This lesson follows our hassle-free format. The basic version makes it easy to teach with very little preparation or outside materials. We’ve also suggested more activities so you can expand the lesson to best fit your ministry setting.
This lesson is part one in a four-part series titled The Hardship and Glory of Service to Christ. (link to series index coming soon) It is a study of 2 Corinthians 3 & 4 designed for older elementary children.
Lesson Title: The Glory of the New Covenant
Bible Reference: Corinthians 3:7-18
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Target Age Group: 5th – 6th grade
Learning Context: Sunday School or Kids Church
Target Time Frame: 30 minutes
Memory Verse: 2 Corinthians 3:9, “If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God!” (NLT)
Main Idea: Though the glory of the Old Covenant was very great, that glory is nothing in comparison to the New Covenant, thus Paul boldly and openly proclaims the message of this new covenant.
Gospel Connection: Paul is encompassing much of the Gospel directly in this passage. Because Christ came, died, and rose again, we have been cleansed from our sin and gained access to God.
Learning Aim: After this lesson, students will know and be able to communicate the awesome truth of the New Covenant. Our service to Christ is about believing, sharing, and living out the New Covenant. Look for the Learning Outcome Test section in our Basic Teaching Plan below.
Basic Supply List:
- Bible (The NLT makes this passage very understandable.)
- Window with curtain, thick enough to obstruct the view outside.
- A marker board or poster board to display the memory verse. You should write it out in advance in the translation of your preference. Also consider writing out the entire passage so the students can follow along more easily as you discuss the passage.
- Sheets of paper, writing/drawing supplies
- Diagram of the Tabernacle and Holy of Holies (can be found using a simple Google image search).
Other Notes: In the teaching plan below the words in italics are meant to be read aloud. The regular text is simply directions for the teacher.
> > > > Basic Teaching Plan < < < <
Explain the passage background:
- SAY: Together we are going to study chapters 3 and 4 of 2nd Corinthians. A man named Paul wrote this book of the Bible to a church in the city of Corinth. The books of the New Testament reveal that great persecution was faced daily for believers who shared the Gospel of Christ. We are going to imagine together the world of Paul. Listen as I read 1 Corinthians 4:11-13. Imagine that you were insulted (slandered) and despised, even hated by many on a daily basis! If you were in the midst of this world, how would you be feeling? What would you be thinking? (Allow time for answers.)
- SAY: Knowing what was going on then and there at the time Paul wrote this letter is essential in order for us to truly understand his words in 2 Corinthians chapters 3 and 4. Paul spends chapter 3 of 2 Corinthians reminding them of the New Covenant in Christ. This lesson series is entitled “The Hardship and Glory of Service to Christ.” Before we dive into the hardship and glory, we first have to understand what service to Christ is. How do we live in service to Christ? (Allow time for response.) One essential aspect of living in service to Christ is sharing the Gospel, which is also referred to as the New Covenant. Let’s find out what this New Covenant is all about!
Read the Bible Passage: Have volunteers read 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 aloud. We have copied the text of this passage at the end of the lesson in the New Living Translation. Pray together before beginning the lesson.
- Gather the students around the window with the curtain drawn.
- SAY: Look again at verse 7 and 13. When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, Moses was in His glorious presence. This caused his face to shine with the glory of God, so much so that he had to veil his face from the rest of God’s people (the Israelites; Exodus 34:29-35). The people could not handle the glory of God because of their sin! The veil over Moses’ face prevented them from seeing and fully experiencing the glory of God.
- SAY: When we try to look through a window with the curtain drawn, we cannot see clearly or maybe not at all. Have the students try to see through the curtain in your classroom. Even if we can see a little bit, everything is darker. In the Old Covenant, the glory of God rested in the tabernacle, in the holy of holies, but there was a clear separation of His glory from His people. In the Old Covenant, only the high priests were allowed to enter into God’s presence in the holy of holies, only once a year, and only after a blood sacrifice had been made for their sins and the sins of the people (Hebrews 9).
- Pass around diagrams of the Tabernacle to your students. Briefly explain each part of the tabernacle.
- SAY: Everyone else besides the priests could only enter into the outer courts of the tabernacle. Their sin and God’s great holiness made it impossible for them to be near His presence. The veil surrounding the holy of holies kept God’s glory hidden from the people.
- Read verses 8-11 again for the children. Then ask a volunteer to read Exodus 19:18-19. SAY: This Scripture gives an awesome view of the glory of God in the Old Testament. As great as God’s glory is displayed in these two verses, Paul is telling us in verses 8-11 of 2 Corinthians 3 that the glory of the New Covenant far surpasses it!
- Ask a volunteer to read verse 14-18 again. SAY: In the New Covenant, the veil is gone (pull back the curtains on the window). Do you see the great difference? Through the glass, everything we see is clear. In the same way, the veil has been torn or pulled away between us and God. Every single person can now have access to God through Christ. We can see and experience His glory clearly and fully. Nothing is held back from us because Christ cleanses us completely from all of our sin, past, present, and future. We can come to God anywhere and everywhere; we can have a relationship with Him. We do not have to make sacrifices because Jesus was our ultimate sacrifice and is now our High Priest!
Our Service to Christ
- SAY: This is the New Covenant, and this is what our service to Christ is all about! The suffering that took place in Scripture was endured in order to tell the world that they can be freed from their sins through Christ and experience the glory of God. If Christ had not taken on our sins and died as the ultimate sacrifice, this veil would still be there.
- Ask for a volunteer to read vv. 13-15 again. SAY: Many people continued to live under the Old Covenant, even after Paul and others had spread the news about Christ. Until a person accepts Christ, there is a veil over their hearts. They are unable to see and experience God for who He really is. They are unable to have a relationship with Him and know Him personally. Our spreading the Gospel of the New Covenant is essential to bringing others to know Christ, so God can remove the veil over their hearts, allowing them to know and experience Him.
Learning Outcome Test:
- Have your students write (or draw) what there lives would be like today if Christ had not come and we were still under the Old Covenant. Then allow several children to share their response with the group.
- Now have them write or draw what is possible because Christ came and allowed us to have access to (a relationship with) God. Once again allow time for volunteers to share their response.
- SAY: Now think of people you know or friends you have that still have this veil over their hearts. If you have accepted Christ and your veil has been removed, you know our great God. Because we know Him, we can have confidence to share the Truth of the New Covenant with everyone we know (v. 12). Pray together for boldness in sharing the New Covenant, the Gospel.
- SAY: Our sin completely separates us from God, placing a veil over our hearts (Ex. 19:18-25 would probably be a really good display of this). When Christ died, the veil was torn (literally-Mark 15:38) because He was the ultimate and final sacrifice for our sins. When we receive Christ as our Savior and Lord, we are set free from our sins and made righteous. God removes this veil from our hearts. The Spirit of God dwells within us, and we then are able to be in God’s presence, experiencing His glory, every moment of every day.
> > > > Optional Activities < < < <
The following suggestions will help you expand and customize our basic lessons. We always value your opinion, so leave a comment and help make this resource better for other readers.
Memory verse: Ask for a volunteer to read the memory verse aloud from the display. Work on memorizing it together. Use any of our creative methods for memorizing Scripture.
Popcorn Object Lesson: You could use our aroma of Christ object lesson to add a multi-sensory element to this Bible lesson.
Love God Coloring Page: When adapting this lesson for younger children, you could use our greatest commandment coloring page to talk about how they might respond to the Glory of the New Covenant.
Suggest Your Activity: We depend on readers like you to help improve our lesson plans. Please leave a comment below to share your optional activities to go along with this lesson plan.
> > > > Supporting Materials < < < <
2 Corinthians 3:7-18 from the New Living Translation:
7 The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8 Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9 If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10 In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11 So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!12 Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. 16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.