Use this free Bible lesson with school-aged children to help them understand the nature of God. It’s based on Paul’s teaching in Acts 17 as he shares the Gospel with the people in Athens.
Lesson Title: Who is God?
Bible Reference: Acts 17:16-34
Target Age Group: Elementary School
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: One Hour
Image Credits: Sweet Publishing and Distant Shores Media
Memory Verse: “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and Earth and does not live in temples built by hand.” –Acts 17:24
Gospel Connection: As children grow up it will be harder for them to understand who God is. In this lesson, Paul tells them exactly who he believes that God is. Acts 17 helps us to understand who God is and encourages us to tell others about our Almighty God.
- To understand who God is according to Acts 17.
- To be encouraged to tell others who God is.
Basic Supply List:
- Chalk/Dry Erase Board
- Chalk/Dry Erase Marker
- Metal Clothing Hangers
- Hole Puncher
- Foam Shapes
- 5 buckets/bowls
- Bean bags
Note: 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 < < < <
Introduction: Begin by posing this question to the class: Who is God? Write this question at the top of the chalk board and create a KWL chart under the question. To do this divide the board into three parts. On the left side of the board write, What We Know. In the center write, What we Want to know. On the right side write, What we Learned. Allow the children to write what they know about God on the K side of the chart. Next, ask them what they want to know about God. List this in the center of the chart under the W section. When you are done reading the passage, you will fill out the L side of the chart and see if the passage answered any of their questions. This chart will help them organize their thoughts about God and remember what they learned.
Biblical Evidence: Begin by telling the children that they will be reading a story about Paul today. Paul was a missionary and in Acts 17 he is travelling to the city of Athens to teach the people there about God and his son, Jesus that saved them from their sins. The people in Athens believed that God was real, but they also believed that all of the other gods of false religions were real as well. When Paul arrived in Athens he called the people out and taught them that there is only one God. Let’s read Acts 17:16-34 to learn about who God is.
Read or have a child read Acts17:16-21. Say, When Paul entered Athens he talked to everyone that would listen to him and told them all about Christ. He told people who were like him and he told people who were very different from him. The people of Athens could have had Paul kicked out of the city or sent to jail for proclaiming that Jesus was God’s son, but he trusted God and boldly told them about God anyway. The people in Athens were typically educated and enjoyed debating the latest religions, even though they didn’t understand that what Paul was saying was true. Finally, Paul is invited to speak to a group of people at a place called the Areopagus.
Read Acts 17:22-23. Say, While wandering through the city Paul saw an alter that said: To an Unknown God. He took this opportunity to tell the people about the one and only true God.
Read Acts 17:24-25. Say, In this passage, Paul teaches that God is the Creator. He created the world. He created us. He doesn’t rely on humans to serve him because He created them in the first place.
Read verses 26-27. Say, From this passage we learn that God is the Ruler of the world. He created all of the people in the world and determined their lives. He rules over everything that happens in the world and has placed us in a place where we can best serve him.
Read verse 28. Say, In this verse we see that we are dependent upon God. God is the Sustainer. He sustains our life and allows us to continue to live on this Earth. He sustains us through good times and bad times. We need him in our lives. Without him we could do nothing.
Read verse 29. Say, In this verses we are called God’s offspring. That means that we are his children. We have been adopted into his family. God is a Father to his children. He is not an image or an idol that we cannot reach, but our Father. He loves us because we are one of his own.
Read verses 30-31. Say, In this passage Paul reminds us of the very real reality that God is Judge. When we die, we will be judged for our sins. If we know Jesus and are a child of God, then Jesus will serve as a sacrifice for our sins. However if we do not believe in Jesus, then we will be on our own and will have to pay for our own sins. This payment is death and an eternity spent away from God and His Heavenly Kingdom. God is our Father and our Sustainer, but to those who do not know Him, he is also Judge.
Lastly, Read verses 32-34. Say, The people listened to what Paul had to say. Some believed and others did not. But, Paul was not discouraged and staying in Athens and continued to teach the people about God.
Complete the Chart: At this point in the lesson, invite the class to tell you what they learned through the lesson and write what they learned on the L side of the chart. Look at the W side and see if their questions were answered or if they still have questions about God that they want to ask. Emphasize that God is the Creator, Ruler, Sustainer, Father and Judge. Ask them if they know any other roles that God plays in their life. Explain that though God is these five things, that he is also so much more. He is a complex being and cannot be fully described using five words, but these are a big part of who he is.
Who is God Mobile Craft: Create a Mobile with 5 parts to represent five of the different roles of God. Use a metal hanger as the top of the mobile. Give each child six foam shapes. Write God Is on one shape and attach this to the wire hanger by tape or by tying it on with string. On the other five shapes write Creator, Ruler, Sustainer, Father, and Judge. Use a hole punch to make holes in these shapes and then use a ribbon to attach them to the bottom of the metal hanger. They can then hang up their mobiles as a reminder of who God is. So, each child will need 1 hanger, 6 foam shapes, 6 pieces of ribbon/string, markers and a hole puncher.
Bean Bag Toss: For this game you will need 5 buckets and several beanbags. Divide the kids into two teams. Place the buckets in a row with the first bucket closest to the children and the last bucket the furthest away. They will get one point for the closest bucket, two for the next bucket and so on. The teams will take turns tossing the bean bags into the bucket. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Review Game: Use the following questions to review the story and lesson.
- What city was Paul traveling to when his story took place? Athens.
- What did Paul find written on an alter in the city? To the Unknown God.
- Who did Paul say that the unknown God was? Our God.
- What are the five roles of God that we learned about in Acts 17? Creator, Ruler, Father, Sustainer, Judge.
- How is God a Creator? He is a Creator because created the world and everything in it.
- How is God a Ruler? God is the ruler of the world because he has created us and determined where and when we would live. He also put us in a place where we would reach out to him.
- How is God a Sustainer? God is our Sustainer because we can’t do anything without him. We are fully dependent on him.
- How is God our Father? God is our Father because he adopted us as his own when we trusted in Jesus as our savior.
- How is God a Judge? God is a Judge because he will eventually judge each and every person on the earth. He calls for his people to repent and trust in Jesus.
- How did the Council respond to what Paul had to say? Some were curious and wanted to hear Paul speak again. Others, such as Damaris and Dionysuis, believed what Paul said.
Conclusion: Close the lesson by praying with the class. Remind them that they can be bold like Paul and share the gospel with others. Challenge them to think of one person that they can tell about Jesus this week. Have them pray silently for that person, then pray for all the children out loud.