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This topic is for posting your Drama and Puppet Workshop Lessons and Ideas related to Paul's Journey.

Because this is a BROAD subject, the reader may need to adapt the following lessons/ideas for their particular story focus.

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Paul's Journeys

Courtroom Script

Needed: Prosecutor and witnesses, Defense attorney and witnesses, jury, judge.

Design your drama space to look like an official "courtroom". Include a podium with a microphone for the lawyers to make their argument, and a witness box with a microphone. If you have an extra kid with nothing to do, make them a guard! The judge could be a teacher, which gives them the ability to 'direct' the drama from the bench, rather than prodding it from the side.

Practice lines ahead of time and help the kids act like their characters. Costumes will help!

Let the jury know what to expect.

Information for Attorneys/Judge/Jury

To prepare:
Read over Acts 21:17-22:23, which details Paul’s actions in Jerusalem which had the Jewish leaders so upset. They would accuse him of violating the temple by bringing Gentiles into it, which could be punished by death to those Gentiles back in Jesus‘ time (he apparently did NOT bring Gentiles in, but may have not had much of a problem with those who did: remember Paul’s opinion was that Jesus had changed everything, faith was enough-he was teaching his new Gentile converts that they need not become circumcised or follow the dietary laws) They would also accuse Paul of trying to incite a riot, which was untrue- it was the leaders themselves who were inciting the crowd to beat Paul over his sayings and actions (see Acts 21:27-31).

Read over Acts 22:30-Acts 26 for background information on different trials of Paul. Then read over the various choices for witnesses, as well as the Bible references that go along with them, so you can choose the witnesses that will best represent your particular point of view.

Your aim is to prove that Paul violated the temple in Jerusalem by bringing Gentiles into it, and that he started the ensuing riot. Use witnesses from Jerusalem and other places we have already learned about to support your case.

Your aim is to prove that Paul is not guilty of any crime. He believes in the same God as his accusers, he is a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee. The leaders can find no real crime to charge him with; the real reason for the trial is the resurrection. The leaders are afraid because they know everything has changed, and they are making Paul their scapegoat.

Keep in mind that many kids in K-5th grade are not the most expressive readers due to their inexperience, so the responses they can give you must necessarily be short and to the point. This activity would be much more creative with older kids who can think on their feet, but I think my K-5th graders will get a lot out of it nonetheless.


We need to remind the children that what the witnesses will be saying will in some cases be skewed to support the side they are testifying for. They thus will not necessarily be telling the truth on the stand. We should encourage them to go back and read from a children’s Bible the scripture on which their testimony is based. You will not necessarily have the time/enough children to use all of the script. Again, feel free to make the changes you need to in anyone‘s testimony, and eliminate the witnesses you don’t have the time or enough children for. The way I am setting this up gives only the kids exactly what to say-attorneys will need to ad-lib the questions or prepare them in advance once it is decided which witnesses to use.

*Give each child their testimony on index cards and allow them time to practice it, asking for help to pronounce difficult words.

Witnesses for Prosecution
Person from:
I have no doubt that Paul caused a riot in Jerusalem. Paul caused a riot here in Ephesus, too. He knew that our whole economy is based on people visiting the temple to Artemis. If they don’t come and spend money, we can’t support our families! But Paul told people that Artemis is not a real god, and this Jesus guy is the son of the one true God. Lots of people believed him. No wonder we got mad. I depend on selling idols that I make so that I can feed my family. I was glad when he left. I am sorry to see he made trouble other places.
(Based on Acts 19:23-41)

Paul and Barnabas performed a bunch of tricks in my town of Iconium. Some people said they were able to heal people and perform miracles, but it sounded like magic tricks to me. When a bunch of the Jewish leaders ran them off, I knew Paul must be dishonest. He sounds like the kind of guy who would get revenge by taking Gentiles into the Temple.
(Based on Acts 14:6)

My uncle was the owner of that slave girl that Paul “cured”. Now that the demons have left her, she can’t tell the future anymore, and my uncle is poor. The officials would not have put Paul and Silas in jail unless they were really guilty of something awful. We don’t put innocent people in jail. And we have suspicions about how he really got out of jail. I think they were making up the whole “We are Roman citizens” thing. And who ever heard of a jail full of prisoners NOT escaping when they had the chance?
(Based on Acts 16:16-40)

I personally heard Paul tell people they were temples of God. He said that God’s temple is holy, and the followers of this Jesus are the temple! I was brought up to believe that the temple in Jerusalem is the holy place where God lives. If Paul is a blasphemer, what wouldn’t he do?
(Based on 1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

Jerusalem- I was there and I saw him take Gentiles into the temple. Well, I saw him walking toward the temple with some Gentile from Ephesus, and Paul said he was going in. I am sure he took that Gentile with him!
(Based on Acts 21:26-29)

Witnesses for Defense
Person from:
Philippi, after the earthquake-
Paul did not do anything wrong! It was the power of God who caused the earthquake! Paul could have just saved himself and gotten away, but he stayed and kept everyone in their cells so God’s miracle could speak for itself. He didn’t want the jailer to get in trouble. Paul speaks the truth and God is on his side.
(Acts 16:25-36)

I was there when Paul was preaching so late. Eutychus, my best friend, was foolish enough to sit in the windowsill. It was hot and he thought the breeze was better there. Well, he fell fast asleep and fell out of the window! It was three stories down, and Eutychus was dead by the time we got downstairs. Paul stopped preaching and brought him back to life! Then we went back upstairs and shared the Lord’s Supper! Eutychus seems perfectly healthy now. How can that not be the power of God?
(Based on Acts 20:7-12)

I went to the church in Corinth. Paul challenged us to give an offering for the poor in Jerusalem, and he personally went with the group who took it to them. If he was not a man of God, wouldn’t he have kept it for himself and run away?
(Based on I Corinthians 16:1-4)

I went to the synagogue in Ephesus, and I heard Paul preach almost every Sabbath for 3 months. He made believers out of many people who practiced dark arts and magic. They took a fortune in their evil books and burned them! When the riot happened, it was the silversmiths who started it, not Paul. The silversmiths were just too threatened by the truth Paul was teaching.
(Based on Acts 19:8-41)

Paul fasted, prayed, and purified himself as our law requires. I went to the temple with him for the ceremony, and everyone who went in was a Jew. It is true that Paul was talking to his Gentile friend Trophimus from Ephesus. But Trophimus waited outside the temple when we went in. The leaders who accuse Paul of taking Gentiles to the temple are just looking for a reason to get him in trouble.
(Based on Acts 21:18-29)

Antioch of Pisidia-
The Jews themselves stirred up people and started the riots in Antioch, Thessalonica, Ephesus, and other cities, not Paul. I am sure it was they who did it in Jerusalem, too. In Antioch, where I am from, a lot of the Jews converted when Paul and Barnabas spoke in the synagogue. But when the Jewish leaders got mad and argued against them, Paul and Barnabas took the message to the Gentiles. This made the leaders more angry, and they got all the city officials and influential people they could find to help run Paul and Barnabas out of town.
(Based on Acts 13:50, 14:2, 14:19, 16:22, 17:13)

Apostle Paul himself-
The only reason I am on trial is because my hope is in the resurrection of the dead. I have committed no crime against the Roman government or the temple or the Jewish laws. I am a Pharisee, as were many of my ancestors. The law and the temple are very important to me. I worship the God of our ancestors. My accusers are making up these charges of violating the temple and inciting riots because they do not want to hear the truth. I once did everything I could to oppose the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. I helped have them sent to prison. I voted against them when they were condemned to death. I even went all the way to Damascus to find followers of Jesus and bring them back to Jerusalem for trial. While I was on the road to Damascus, I saw a blinding light from heaven and heard a voice call out, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” The voice told me he was Jesus, and he was appointing me to be his servant and witness. He told me to tell the Gentiles about him. My message is God’s message! He has sent his son to die for the sins of everyone, so we can be made right before God. Jesus is the Messiah we have waited for for generations! I have spent years since Jesus called me traveling and spreading the Good News. People have tried to kill me for saying these things everywhere I have gone, but God has always kept me safe.
(see Acts 24:10-21 and Acts 26 for his defense testimony)

After testimony there can be closing arguments by each side. There may also be a motion to dismiss by the defense based on these arguments:

Dismiss all charges because-
They are based on lies and assumptions, not fact.
Witnesses under oath are deliberately giving false testimony.
The real charges are religious, not civil, and Rome should not be involved in a religious matter.


Everyone stands when the judge comes in. Have someone pretend to be the bailiff and say "All rise. The Honorable Judge So and So is presiding. Court is now in session. You may be seated." You may choose to swear in witnesses. Lawyers can object to witness testimony on the basis of hearsay or speculation, judge can rule on objections. (When we did this activity I told our judge to overrule all objections since the kids were too young to know how to rephrase. It did, however, add some realism to our case, and the kids thought it was a nice touch.) Jury can come to decision after trial.

To get real trial info we will point kids to Acts 23-26 and tell them this trial led the leaders to send Paul to prison in Rome to await a trial. Roman citizens such as Paul could appeal to have their case heard by the Emperor himself in Rome, and Paul chose to do this.

*You might consider videotaping the proceedings to let the kids watch later on, and even share with the congregation. If I do this again, I would like to allow more time for each side to cross-examine the opposing side. We would probably get help from the youth group with it next time, too. Littler kids did well as the jury, and it helped them feel important since they could not read well enough to be witnesses.

After the drama....

You might put some of the STUDENTS ON TRIAL.
Accuse them of going to church and believing in a false Messiah.
Ask them to make their case.
Have their lawyer try to defend them.

Lead them off in chains.

By Angela Lewter, Children's Ministry Coordinator, Decatur-Trinity Christian Church, Bartlett, Tennessee August 

Based on ideas from "Paul's Journeys" by Nancy Fisher, Rose Publishing, 

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Paul's Journeys

Drama Workshop 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

In this workshop, the learners will act out the story to learn it.


  • The Children’s Bible;
  • props for the story (see Attachment);
  • some Biblical costumes or togas;
  • name tags of characters in the story—Paul, Silas, servant woman, Roman soldiers, slave owners, jailer, other prisoners, magistrate, narrator (nametags with string to hang around the neck work well);
  • poster board with the memory verse on it.

Teacher preparation:

  • Read the Bible passages.
  • The story will be read from The Children’s Bible, so you might want to preview this, too.
  • Read over the background material included in your teacher packet as you review the lesson plan. Note that the jail scene is set in one corner of the drama room. The rest of the room can be used to set up the other scenes.

Lesson Plan


Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week—some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs.


Read the story from The Children’s Bible, pp. 397-399 (stories #351 and #352.) Since the memory verse is from the NRSV Bible and not The Children’s Bible, use the poster board with the verse on it and go over it with the children.

Following the story, recap the events by asking the following questions to have the children recall the story (younger children may need prompting; reread passages where needed. You may prompt by beginning the answer sentence and have them "fill in the blank."):

  • What can you tell me about the young servant woman (slave girl)? (Verses 16-21) She was possessed by an evil spirit, which gave her the ability to tell the future; her owners made money from her ability to tell fortunes; she followed Paul and Silas, shouting; Paul freed her from the evil spirit by invoking Christ's name.
  • Why did her owners get so angry? (Verse 19) They made money from her ability to tell fortunes, and Paul took that ability away.
  • What did the slave owners tell the officials? (Verse 20) Paul and Silas were teaching others to break the law.
  • What did the jailer do to Paul and Silas? (Verses 23-24) He beat them and threw them in jail. He bound their feet in heavy chains.
  • What did Paul and Silas do while in jail? (Verse 25) They were praying and singing hymns to God.
  • What two miracles happened at midnight? (Verse 25-29) An earthquake opened the jail doors and the chains fell from their feet.
  • Why did the jailer want to kill himself? Who stopped him? (Verses 27-29) He believed the prisoners had escaped. In ancient Rome, a jailer whose prisoner escaped was liable and would forfeit his life. Paul stopped him by telling him that they were still there.
  • Why do you think Paul and Silas stayed? Accept any reasonable responses: Paul knew that God would protect him; Paul wanted to use this miracle to show the jailer the truth; etc.
  • How did the jailer and his family come to be baptized? (Verses 31-34) The jailer recognized the miracle and brought Paul and Silas to his home. There, Paul told the story of Jesus and baptized the jailer and his family.
  • The jailer told Paul he was told he was free to go. Why did Paul want the Roman official to release him? (Verses 35-37) He was a Roman citizen and had been beaten and jailed without a trial. That was against Roman law (and Philippi was a Roman colony).
  • Paul says that "God, who gives us peace" will be with us. Let's reenact Paul and Silas' story in Philippi. Notice that Paul has a sense of God's peace and purpose throughout his experience.

Preparation for performing:
As you assign performing roles, remember that some children would rather contribute in non-performing roles, such as props, costuming, music, lighting, etc.
You may wish to have the actors read through their lines while crew members prepare the stage, props, and costumes. If you have a small group, get everyone involved as crew before performing. 

Remember that half the fun of performing is setting the stage and costuming. Allow time for them to prepare, with about 20 minutes or less of actual performance. 

Performance of "Paul and Silas in Philippi":
This skit is written so that it may be performed without rehearsal. The narrator's role is to explain the action that the characters portray. With 2 exceptions, Paul and the jailer, the roles have few lines but plenty of action. 

There are a minimum of 9 roles to fill, an optimum of over 15. The number you have in your class will determine how the roles are filled. 

There are 9 speaking roles; if you have fewer than 9, have the teacher or shepherd join the cast as the narrator. Double up on roles if necessary. A larger class will be able to expand the multiple roles. To keep it all straight, use name tags as you assign the roles. Use the skit in the attachment for the performance.


Gather the children together and discuss the performance. Let them talk about how they felt in the dark prison and how they might have felt having been put in prison unjustly. What would they have done if they were in Paul’s and Silas’ place?

Close with a prayer of your own, or use the following:
Dear God, we spend a lot of time complaining about what we don't have. And yet we have so much! Help us to be joyful because of the life we have found in you. Amen.

Journal Time:
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Ask the children to answer the following question:
What role did you play in the drama class today?

Adjustments for younger/older children:
The Beginner class will need to have an adult narrator dictate what they will enact. Have each cast member study his or her part before you begin. Don't start cold!
For the other 2 classes, if you have enough kids, assign the narrator role to a willing participant. Lots of kids? Divide the narrator role by scenes, and indicate which scene on their name tags.


  • Rotation Lesson exchange/Paul’s journeys, Paul’s preaching/lesson set-2nd Presbyterian, Indianapolis. c. 1999.

Drama Script:

Servant woman 
Servant owners 1 and 2

Yarn whip
Washing cloth and bowl
Large sword

Non-speaking Roles:
Jailer's family

Basics of the story
Paul and Silas are traveling through Asia Minor and come to Philippi in Macedonia. Some in Philippi are not happy to see them, and they are jailed after healing a possessed woman. A miraculous earthquake opens the jail doors and frees Paul and Silas from their chains. An awestruck jailer leads them to his home, where he and his family are baptized into the faith. City officials learn that they have jailed Roman citizens and apologize to them.

In first century Philippi in Macedonia: by the river; in the city; in the jail; in the jailer's home.

Scene One:
Riverside in Phillipi. Stage left is the "praying area" by the river. Center stage is curtained off. Stage right is the jailer's home. Lights up on stage left only.
A small crowd is gathered at the river, including the servant woman and her two owners. People are paying the servant woman to "read" their palms. Everyone listens as she tells their fortunes. 

Narrator: Paul and Silas had been traveling throughout Asia when Paul had a vision in which he was told to go to Macedonia. They traveled by ship and foot to Philippi, a large city in Macedonia.
One day, Paul and Silas walked to the riverside, where Jews gathered to pray. A young servant woman was telling the future to those around her because of an evil spirit in her. Her owners collected money from her customers. The servant woman stood up when she saw Paul.

Servant: These men are servants of God! They tell you how to be saved!

Narrator: The woman repeated herself over and over as she followed Paul and Silas.

Paul, Silas and the servant woman wander around the set as she continues to cry out.
Paul is clearly irritated. 

Paul: In the name of Jesus Christ, I order you to come out of her!

Narrator: At that moment, the woman stopped and fell to the ground.

Servant: What happened? Who are you?

Paul: I have released you from an evil spirit in the name of Jesus Christ.

Narrator: The servant's owners stepped forward from the crowd.

Owner 1: What do you think you are doing?!

Owner 2: Now she can't make money telling fortunes! Grab them!

Narrator: Her owners grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them away. The servant followed.

Scene Two:
The public square in Philippi. The owners of the servant woman have dragged Paul and Silas to center stage, where a Roman official is standing. Lights center stage only. 

Narrator: Paul and Silas were dragged before a Roman official. A crowd gathered to hear.

Owner 1: These men are Jews, and they are causing trouble in our city.

Owner 2: They are teaching ideas that are against our law!

Official: Jailer! Beat these men and lock them up! And don't bother me again.

Jailer: Enters, wearing a sword and whip at his waist. Yes sir!

Narrator: The jailer beat Paul and Silas with a whip. The Roman official left, and the crowd slowly disappeared.

Center stage lights dim. 
Scene Three: In the jail.

Narrator: The jailer then threw Paul and Silas into jail and locked their hands and feet with large chains. The jailer fell asleep while Paul and Silas prayed to God and sang hymns praising God. Around midnight, they felt the earth tremble and shake. It was an earthquake!

Silas: An earthquake? What are we to do? We will be crushed because we are locked up and can’t run!

Paul: Look! The earthquake is causing the jail door to come open! Our locks are loosened! God has provided for us.

Narrator: The jailer woke up and saw the open jail doors.

Jailer: Everyone has escaped! The Romans will torture me for allowing this to happen! I will kill myself with my sword before they find out! He raises his sword in preparation for killing himself.

Paul: Don't harm yourself! We are all here!

Narrator: The jailer called for a light, and rushed in and fell to his knees in front of Paul and Silas. Then he led them out of the jail to his home.

Scene Four:
The Jailer's home. Dim lights stage right only.
The jailer brings Paul and Silas to his home, where his family awaits inside.

Jailer: Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

Paul: Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your family.

Narrator: The jailer's family came out, and they listened as Paul and Silas told them about Jesus. The jailer washed their wounds as they talked.

Jailer: We do believe that Jesus is the son of God. We are sinners who need God’s forgiveness. Please baptize all of us.

Narrator: The jailer and his family knelt before Paul and Silas and were baptized. Then they all sat together and ate. Everyone was filled with joy.

Bring up all lights onstage. 

Silas: Look! The sun is rising. It's morning already.

Narrator: The Roman official had sent a magistrate to the jailer's house. The magistrate handed the jailer a piece of paper.

Magistrate: The Roman official says to let those men go.

Jailer: (Reading the paper) The officials have sent an order for you to be released. You may leave, then, and go in peace.

Paul: Wait a minute! We didn't do anything wrong, yet they had us whipped in public!

Silas: And we are Roman citizens!

Paul: Then they threw us in jail. And now they want to send us away secretly? Not at all!

Silas: Have the Roman official come here and tell us we are free to go.

Narrator: The magistrate left to tell the Roman official these words. And when the official heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, he was afraid. So he came to the jailer's house.

Official: We did not know you were Roman citizens! We are very sorry to have treated you so badly without a trial. Let us escort you as you leave the city.

The Roman official takes Paul and Silas across stage and off. The jailer and his family wave goodbye as the lights dim. 

Narrator: Paul and Silas left the city. They went on to many other cities to spread the word of Jesus Christ, the son of God.

Originally posted by Brenthaven Church

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

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