This is part one of a new series we’re calling, “Hello, My Name Is… A Series on the Names of God.” Look for the next installments to come throughout February. You can find the latest when you follow Tara’s author archive. We’ll add links to the whole Bible study once it’s complete.
Lesson One: What’s In a Name?
Main Idea: We learn more about God when we learn about his different names and titles. God’s Word is clear about how we are to treat his name.
Memory Verse: “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O LORD, do not abandon those who search for you.” Psalm 9:10
- Read lesson and Scripture references.
- Gather: Bible, lesson plan, Bible verse cards (you can print the included set or write them out on index cards using your preferred version. All verses here are in the NLT), dry erase markers or chart paper and markers, blank white paper for each student, black markers, colored pencils or crayons
- Take time to meditate on this lesson and apply it to your own life. Have you ever put much thought into how names and titles impact what we know? For example, when a man has the term “Junior” at the end of his name, it is safe to assume he is named after his father. How do you think knowing the names of God will change your relationship with him?
- John 17:3
- Exodus 20:7
- Leviticus 19:12
- Psalm 139:20
- Romans 2:23-24
- Psalm 20:7
- Proverbs 18:10
- Romans 10:13
- Psalm 9:10
- Isaiah 43:1
Game: Name in Motion
Have the class stand in a circle facing into the circle. Ask each student to come up with a motion that they think describes them. For example, a child who plays basketball may mimic a jump shot while someone who loves to read can pantomime holding a book. After everyone has had a chance to think up their own motion, go around the circle and have each student say their name while doing their motion. Once everyone has shown their move, play a game. For the first round, have the student to your right start with their name and motion. The student to their right must first say the name and do the motion of the person to their left, and then they do their name and motion. Then the next person repeats the name and motion of the person to their right before doing their own, and so on until everyone has had a turn. For the second round, as you go around the circle, each student must repeat the name and motion of everyone who has gone before them, in the correct order. See if you can make it all around the circle, and switch the order of the circle up a few times to keep it interesting.
Message: Today class, we are starting a new study about the names and titles of God. God goes by a lot of different names and titles in the Bible. Today we’ll talk about the importance of names in the Bible and over the next many weeks, we’ll look at some of the more well-known names and titles of God. God has a lot of names and titles in the Bible! We’re only going to study a few of them.
So I’ve been saying “names and titles.” We all know what a name is, right? It’s what people call you. My name is Mrs. Tara. You all know that! But did you know not everyone calls me Mrs. Tara? What do you think my son calls me? (Allow students to answer.) That’s right, my son calls me mommy. My husband calls me wife, and my brother calls me his sister. We can sometimes go by different names to different people. We can even have nicknames. James can go by Jim or Jamie, and Amelia can go by Amy. (If possible, use examples of nicknames from your own class.) What are some other names you may go by? (Allow students to answer.) You may be called friend, cousin, sister, brother, grandchild, student, or son or daughter.
Well we know about names, but what do we know about titles? What is a title? (Allow students to answer.) A title is a descriptive name given to a piece of art, like a book or a song or a painting. A title tells us a little bit about the book, song or artwork. What is the title of your favorite book? (As students answer, discuss how the title tells you a little about the book. For example, “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” is about a Lion, a witch, and a wardrobe.) You all have great tastes in books! So forms of art have titles, and did you know that people also can have titles? Sometimes you call me teacher. We call our pastor, Pastor Smith. When a police officer introduces themselves, they say, “Hello, I’m Officer Brown.” Judges are introduced as the honorable judge so-and-so, and doctors work hard in school for a very long time to earn their title of doctor.
So throughout this study, we will learn that God has many names and titles he goes by. All of these names and titles help us understand more about Him. Knowing God is the absolute most important thing we could ever do in life. Don’t get me wrong, you need to do your homework and learn math and science and reading and history. But none of that matters unless you know God and follow his commands in the Bible. Let’s have a sword drill to show us that. Take all bookmarks and fingers out of your Bible and hold them above your head. When I say go, look up John 17:3. Go! (Read, or have a student read, John 17:3.) “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.” The only way we will get to live forever in Heaven is by knowing God and knowing Jesus. That’s why learning the names and titles of God is so important. I can’t wait to get started sharing the names of God with you next week! For the rest of today however, we are going to look at the importance of God’s name. We should boast in His name, and we should not take his name in vain.
I’m going to pass out some Bible verse cards. Some of these verses talk about how we are supposed to treat the name of God and some verses talk about how we are not supposed to treat the name of God. As I pass them out, I will read them out loud. After everyone has a Bible verse card, I want you to sort yourselves into two groups: how to treat God’s name and how not to treat God’s name. (Read each card before handing it to a student. Depending on the size of your class, you may not use all the cards. In that case, be sure to pass out a fairly equal number of positive and negative cards. If you have more students than cards, kids can team up or you can pass out multiple cards of the same verse. After passing out each card, allow the class a few minutes to sort themselves into groups, then spend some time discussing each verse. Following is a list of the verses included in the Bible verse card section. After you have discussed each verse with the class and deemed that they have correctly sorted themselves, collect the cards and have the students sit for the conclusion of the lesson.)
Verses on how not to treat God’s name:
- “You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.” Exodus 20:7
- “Do not bring shame on the name of your God by using it to swear falsely. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:12
- “They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name.” Psalm 139:20
- “You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. No wonder the Scriptures say, ‘The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.’” Romans 2:23-24
Verses on how to treat the name of God:
- “Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the LORD our God.” Psalm 20:7
- “The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10
- “For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’” Romans 10:13
- “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O LORD, do not abandon those who search for you.” Psalm 9:10
(Continue after your class takes their seats.) Great job sorting yourselves into groups! So we see that God’s name is like a special treasure that we must respect. We disrespect God when we swear, and misuse his name, or pretend to be Christians when we really aren’t. (Make a list on the board of the ways we can disrespect God’s name. If time allows, have the class come up with more examples of disrespecting God’s name.) We show God that we love and respect him when we praise him, turn to his name for safety, trust in his name, and call on his name for salvation. When we trust in God’s name and call on his name, he will save us from our sins and we will get to spend all of forever with him! (Make a list on the board of ways to show God that we respect his name. Have the class add to the list if time allows.)
As we go through the next several weeks learning some of the better known names of God, I want you to keep Psalm 9:10 in mind. “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O LORD, do not abandon those who search for you.” (Write this verse on the board before class begins.) This will be our memory verse for this unit of study. We can trust that God is with us as we work to learn some of His names and titles. Before we close in prayer and move on to our craft, I have one more verse to leave you with. In Isaiah 43:1, God tells us, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.” God knows our name. He knows everything about us and, my friends, he loves us very, very much. He loves us so much that he sent his only and only son, Jesus, to live a perfect life and to die on the cross for us, to save us from our sins. As we study the many names of God, let’s not forget that he knows each and every one of our names. Let’s pray and thank God for loving us enough to die for us, and for teaching us about himself through his many names and titles.
Close in prayer.
Craft: Name Art
This is a simple project that yields varying and beautiful results. Students will create a piece of art using their name. Have each child write their name in all caps with a black marker on a sheet of white paper. The name must take up the entire page, from top to bottom and from side to side. The first letter of their name needs to touch the left side and top and/or bottom of the page, the middle letters must touch the top and/or bottom of the page, and the last letter must touch the right side and the top and/or the bottom of the page. All letters must also touch or overlap slightly. The goal is to make enclosed compartments or shapes to draw in using the letters of their names. You may need to help some students with writing their names so it takes up the whole page properly. Some students may need to use a pencil to write their names before going over it in black marker, while other students may do better if they use the black marker on the first go and then must work with what they have from the first try. You know what will work best for your class. After everyone has written their names, use colored pencils or crayons to fill in the spaces made by the touching letters with colors and patterns.