Editor's Note:

This topic is for sharing your individual workshop lessons and ideas about teaching the story of Philip and the Ethiopian.

This forum also has a 'complete' lesson set on the story. If you have a complete set, select "create a new discussion/topic" and post your complete set.

Last edited by Luanne Payne
Original Post

Notes on Teaching Philip and the Ethiopian


A long time ago I didn't think this was a story worthy of occupying a coveted spot in the Rotation line-up. --Not when you can only do 10 or so rotations a year. But my mind has changed.

WHY? This story HIGHLIGHTS two important ideas not often found in NT lessons:

  1. The Imperative to SHARE THE GOOD NEWS with others. (Philip the disciple)
  2. The Importance of preparing yourself by studying scripture to believe in Jesus. (The Ethiopian)

It is a logical complement to the Pentecost story (which can get overdone every year since it's an annual Holy Day). It also complements othe rActs stories we teach, including, Peter's conversion of Cornelius, and Paul's conversion of the Jailer in Philippi. In the ACTS lesson forum you will see a Paul's Journeys forum which has some rotation lesson sets in it that were written to SURVEY THE BOOK OF ACTS during SUMMER Sunday School. Philip and the Ethiopian could easily fit into such an approach.

Lesson Thoughts:

What's a Eunuch? Or more importantly, how do you describe what he was TO CHILDREN? See my expanded note down below... but think along the lines of "someone who was celibate" ..."dedicated to a specific function."

The African Missions Angle:
What an excellent opportunity to introduce kids/teachers to the history, presence and growth of Christianity in Africa! (Ethiopia is in Africa). I'll bet your denomination has a ton of resources on their work in Africa. Videos, maps, maybe even a missionary or someone who's been to Africa who could come into your Sunday School.

Anybody have some favorite videos about Christians in Africa? Please suggest them.

Software Lesson Thought:

The Ethiopian was from a different culture, race and language group than was Philip, but he studied the scriptures.

Idea: Look in the Actual Reality CD for the section on "Color Blind".
Idea: Create a "talking story" of "what Philip might have said" to the Ethiopian, using either Let's Talk CD or Kid Pix CDs ability to turn text into speech.

Drama Lesson Thought:

Now let's ask the question, "What did the Ethiopian tell his traveling entourage? He was not a lowly slave, but had a retinue. What questions were going through their mind? And... What did the Ethiopian say and do when he got back to Ethiopia? Can you imagine what his family said? "You met a guy who saw a dead man?!" "Why should we believe a religion from UP THERE?"

I've often thought of what SUSTAINED this Ethiopian's faith AFTER he had departed from Philip. Christianity had not yet spread to Ethiopia. I'm sure he second guessed his decision to become a Believer. How did he sustain? The answer for our kids is this: the Holy Spirit went WITH the Ethiopian. So what did his prayers sound like? What did God say to him as he traveled back south? What was God's counsel to this new believer in the face of opposition? A Christian community eventually grew up in Ethiopia. Perhaps it was due to the Eunuch.

GAME Workshop Thought:

If ever there was a story where we could use the ol' CHARIOT RACES game, this is it! You make a chariot by placing a blanket (or canvas) on the floor, sitting on it (holding on for dear life) and having to "horses" pull you around a track. The obstacle course you could create could all be themed obstacles.
The obstacles should be designed/constructed BY the kids as part of the Bible study, and walked through as part of the study about "things that pressure us to NOT believe".

  • Peer Pressure Perils
  • Faithless Falls
  • Forget About It Canyon
  • Too Busy to Read the Bible Bog
  • Sunday School is Boring So I Dont' Want to Prepare to Believe in Jesus Jagged Cliff

At some of the chariot obstacles, the kids could do something, such as recite a memory verse, or shout an affirmation.

<>< Neil

Last edited by Rotation.org Lesson Forma-teer

Incorporating information about the Ethiopian church and Ethiopian customs and Ethiopian food

The Ethiopian Orthodox church has been around for 2000+ years, and is full of fascinating iconography and traditions. (In fact, they trace the origins of their church to the encounter between Phillip and the eunuch, so it's a direct link to the lessons.)

Here's what we're doing:

  1. Theme: God shows his love for all people regardless of their location, skin color, etc. We also tell the kids a little bit about the Ethiopian church--as a way to demonstrate to them that from the beginning, Jesus' message was spread to all corners of the earth and involved people of all colors and origins!
  2. Cooking: have a volunteer from the parish prepare injera--a traditional Ethiopian flatbread (like a crepe) that we'll eat with feta cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and a mixture of cottage cheese and yogurt (I just googled recipes for injera and Ethiopian cheese) Eat the injera like the Ethiopians do--all share a big flatbread and each tear off a little piece to wrap around the egg/cheese, etc.
  3. Art: having kids model "Ethiopian-style" crosses out of self-hardening modeling clay. I googled images of Ethiopian crosses and printed them out so the kids can use them for inspiration.
  4. Games: Chariot races! We tied a rope around a flat furniture dolly (the type that looks like a small pallet on wheels) so that it has a "harness" for pulling. One kid sits on the dolly (after thorough instructions to keep hands off the ground and out from under the wheels) and the other kid pulls it with the rope harness. (We used two dollies so they could race.) Then we had them run a large "racecourse" (i.e. oval) around our parish hall--the kids had a great time, and called it "the most fun church school game EVER!" (BTW, this works great for lessons featuring the Romans too--you can rename the parish hall the "hippodrome".)
Last edited by Rotation.org Lesson Forma-teer

DVD - “Philip” (New Superbook Series)

Chris is impressed by his father’s new invention. Chris covets the device and wants to use its power to impress his friends and earn lots of money. Superbook whisks the kids away to Samaria. There they watch Philip, Peter and John teach a magician and his followers about the true power of the Holy Spirit. LPhilip-Baptizes_previewater, they find Philip in the desert and witness the baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch. Upon returning home, Chris is a changed person. He has been awed by the power of the Holy Spirit and begins his path towards baptism.

Lesson: Strive to seek God rather than earthly power.
(Animated - approx. 28 mins)

See Rotation.org reviews of the "New Superbook" DVD Series for more details on this series link.


Images (1)

Add Reply

Post Your Question, Comment, Idea, or Resource

Rotation.org Inc. is a volunteer-run, 100% member supported, 501(c)3 non-profit Sunday School lesson ministry. All content here is the copyrighted property of its listed author. You are welcome to borrow and adapt content here for non-commercial teaching purposes --as long as both the site and author is referenced. Posting here implies permission for others to use your content for non-commercial purposes. Rotation.org Inc reserves the right to manage, move, condense, delete, and otherwise improve all content posted to the site. Read our Terms of Service. Google Ad Note: Serving the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, S. Africa, and more!

Rotation.org is rated 5 stars on Google based on 55 reviews.
Link copied to your clipboard.