This lesson was first prepared for a 4th Grade Sunday School Class (ages 10-11), but you can easily adapt it for younger students or Children’s Church.
This year, our Children’s Ministry began using a new curriculum (Discipleland). The lessons for our fourth grade class covers the Book of Acts for the entire year. This lesson plan was inspired by my experience teaching that material. This lesson does not reproduce any of their content, but only my own ideas after teaching it. The following notes represent how the Lord led me to teach an overview/review of Acts 1-9 for our class.
Bible Story: A Journey through the book of Acts
Scripture: Acts 1-9 overview
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 12 (U.S. 3rd – 6th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
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- Students will be introduced to an overview of chapters 1-9 of Acts.
- After being introduced to the overview students will learn that they can have Holy Spirit powered lives just as the apostles in the early church did.
Scripture: Overview of Acts 1-9
Memory Verse: Acts 1:8 (NIV) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
As a way to teach the verse draw a large circle on the board with 2 smaller circles inside the large circle. On the center smaller circle talk to the students about what Jesus meant when He told them to be His witnesses in Jerusalem. Use a map (if available) to point out the area mentioned in the verse. (Jerusalem is where the apostles lived.) Place the name of the city or town your church is located in the center circle. Explain that Judea and Samaria were surrounding areas to Jerusalem. In the second circle have a student write the name of the state they are in and some surrounding states. To the ends of the earth would be outside the surrounding states to other countries around the world. Have students write in the 3rd circles some names of countries.
These 3 circles make me think of what happens when you throw a stone in a lake or pond. There is a ripple effect that happens because the rock hit the water. It’s the same with the message of the Gospel. When you and I take that message to others there is a ripple effect that takes place. As you share with others and they believe in Jesus and they share with others, the circle keeps growing.
Play musical chairs and when the music stops have the students recite the verse.
Teacher Preparation: Prepare arrow road signs from construction paper. Label the signs with the words: Luke, Theophilus, The Acts of the Apostles, Works/deeds, Apostles, Witnesses, Power, Holy Spirit, Salvation and Persecution. (The words are underlined in the lesson as a cue to know when to put the sign on the board. As I prepared to teach this overview I envisioned our class taking a trip through the Book of Acts. The ‘road signs’ were a way to focus on particular aspects of the Book of Acts that we would be focusing on in this lesson to prepare them for our study through the Book of Acts.
To enable students to participate by reading verses throughout the lesson prepare slips of paper (I used construction paper) with Scripture references for the words: Power, Holy Spirit, Salvation and Persecution (you will find those references in the lesson). I used four envelopes labeled Power, Holy Spirit, Salvation and Persecution and place the corresponding verses in the envelopes. Before teaching the lesson ask children who are willing to read Scripture references to take a verse and find it in their Bible using the slip of paper as a book mark so they will be prepared to read their verse when it is time during the Bible lesson.
Bible Lesson: A Journey Through Acts 1-9
Give Bibles to any students who did not bring one. Encourage students to bring their own Bible each week. The following lesson is just a guide to help teach students an overview of Acts 1-9. Individualize the lesson to meet the needs of your students.
Let’s turn in our Bibles to Acts 1.
This morning we are beginning a new journey in our class. We are going to be traveling through the Book of Acts. As we take this trip together we will witness some amazing things. As we study and learn together we will learn how we can live powerful lives like the believers we will be learning about.
For the next 12 weeks we will be stopping in chapters 1-9 of Acts learning about believers in the early church.
Before we begin let’s discover who the author of Acts is. Let’s turn to Acts 1:1. Does this verse name the author? No, it names who the author was writing to. What is the person’s name that the author was writing to? (Theophilus-One who loves God) In order to learn who the author is of this book let’s turn to another passage in Scripture that is addressed to Theophilus. (Luke 1:1-4) Do you have a better idea now who the author of Acts is? (Luke) Luke tells us why he wrote the Book of Luke in verse 4. Acts is a sequel to the Book of Luke. How many of you have read a book by an author who wrote more than one book in his/her series. (Have an example to show them. I have read the Left Behind Series by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. This is the first book in the series (Left Behind) and I also have brought the second in the series (Tribulation Force). Acts is a continuation of the Book of Luke teaching us the events that took place after Jesus returned to heaven.
Does anyone know what kind of job Luke had? (Allow students to answer.) Luke was a doctor. It’s very important to back up statements we make about people from the Bible. Does anyone know where we would find that Luke is a doctor? (Colossians 4:14)
When Luke wrote the Book of Acts he didn’t write the book in the English language. Does anyone want to guess what language Luke wrote? Luke wrote in Greek. The Greek title for the Book of Acts (Praxeis Apostolon) when translated into English means The Acts of the Apostles. This sequel that Luke has written will show us the works or deeds that the Apostles did as they obeyed Jesus and went into the world sharing the Good News after He returned to Heaven. The Apostles are 12 men chosen by Jesus to take the Gospel to all nations.
Each week as we read and learn from the Book of Acts, Luke will be the one who shares what he has seen and heard. A person who shares what they have seen is called a witness. That word brings us to our memory verse for this morning. This verse is also the key verse for the entire book of Acts.
Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
When you are on a road trip and start getting hungry what signs do you look for? (Allow students to answer.) As we journey through the Book of Acts, words from this key verse will stand out all along the way. These words will be like road signs we see as we travel together.
Power: What does the word power mean? The Ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something; The possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy (Dictionary.com) Some verses that talk about power in the chapters we will be studying the next 12 weeks are: (Have students with the verses read them as you call them out. Acts 3:12, Acts 4:33, Acts 6:8 and Acts 9:22.)
The power found in these verses came from God in the form of the Holy Spirit. That’s our next road sign that we will continually see throughout the Book of Acts.
Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is the 3rd person of the Trinity. The Trinity is made up of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are equally God with different jobs. After Jesus went back to Heaven the Holy Spirit came and empowered the believers to do the work that Jesus told them to do. (Acts 2:38; 4:31; 5:32; 6:5; 9:31)
While God the Son, Jesus is in heaven with God the Father, God the Holy Spirit gives power to those who believe in Him. He gives them power to have courage and boldness to share with others the salvation message.
The next road sign we will see is salvation. Salvation means be saved from your sins. In the book of acts we will see many people believe in the Lord Jesus and be saved. (Acts 2:41, 4:12 and 5:14) There will be an explosion of faith in people because the Apostles obeyed Jesus. As they were empowered by the Holy Spirit they shared the Good News with many people and as a result many were saved from their sins.
As we see many people saved in Acts, we will also see the apostles persecuted for their obedience to Christ.
The final road sign we are going to discuss this morning is persecution. What does the word persecute mean? To persecute means to harass, or trouble someone with hurtful methods. Some examples we will see in Acts are found in Acts 5:17-18 (Arrested and imprisoned), 7:54-58 (stoned to death), and 8:1.
We have an exciting journey before us! Each week as we see how the apostles served the Lord Jesus I pray that we would serve Him more in our own lives. The power that the Holy Spirit gave to the apostles is available to each one of us who has been saved. As we walk with Jesus each day may we see the Holy Spirit’s power working in our lives helping us to be more like Jesus and being obedient to the command He gave us in Acts 1:8.
As we begin this journey together we need to think about a couple of things. First, have you been saved? The Good News we will hear about each week in our study of Acts is the news that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He was buried and God raised Him from the dead on the third day. When a person believes that Jesus died for his/her sins God saves them from the punishment for their sins. If you would like to know more about how you can be saved please talk to one of us and we will show you from the Bible how you can be saved today.
Second, if you have been saved are you sharing the Good News with others? If you are afraid you need to remember that the Holy Spirit lives in you and will give you power to be a witness for Jesus. Will you pray and ask God to give you His power to share the Good News with others?
Close in prayer.
A way to review the lesson is to take the arrow signs and turn them face down on the ground. As students volunteer to choose an arrow they play a game like Jeopardy and answer with a question. (Example: A student chooses Luke. They answer and say, “Who is the author of Acts?”)
If you prefer to play another game here are some review questions you may want to use:
- Who wrote the Book of Acts? (Luke)
- Who did Luke write the Book of Acts to? (Theophilus)
- What was Luke’s job? (Doctor)
- What language did Luke write Acts in? (Greek)
- When translated into English what is the title of Luke’s Book (Acts of the Apostles)
- What’s another word for acts? (Works/deeds)
- What is the key verse for the Book of Acts (Acts 1:8)
- Name the Third Person of the Trinity. (Holy Spirit)
- Which part of the Bible is Acts found in? (New Testament)
- Who can you share the Good News with this week?
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