Testament.
    Do you remember what he called this? (the greatest commandment)

  • Joshua
    We’re now through the first five books of the Old Testament. What are the first five books of the Old Testament called? (the Law – remember Moses and the Ten Commandments)

    The next category of literature in the Old Testament is History. The first book of history in the Old Testament is Joshua. Let’s find the book of Joshua now. Place the yellow ribbon with the Bible bead on it here.

    In the book of Joshua, we see the Hebrew people entering the Promised Land or the land of Israel as we know it today. Moses has died and Joshua is their new leader. Joshua is a strong and faithful leader. Read the People in Bible Time note: Joshua. Joshua divided the land between the twelve different tribes or groups of Hebrews.

    Highlight Joshua 24:15

    Many times the Israelites forgot about God and began to worship false gods and idols. Joshua is reminding them (and us) to be faithful and to serve God alone!

  • Judges
    After Moses and Joshua died, the leaders of the people were called judges. This book is full of stories of the Israelites turning away from God and worshiping idols and then repenting and turning back toward God. No matter how many times the people turn away, God is always willing to forgive the people when they return.

    Highlight Judges 6:8-10

  • Ruth
    The book of Ruth is a wonderful love story. One of the important things we learn from this book is that Ruth and Boaz are the great-grandparents of King David. King David is in Jesus’ family line. This book shows us that God loves and saves his people just like Boaz loved and helped Ruth.

    Highlight Ruth 1:16

  • I and II Samuel
    The people of Israel were not satisfied with their Judges as leaders. They wanted a king so they could be like everyone else. These two books tell about Israel’s first King, Saul. Saul at first was a good king, but later he turned away from God. In these books we also hear about David, the son of Jesse. We read about how God chose David to be King of Israel, even though he was the youngest son and just a shepherd boy. We also read about the famous fight between David and Goliath here.

    Highlight I Samuel 16:7

  • I and II Kings
    After King David died, his son Solomon became King of Israel. Solomon built the fantastic Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon is also known for being very wise. Solomon prayed for God to give him wisdom as he led God’s people.

    Highlight I King 3:7-9

  • I Chronicles
    The book of Chronicles goes back and tells about what happened during the time of the Judges and the beginning of the kingdom. (Note that the Bible does not always go in chronological order – this can be confusing to children who expect the story to unfold in order from beginning to end) It also describes how David became King and how he worked to make Israel a great nation.

    Highlight I Chronicles 17:26

  • II Chronicles
    The book of II Chronicles continues the stories of the kings. In this book, the nation of Israel is split into two parts – the northern part, called Israel, and the southern part, called Judah. The people continue to sin and turn away from God. First the nation of Israel falls – and all the Israelites are taken to live in foreign lands (this is called exile). Later the southern kingdom falls too.

    Highlight II Chronicles 20:15

    This verse reminded King Jehoshaphat that God is in charge! God will take care of us if we trust in him.

  • Ezra
    The Israelites were far from their homes. In this book, we see that God keeps his promise to bring his people back. Some of the people return to Judah. They rebuild the Temple.

    Highlight Ezra 3:11

  • Nehemiah
    After Ezra returned to Jerusalem, a man named Nehemiah also returned. He helped to rebuild the city walls.

    Highlight Nehemiah 9:16-17

  • Esther
    The book of Esther shows how God works through difficult circumstances to take care of his people. God often uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things! In this book, a young and very brave Jewish girl saves her people. This story takes place while the Israelites are still away in exile in Persia.

    Highlight Esther 4:14

  • Job
    Job is the first book of a new category of Old Testament literature – Poetry (sometimes also called Wisdom Literature). Place the dark blue ribbon with the music bead on it here.

    In this book we read about terrible things that happened to a man named Job. This book helps us understand that bad things do sometimes happen to good people. We may not understand why God lets these things happen, but we know that no matter what happens, God loves us and wants what is best for us. God wants us to trust him. God is so much greater than we are. We can only sometimes get a glimpse of what God knows! But God knows the whole plan!

    Highlight Job 42:1-3

  • Psalms
    Psalms is about in the middle of your Bible. David wrote many of the psalms. Psalms are poems that were often sung to worship, praise or call out to God. There are different types of Psalms. (see Introduction page) Hebrew poetry is different than our poetry – in Hebrew poetry, thoughts are repeated instead of sounds.

    There are LOTS of Psalms we can highlight!

    Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd…”

    One is our memory verse for this rotation:
    Psalm 25:4 “Lord, show me your ways. Teach me how to follow you.”

    Psalm 119:105

  • Proverbs
    The book of Proverbs is a book of short sayings that help us learn to make wise choices and live a good life. Solomon is believed to have written many of the proverbs. (Remember, he was known for his wisdom!)

    Highlight Proverbs 3:5-6

  • Ecclesiastes
    Most people believe that Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes also. The main idea in this book is that it is impossible to have a happy life without God. God should be the most important thing in our lives! He should be number one!

    Highlight Ecclesiastes 3:1

  • Song of Songs (Song of Solomon)
    Solomon probably wrote this book also. This book describes the love that God has for his people. It compares it to the love a husband and wife have for each other.

    Highlight Song of Songs 8:6

  • Isaiah
    Isaiah is the first of the next category of literature in the Old Testament – the Prophets. Place the green ribbon with the angel bead here. Prophets were God’s messengers.
    Read the Let’s Live it Note : Called by God (page 805).

    Highlight Isaiah 9:6

    Read the Did you Know note: Does the Old Testament talk about Jesus?
    We often read from the book of Isaiah at Christmas time because these scriptures tell us about the Messiah who will come – Jesus.

  • Jeremiah
    Jeremiah was a prophet who lived during the time of the divided kingdom. Jeremiah tried to warn the people not to turn away from God, but they didn’t listen. Jeremiah was alive when the city of Jerusalem was destroyed and the people were all taken away to foreign lands.

    Highlight Jeremiah 29:11-13

  • Lamentations
    Read the Did You Know? What are lamentations? Note on page 954.

    Highlight Lamentations 3:23

  • Ezekiel
    Ezekiel wrote this book while in captivity in Babylon. He has many strange visions and dreams. Ezekiel wants the people to return to worship God, alone. Then just like dry, dead bones, the people will come to life again. God will restore God’s people!

    Highlight Ezekiel 34: 23-24
  • Daniel
    Daniel was a prophet living in Persia during the exile. This book tells about some of Daniel’s adventures. Even though he was living in a foreign land, Daniel remained true and faithful to God. In this book, we see that even when things seem very hard, God is still in charge!

    Highlight Daniel 3:16-18

    This is one of the most well-known stories in the Old Testament. These three men were thrown into a blazing hot furnace because they refused to bow down to a fake god. Amazingly, they were not harmed – in fact, when they came out of the furnace, they didn’t even smell like smoke! Now THAT’S a powerful God!

  • Hosea
    The prophet Hosea warns the people to turn away from their sin and back toward God. Even though the people were not faithful, God is always faithful! God will never stop loving us!

    Highlight Hosea 14:9

  • Joel
    The prophet Joel encouraged people to turn away from their sin and back toward God, too. (do you see that the main message of the prophets was “repent” and turn back toward God?)

    Highlight Joel 2:13

  • Amos
    Amos was a shepherd prophet. He was especially concerned with how poor people were treated by the rich. God wants all people to be treated fairly.

    Highlight Amos 5:24

  • Obadiah
    The prophet Obadiah tells us that God is faithful. God keeps his promises. Obadiah tells the nations that have destroyed his people that God will judge them for their actions. This verse can help us understand that God is the one who should judge others. When we are treated unfairly, remember that eventually, God will make things right!

    Highlight Obadiah 1:15

  • Jonah
    Jonah was a reluctant prophet who tried to run away from God’s call. The story of Jonah being swallowed by the giant fish is one of the best-known stories in the Bible. Jonah learns about God’s forgiving nature in this book. God loves everyone! He wants everyone to be saved!

    Highlight Jonah 4:2

  • Micah
    Like the prophet Amos, Micah was concerned about the poor. Micah teaches us that when we truly love God, our love will show in the way we treat others.

    Highlight Micah 6:8

  • Nahum
    Nahum is a prophet who tells about the destruction of Ninevah. This is the same town where Jonah preached. But now they have turned away from God again and the city is destroyed.

    Highlight Nahum 1:7

  • Habakkuk
    The prophet Habakkuk was terribly unhappy at the sins of the people of Israel and their enemies. But he understood that God is in control and eventually those who do evil things will be punished. Even through hard times we should love and trust God.

    Highlight Habakkuk 3:17-18

  • Zephaniah
    The prophet Zephaniah warns the people of Judah that they must not be like other nations. They must worship God alone. They should trust God when they are worried or anxious.

    Highlight Zephaniah 3:17

  • Haggai
    The prophet Haggai lived during the time the Temple was being rebuilt. He urged the people to continue their work to rebuild it and not give up.

    Highlight Haggai 2:8-9

  • Zechariah
    The prophet Zechariah also urges the people to finish rebuilding the Temple. Zechariah also tells that someday God will take away the people’s sins. God will come to earth and rule as our king!

    Highlight Zechariah 9:9
    (Does this sound like a story you know from the New Testament? Who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey?)

  • Malachi
    After the Israelites returned to Israel from exile in Babylon, many of them no longer followed God. The prophet Malachi reminds us that we should always put God first in our lives. God deserves our very best.

    Highlight Malachi 3:17

    Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. For 400 years there was silence… We’ll see what happens after that next week!!

    ---------------
    Resources:
  • The Adventure Bible for Young Readers. Zondervan
  • Blankenbaker, Frances. What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers, Gospel Light, 1986.

 Copyright 2004. Permission granted to use for non-commercial, local church use.

Written by Jaymie Derden from:
State Street United Methodist Church, Bristol, VA

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Printed from https://www.rotation.org

Original Post

Family Bible Sessions: Session Two - New Testament: Gospels

Welcome and Introductions:
Welcome parents and children to Family Bible Session. Have participants introduce themselves by saying their name and one thing they learned last week (if they were here) or one way they used the guide they received as a family. Open with prayer.

Explain that this is the second week of our Family Bible Session. Last week we quickly did an overview of the Old Testament, highlighting a verse in each book of the Old Testament. This week we will move on to the New Testament and talk about some stories that may be a bit more familiar for most of us. Before we head to the New Testament, let’s review some of the Old Testament stories we talked about last week.

Story Time Line
Families will work as teams to connect the correct picture on our painted timeline with the correct title of the story or event.

Supplies:

  • List of story/character clues
  • Tape
  • Painted wall timeline


Advanced Preparations:

  • Copy the list of story/character clues and cut apart.


Directions:

  1. Divide families into groups of 4-5 people.
  2. Shuffle the story clues and divide up evenly between the groups.
  3. Have families try to find the correct story picture on the timeline that corresponds to the story clue they have.
  4. Tape the clue underneath the picture.


After all the clues are arranged, take the group through the Old Testament part of the timeline. Did they recognize many of these stories? Explain that one of the important things to understand about the Bible is that even though it is 66 different books, with hundreds of stories, it really tells one BIG STORY of God’s plan for the world!

Have families return to Bible Quest for the New Testament lesson.

Note: If families are present who did not make a bookmark, pass out the supplies and have them make the bookmark this week at home. Pass out handouts from last week also.

Refer to the attached handout and have participants move through the Gospels, highlighting verses as indicated.

If families do not have time to finish highlighting their verses, give a copy of the handout to each family. Encourage them to highlight the verses during the week.

Closing: Gather families together in a circle. Explain that next week we will conclude our Family Bible Study with an overview of the remainder of the New Testament books. On September 26, we invite all families who participated to join us in our Unity Service for a special blessing service.

Prayer: Have participants say a brief prayer of thanksgiving to God for showing them something new about Jesus during today’s session.

Story Clues
(Copy and cut apart. Mix up the clues. Give several clues to each group)

  • We were the first people. God gave us a beautiful garden to live in, but we disobeyed and committed the first sin. We were sent out of the garden. Since that time, people have been separated from God because of sin. But God promised that one of our descendants would save the world from sin. Who are we?
  • The world became more and more wicked. I was the only faithful person left in the world. God asked me to build a big boat and to bring animals onto it. Then it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Every living thing on the earth died except for those on the ark. Who am I?
  • God told me that he would make me the father of a great nation, even though my wife Sarah was very old… He kept his promise and we had a baby boy named Isaac. His name means laughter – Sarah laughed because it was so amazing for an old woman and man to have a baby. I am sometimes called the Father of the Jewish people because I was faithful and trusted God. Who am I?
  • I am one of Isaac’s sons. I actually had a twin brother named Esau, but I tricked him out of his birthright. I had 12 sons who were the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel. One of them, named Joseph was my favorite. My other sons were jealous of him so they sold him as a slave. He was taken away to Egypt. Who am I?
  • I am Jacob’s son. My father once gave me a special coat because I was his favorite! My brothers hated me because my father gave me special treatment and I acted superior to them. I learned a lot about depending on God when I was in Egypt. God helped me explain dreams and eventually I became the second in command in all of Egypt. Who am I?
  • I was born to a Hebrew woman living in Egypt. My mother hid me in a basket in the Nile River to keep the Egyptian soldiers from killing me. I was later found by the Pharaoh’s daughter and raised in the Pharaoh’s palace. Later God appeared to me in a burning bush and told me to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt and to the land he would show us. Who am I?
  • God did amazing miracles so that my people could be set free. He sent ten plagues onto Egypt and eventually the Pharaoh let us leave. But then Pharaoh changed his mind and followed us. God opened up the Red Sea and let us pass through safely. But when the Egyptians followed, the sea crashed in on them and they all drowned. Who am I?
  • God led us in the wilderness by a cloud of smoke during the day and a pillar of fire at night. Finally God led us up a mountain top where he gave me some special rules carved on stone tablets. What are these called?
  • I was married to a wonderful man who died. My mother-in-law, Naomi, lost her husband, too. She wanted to return to her home in Bethlehem. I didn’t want her to go alone, so I insisted on going with her. Later I married a wonderful man named Boaz and we had a son together. Who am I?
  • I was the youngest son of Jesse. I took care of my father’s sheep. One day my father asked me to take food to my brothers in the Army. I saw a giant named Goliath who was insulting us and our God. I killed the giant with my sling and a stone. Later God made me King of Israel. Who am I?
  • I was a prophet who was very close to God. I saw amazing visions of angels worshiping God. God told me that there would be a baby born who would save his people one day. His name would be Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Immanuel, Everlasting Father. Who am I?
  • I was a Jew who was brought to Babylon. I refused to bow down to the King’s statue or to obey their laws because they went against God’s laws. I was thrown into a cave with hungry lions. God protected me, shutting the mouths of the lions so that I was not hurt. Who am I?
  • I was a young Jewish girl living in Persia. I married the King of Persia and became his Queen. I saved my people when the evil Haman tried to have all the Jews killed. Who am I?


Journey through the Bible Handout - New Testament Gospels
Keep these sheets as a reference for you and your child. If you did not finish highlighting all the Gospel verses in class, do this with your child before next week’s session. Next week we’ll move on to the rest of the New Testament!

Between the Testaments…
The last books of the Old Testament tell about the last 100 years of Old Testament history. The Jewish captives were allowed to return to Israel and to rebuild the Temple and the walls of Jerusalem. After Malachi, , the prophets were silent for 400 years. Despite these “silent years” a lot was going on! During these 400 years, Palestine was conquered by a series of different empires. First Alexander the Great established the Greek Empire. This brought the Greek language and Greek customs to the area. After Alexander the Great, Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia conquered Palestine. Sometimes the Israelites were allowed to worship as they liked, but often they were forced to comply with foreign customs. One particular leader, the Syrian Antiochus, was especially brutal. He tried to get rid of all copies of the Hebrew scriptures, he made the Jews worship the Greek god, Zeus, he set up a statue of Zeus in the Temple and he sacrificed a pig in the Temple. As a result of these atrocities, the Jewish people revolted. The Maccabees led the revolt. The story of their revolt and how they kept the menorah burning for eight days on only one day’s supply of oil is the basis for the Jewish festival Hanukkah. (During our Marketplace VBS we played dreidl and remembered this story). The Jewish independence did not last long. Before long, the Romans conquered Palestine much of the world in the great Roman Empire. The Romans’ rule was often harsh and they were hated by the Jews.

These foreign occupations may have seemed tragic for the Jewish people, but even during these times God was at work… During the Greek occupation, the Greek language became the common language throughout the Empire. The Romans established a network of roads making travel easier. The Pax Romana (Roman Peace) also allowed safe travel throughout the Roman Empire. And so the stage was set for the coming of the Messiah. The Greek and Roman occupations created an environment where the good news of Jesus could spread throughout the world!

The stage was set! After 400 years of silence from the prophets, God is about to speak in a mighty way – by becoming human, like us, and coming to earth as a small baby born in Bethlehem.

The New Testament opens with this event…

The first four books of the New Testament are called the Gospels. Gospel means “good news.” The Gospels tell the good news that Jesus came to be our Savior and to restore our relationship to God. Jesus is truly the Messiah, the fulfillment of God’s promises from the Old Testament.

The four Gospels tell about Jesus. There are many similarities in the Gospels, but also some differences. In the Gospel of Matthew, we see Christ presented as Messiah. In Mark we see Jesus as servant. In Luke we see Jesus as man, though also God. In John we see Jesus as God, though also man. By reading all four of the Gospel accounts we get a more complete picture of who Jesus is.

  • Gospel of Matthew
    The Old Testament ends with the Jewish people awaiting their Messiah, the “anointed one” from God. Jesus is that King. Matthew writes to a primarily Jewish audience. He includes more Old Testament references than any other Gospel. Matthew uses quotes from the Old Testament to show how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies. Matthew also traces Jesus’ lineage back to Abraham, who is considered to be the Father of the Jews.

    Highlight Matthew 1:23.

    Very little is recorded about Jesus’ childhood and early life. Matthew is the only Gospel to record the visit of the Wise Men. Matthew also describes how Joseph and Mary flee to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod.

    Highlight Matthew 3:1-3

    Jesus came to be baptized by John. John felt unworthy to baptize Jesus, but Jesus said…

    Highlight Matthew 3:15

    After Jesus was baptized, he went straight to the desert where he was tempted for 40 days and 40 nights. Jesus quoted Old Testament scripture each time he was tempted. Knowledge of scripture can help us in times of temptation and trouble. Later Jesus chose his disciples and began to teach.

    Some of the most important teachings in Matthew are found in Matthew 5. This is called the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes. These were very radical messages for the people of the time, and for us today as well. The Jews believed that the Messiah was going to be a great political and military leader who would overthrow the Roman rulers. But, Jesus came to die for our sins, not to beat up our enemies. His kingdom is one of the heart – at least this time around! (We are going to study the Beatitudes next month) Here’s a preview of what’s to come…

    Matthew 5:1-11
    Highlight the heading in your Bibles, “Jesus Gives Blessings.”

    Highlight Matthew 6:9-15.
    Here Jesus teaches us about prayer. What is this famous prayer called? (Lord’s Prayer) Highlight the first line of the prayer so you can easily find it in your Bible later.

    Jesus performed many miracles and taught many people throughout the Gospel of Matthew.

    Jesus often knocked heads with the religious leaders of the day. Once Jesus and his disciples were criticized for picking some grain to eat from a field on the Sabbath day. The Pharisees told them it was against the law to do this. Many times Jesus was criticized for healing the sick on the Sabbath day. Jesus responded by reminding them of what was really important – not rules for the sake of rules, but compassion, mercy and kindness.

    Highlight Matthew 12:7-8

    After about 3 years of ministry, Jesus began to prepare for his death. On the day we now call Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Matthew quotes the prophet Zechariah:

    Highlight Matthew 21:5

    In the final chapters of Matthew, Jesus celebrates the Last Supper with his disciples, is taken before the Sanhedrin (the Jewish ruling court) and Pilate (the Roman governor) for trial. He is sentenced to death by crucifixion, nailed to a cross and dies. Jesus’ body is buried in the tomb of a rich Pharisee who had become a follower of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea. Nicodemus also helped with Jesus’ burial. The tomb was secured with a Roman seal and guards were put in place. The penalty for a broken seal or deserting one’s post was instant death! Three days later, the women went to the tomb and found the soldiers gone and the tomb open and empty.

    Highlight Matthew 28:5-6

    After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared to the disciples and to many people for several weeks. Before he ascended into heaven, he gave his disciple some important final instructions. We call this the Great Commission.

    Highlight Matthew 28:19-20

  • Gospel of Mark
    Mark is the next gospel. Mark knew about Jesus because the disciples met at his mother’s house. He was Barnabas’ cousin and traveled with Paul. He was also a good friend of Peter’s. While Matthew’s primary audience was Jewish, Mark primarily wrote to a Roman Gentile (non-Jewish) audience. Since many of these people did not understand Jewish customs, sometimes Mark explained them.

    Highlight Mark 2:23-27
    This is the same scripture we read about in Matthew. Here rather than quoting scripture, Mark describes a story about David and his soldiers eating the Holy Bread.

    Here is another example highlighting the difference between Matthew and Mark’s writing. Mark describes the meaning of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread. Gentiles might not be familiar with these customs, while Matthew’s Jewish readers certainly wouldn’t need an explanation.

    Highlight Mark 14:12

    Mark portrays Jesus as a servant leader. He focuses on Jesus’ actions rather than fulfilled prophecies. The key verse for Mark is 10:45.

    Highlight Mark 10:45

    Mark tells of many miracles and healings performed by Jesus. The last half of Mark’s gospel describes the last week of Jesus’ life.

  • Gospel of Luke
    Luke was a doctor who traveled often with Paul. He was not Jewish. Luke also wrote the book of Acts. Luke is a renowned historian, known for his attention to detail and accuracy. The focus of Luke’s gospel is Jesus as the Son of Man. Perhaps because Luke was a Gentile, he also focuses on Jesus as the Savior of the world, not just the Savior of the Jews. Luke adds additional details that are not found in the other three gospels.

    Luke opens with the coming of the birth of John the Baptist as an angel visits Zechariah in the Temple.
    John the Baptist has an important purpose to fulfill. What is that purpose?

    Highlight Luke 1:17

    The descriptions from Luke’s gospel are probably the most well-known accounts of Jesus’ birth. The angel Gabriel appears to Mary and announces that she will give birth to a son.

    Highlight Luke 1:32-33

    In chapter two of Luke we read of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. In chapter 3, we read a different genealogy of Jesus outlining Jesus’ ancestry all the way back to Adam. Matthew’s gospel traces Jesus back to Abraham, the Father of the Jewish people. Luke demonstrates here that Jesus has come to be the Savior to all, not just the Jews.

    A theme throughout Luke’s gospel is that Jesus came to save the lost. In the fifteenth chapter of Luke we read of three parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. Jesus also sought out those who were shunned and persecuted by others.

    Highlight Luke 19:10

    Jesus referred to himself often as the Son of Man. By calling himself this, he helps us understand that he is fully human, while also being fully God.

    Luke also discusses the last week of Jesus’ life, including his trial, death and resurrection. Luke includes a story that happened after Jesus’ death while his disciples were walking along the road to Emmaus. Jesus appears and begins to walk along with the two followers. They do not recognize him and walk along talking with him. Jesus explained many things to them as they walked along.

    Highlight Luke 24:27

    Wow! Can you imagine what that must have been like? How would you like to have Jesus explain and answer all your questions! What question might you ask Jesus?

  • Gospel of John
    The Gospel of John was written by the disciple John, who was called the “disciple Jesus loved.” This Gospel differs from the other three gospels, which are called the synoptic gospels. (Synoptic means “seen alongside.”) The first three gospels are more similar in style; they describe the things Jesus did, his actions, miracles, and teachings. John focuses more on what all these things mean! The writing is much more personal. John portrays Jesus as the Son of God – he writes so that others will believe in Jesus.

    Highlight John 1:1

    Read the Did you Know note: What does the Word mean?

    John uses “Word” as a special name for Jesus. This verse tells us that Jesus has been alive with God forever. The Bible tells us that Jesus is God.

    In the Gospel of John, seven people say that Jesus is the Son of God. Find these scriptures and highlight them:

    John the Baptist (John 1:34)
    Nathanael (John 1:49)
    Peter (John 6:69)
    Martha (John 11:27)
    Thomas (John 20:28)
    John (John 20:31)
    Jesus (John 10:36)

    John helps people understand who Jesus is. When John the Baptist sees Jesus coming, he recognizes him He calls Jesus the Lamb of God. This shows that John recognized that Jesus was going to pay the sacrifice for our sins, just as the Jewish people killed lambs to pay for their sins in the past.

    Highlight John 1:29

    One of the best known Bible verses in the whole Bible is John 3:16. Jesus is teaching Nicodemus, a Pharisee who has come to see Jesus at night. Jesus tells him that he must be born again – not physically, but through the Spirit.

    Highlight John 3:16

    John records the “I AM” statements of Jesus. These are especially noteworthy because in the Old Testament, God tells Moses his name is I AM. Jesus uses these statements to explain about himself to his disciples.

    Highlight John 10:14-15

    One of the longest prayers recorded in the Bible is found in John 17. Here Jesus prays for his disciples and for all believers on the night before his death. What does Jesus pray for us?

    Highlight John 17:21

    This scripture sums up the reason John wrote this gospel:

    Highlight John 20:31

    John’s last words are a fitting end to the four gospels:

    Highlight John 21:25

 


Resources:

  • The Adventure Bible for Young Readers. Zondervan
  • Blankenbaker, Frances. What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers, Gospel Light, 1986.

Family Bible Sessions: Session Three - New Testament Letters and Revelation

Welcome and Introductions:
Welcome parents and children to Family Bible Session. Have participants introduce themselves by saying their name and their earliest memory of the Bible.

Explain that this is the third week of our Family Bible Session. During the first week we quickly did an overview of the Old Testament, highlighting a verse in each book of the Old Testament. Last week we moved on to the New Testament reviewed the four gospels and highlighted key verses about Jesus’ life. This week we will finish the New Testament, talking about what happened after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven.

Bible Book Covers
Children made Bible covers in our art workshop. Have families quickly work together to make a Bible cover for each child’s Bible. As families arrive, set them to work. Allow no more than 15-20 minutes for this activity. Set the Bible covers aside to dry during the rest of the lesson.

Supplies:

  • Fabric
  • Fabric paints or acrylic paints and fabric medium
  • Christian symbol stamps and letter stamps
  • Felt cut-outs (crosses, hearts, and other Christian symbols)
  • Paper plates
  • Water for clean up
  • Paper towels
  • Cardboard to prevent paint bleed-through


Advanced Preparations:

  • Mix the paint and put several colors out on paper plates
  • Place the stamps and water nearby
  • Insert the cardboard into the Bible covers on the correct side of the covers


Directions:

  1. As families arrive, direct them to the paint area you have prepared.
  2. Have children put on paint smocks.
  3. Give each child a blank Bible cover.
  4. Allow them to decorate the Bible covers using the supplies you have set out.
  5. Set the Bible covers aside to dry.


Have families return to the study tables for the New Testament lesson.

Note: If families are present who did not make a bookmark, pass out the supplies and have them make the bookmark this week at home. Pass out handouts from earlier weeks also. Distribute highlighters to new families.

Pass out a copy of the attached handout and have participants highlight the verses in bold print. Watch the time closely. Be sure to leave about 5 minutes for the Family Pledge activity below. If time runs out, skip some of the letters and move to Revelation.

Family Pledge
Families will write a pledge to be used during the final week’s blessing service.

Supplies:

  • White board and markers


Directions:

  1. Ask families to reflect on the past three weeks’ activities.
  2. What is something new they have learned?
  3. What does God want families to do with God’s Word?
  4. What have you as families done differently during these past three weeks?
  5. What will you do as a result of these sessions?


Explain that next week, families who participated will be invited to come to the altar for a special blessing during our Unity Service.

Say: We recognize how important your role is as parents to open the scriptures with your children. We want to encourage you and help you to do this regularly. We want you to remember the promise you made at your children’s baptism: to nurture your children’s faith, to teach them and guide them to profess their faith openly and to lead a Christian life. Spending time in God’s Word is part of this promise you made.

Create the Pledge:

  1. Have families brainstorm a short statement of how they will pledge to use the Bible in their families to help nurture their children’s faith.
  2. Write down the pledge.
  3. Make a copy of it to use in the Blessing Service.


Closing: Gather families together in a circle. Explain that next week all families who participated in this Family Bible Sessions, are invited to come forward at our Unity Service for a special blessing. Families should sit in front pews.

Prayer: Circle up. Have each participant say a brief prayer of thanksgiving to God for showing them something new about God’s Word during these sessions.


Journey through the Bible Handout - New Testament Letters and Revelation
Keep these sheets as a reference for you and your child. If you did not finish highlighting all the verses in class, do this with your child. Spend time with your child reviewing the highlighted verses from this study. Read the Bible Study notes that correspond to the verses. Discuss what the verses mean to you personally. Next week join us for a special blessing service in the sanctuary at 10:00 a.m.

Acts – Acts of the Apostles
Luke was the writer of this book as well as the Gospel of Luke. In the Gospel of Luke, we read about what Jesus began to do. In Acts, we read about what He continued to do through the Holy Spirit. Acts is the only book of history in the New Testament. This book tells about the history of the early church.

This book is full of action! It describes how the Gospel spreads throughout the region and into the world. Locate the book of Acts. Place the red ribbon bookmark with the descending dove here. The key verse is Acts 1:8.

Highlight Acts 1:8

The book of Acts is divided into three sections that follow Jesus’ description of how the Gospel would spread: to Jerusalem (Acts 1-7), to Judea and Samaria (Acts 8-12) and to the world (Acts 13-28). All of this happened, as a result of the Holy Spirit coming to fill the hearts of the believers at Pentecost. Pentecost was a Jewish feast that took place 50 days after Passover.

Highlight Acts 2:1-4

Thousands of people became believers on this one day. The early church continued to preach and spread the good news about Jesus. But many did not approve. In Acts 8, we read about the first Christian martyr. A martyr is someone who is killed for his or her beliefs. Stephen was the first Christian martyr.

Highlight Acts 8:54-58
Stephen is killed. (this verse is important also because this is the first place we read about Saul)
Read Acts 8:58. What did Saul do?

Saul was a Pharisee. He was a great persecutor of Christians. He killed and threw many believers into prison.

Highlight Acts 9:3-4

After this amazing event, Saul was completely changed. He became one of the greatest apostles who ever lived. He traveled thousands of miles to share the good news of Jesus with others, both Jews and Gentiles. He came to be known as Paul which was his Roman name, as he traveled more and more into the Gentile world. The name change also helped to explain how much Saul changed. One of the important things we learn from Saul/Paul’s life is that we are never too bad for God to forgive us. If God can forgive Paul, God can forgive anything you or I do!

Paul traveled on three missionary journeys and had many adventures. He was imprisoned, beaten, stoned, and left for dead on numerous occasions, but still Paul persisted.

Turn to the back of the Bible and find the map showing Paul’s missionary journeys. As Paul traveled he started churches in the cities he visited. Later he returned to these churches to visit with them, to encourage them and to help them with problems they were having. Paul also wrote letters to the churches.
Letters
The next category New Testament books is letters or epistles. Remember that the Bible is not organized in chronological order; rather it is organized by topics. There are 21 letters in the New Testament. Thirteen of the letters were written by Paul. These are placed first in the New Testament. The next 8 letters are called the general letters and are written by others. No one knows who wrote the book of Hebrews. The letters are placed according to their length for the most part – longest letters first. Paul’s letters are named according to the people to which he wrote (for example: Romans, Corinthians)
The general letters are named according to the author (I and 2 Peter, Jude, 1, 2, 3 John)

Locate Romans. This is the first letter in the New Testament, written by Paul. Place your lavender bookmark with the ICHTHUS charm here.

Roman Road – Some of the key verses in Romans have come to be known as the Roman Road to Salvation. These verses explain why we need Jesus and how we are made right with God.

Highlight Romans 3:23

Highlight Romans 5:8

Highlight Romans 6:23

Highlight Romans 10:13

Locate I Corinthians. Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians to help the new church there with their many problems. They were arguing over marriages, food, and how to worship. (sound familiar?) Paul encouraged the Corinthians to stop sinning and to try to get along. He urged them to remember that love was the most important thing.

Highlight I Corinthians 13:4-8

Locate 2 Corinthians. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he continued to encourage them and to warn them about false teachings. He encouraged them to give generously to help others. He encouraged them to give, not because they were forced to, but because they wanted to!

Highlight 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

Locate Galatians. Paul wrote this letter to the people living in Galatia. Paul encouraged the Galatians to trust in Jesus. When we become Christian, the Holy Spirit enters our hearts and helps us live a new life that is pleasing to God. Others see the change in our lives and see God’s love. The changes in our lives, the things we now do are called fruit.

Highlight Galatians 5:22-23

Locate Ephesians. Paul wrote this letter to the church at Ephesus. Paul spent over 3 years at Ephesus during his missionary journeys. This letter is called a “prison letter” because Paul wrote it while in prison. In this letter Paul explains that all Christians are part of the Church. The Church is the “Body of Christ.” Christians should be kind to one another. Christians should obey God. God gives us help and protection through the “Armor of God.”

Highlight Ephesians 6:13-18

Locate Philippians. This is another prison letter written to the people in Philippi to thank them for the money and encouragement they sent him. Even though Paul was imprisoned, he encouraged Christians to be joyful and thankful.

Highlight Philippians 4:13

Locate Colossians. In this prison letter, Paul emphasizes that Jesus is truly God. He confronts false teachings about Jesus. Christians need to know who Jesus is. Jesus is the Lord over all.

Highlight Colossians 1:15

Locate 1 Thessalonians. Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica in Macedonia while he was in Corinth. This letter addresses the second coming of Christ. No one knows when this will happen, but we can be sure Christ will come again. Meanwhile we should be joyful, pray and thank God for everything.

Highlight 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Locate 2 Thessalonians. Paul wrote this letter to answer additional questions about the second coming of Christ and to encourage the Christians in Thessalonica to keep growing in faith, even when it was hard. He encourage the Christians to work hard.

Highlight 2 Thessalonians 1:16-17

Locate 1 Timothy. Paul wrote this letter to Timothy. Timothy had traveled with Paul on some of his missionary journeys. Eventually Timothy was in charge of the church at Ephesus. Paul wrote to give Timothy advice about church leadership.

Highlight 1 Timothy 4:12

Locate 2 Timothy. Paul wrote this letter to Timothy while imprisoned in Rome and knowing that he would soon die. Paul was lonely. This letter contains some of Paul’s last words. Paul encourages Timothy to remember what he has learned and to be faithful, even during hard times. He encouraged Timothy to continue to teach others what he has learned.

Highlight 2 Timothy 3:16

Locate Titus. Titus traveled with Paul and Barnabas on one or more of his missionary journeys. Titus worked in Corinth and in Crete. Paul advised Titus about choosing church leaders who were helpful and who would teach what is true.

Highlight Titus 3:3-7

Locate Philemon. This is another prison letter and the last of Paul’s letters. Paul wrote this letter to his friend Philemon who lived in Colosse. In this letter Paul defended the slave Onesimus who had run away from Philemon. Onesimus was now a Christian and Paul urged Philemon to forgive him and take him back.

Highlight Philemon 7

Locate Hebrews. We do not know the author of the book of Hebrews. This letter was written to the Jewish people who believed in Jesus. It was passed from church to church. This letter helped the Jewish Christians understand that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies and that he is greater than the Law and all the other prophets. Jesus is greater than the angels, the prophets and the high priest. The high priests made sacrifices for the peoples’ sin. Jesus is our everlasting High Priest, because he made the ultimate and best sacrifice that never has to be repeated. The focus of Hebrews is faith. Chapter 11 of Hebrews records what has come to be known as the “Hall of Faith.” The writer records the Jewish ancestors who had great faith, leading up to Jesus.

Hebrews 11
Living by Faith. Highlight some of the names mentioned here.

Locate James. James was the author of this letter. He was probably the brother of Jesus. He wrote this letter to the Christians who were scattered throughout many regions. James writes about the importance of faith and action. People who are Christians will be known by their actions. Our lives reflect the faith we have. James also teaches that it is important to be careful how one speaks.

Highlight James 2:14-17

Locate 1 Peter. This letter was written by Peter, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. Note the difference between Peter of the Gospels (who ran away and betrayed Jesus) and Peter now. After Pentecost, Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and he became bold and courageous. Peter was being persecuted for his faith and was eventually put to death. In this letter, Peter encourages Christians who are suffering because of their faith to hold fast and to remember that God uses difficult times to help us grow in our faith. Peter encourages us to look at Jesus as our example.

Highlight 1 Peter 5:7

Locate 2 Peter. Peter wrote this letter right before his death, most likely in Rome. In this letter Peter urges believers to grow in their faith. He also warns Christians about false teachers within the church. He encourages Christians to look forward to Jesus’ second coming.

Highlight 2 Peter 3:9

Locate 1 John. The disciple John wrote this letter. In this letter John explains how much God loves us and how we should love God and one another.

Highlight 1 John 4:1

Locate 2 John. This second letter of John was written when many of the people who had known Jesus personally, were no longer alive. John’s main message was for the new churches to follow God’s commands and not listen to false teachers.

Highlight 2 John 6

Locate 3 John. John wrote this letter to his friend Gaius to thank him and to encourage his continued faithfulness.

Highlight 3 John 11

Locate Jude. The author of this letter was Jude, the brother of Jesus. Jude also wrote to warn about following false teachers.

Highlight Jude 20-21
New Testament Prophecy - Revelation
The last category of New Testament literature is the book of Revelation. This special letter was written by John and describes a vision that he had while exiled on the island of Patmos. This literature is called apocalyptic – it is highly symbolic and tells of end times. The book was written during a time of great persecution by Rome. Revelation is a book of tremendous hope for Christians everywhere. The book describes many strange events but ultimately tells the good news: God wins! Revelation brings the story of the Bible full circle.

Genesis
God creates the world.
Satan tempts and humanity falls.
Fellowship between humans and God is broken.
God promises to send a Savior

Revelation
Satan is defeated.
Christ, our Savior triumphs.
God creates a new heaven and earth
God and humans live in fellowship together.

Place the orange ribbon bookmark with the heart here. The heart reminds us that through the entire Bible, God demonstrates his great love for us!

Highlight Revelation 22:20-21


Resources:

  • The Adventure Bible for Young Readers. Zondervan
  • Blankenbaker, Frances. What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers, Gospel Light, 1986.

More thoughts on our Family Bible Sessions...

Well, we had 8 families show up for the "Bible Blessing" service last Sunday. For the first year, I was pleased. We brought them all to the front of the church (with their Bibles of course) and explained to the congregation what they had done. Then we asked them to read the Family Pledge that they wrote during their last session -- then we laid hands on them and blessed each of them. Lastly, the congregation read a pledge to the families to nurture and support them in their journeys. It was very special.

My three sessions of Family Bible Sessions as we called it, are posted above. Basically we went through the Old Testament (should be 2 weeks for this!) highlighting a verse in each book, then second session was comparison of the four gospels highlighting key verses about Jesus' life and ministry and lastly the New Testament letters and Revelation. I bought highlighters to give out to the participating families and we included some "fun" activities as well -- we made Bible bookmarks, played a matching game with our painted wall timeline and the last week made Bible book covers. I think these sessions could easily be expanded to fit a "retreat" format so they weren't so rushed. I'm playing around with that idea a bit...

Overall I was pleased with it. The evaluations were all positive and I even had a family call and ask for the last week's handout since they were not able to attend!

Jaymie

We modified this lesson for the Art Station of our rotation on the Bible. We could not find all of the beads that were mentioned in the lesson--and even if we could, it probably would have been more expensive than we wanted for an art rotation. So we used stickers instead of beads. We cut out bookmark-sized pieces of card stock; here are some ideas for stickers—although I’m sure you could come up with plenty more:

  • Pentateuch (first 5 books)—flower (beginnings, creation) or stone tablets/judge’s gavel (law)
  • OT history—scroll or book
  • Wisdom—music note
  • Prophets—an ear (listening to God)
  • Gospels—cross
  • Acts/NT History—flame (Pentecost) or dove
  • Letters—pencil or crayon or other writing implement
  • Prophecy—heart
  • Jesus Sticker—the whole purpose of the Bible is to point us to Jesus

Then we ran the book marks through a laminator (or you could use clear contact paper). I did like the idea of the ribbons and strings though, so we punched a hole in the top of the bookmark. We threaded through 3 pieces of plastic lace with beads to represent the 3 parts of the trinity: Heart for God the Father, cross for Jesus, oval with “Believe” for the Spirit.

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