David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18-20) Lessons about Friendship

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bible lessonsThis free Children’s Church lesson plan was first written for elementary aged students. It covers the story of the friendship of David and Saul’s son, Jonathan. Use this material in your children’s church.
Be sure to consider your own ministry context and modify it as needed. We’ve tried to include enough activities to allow some choice in your lesson planning. Look for additional teaching ideas and resources linked at the bottom of this page. Click here to browse all our children’s Bible lessons. There is also a preschool version of this lesson plan.

Bible Story: David and Jonathan
Scripture:  1 Samuel 18:1-4, 19:1-7, 20:12-42
Target Age Group: Kindergarten – 5th grade
Category: Children’s Church Lessons
Target Time Frame: 40 minutes
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Learning Objectives: After this lesson, the children will demonstrate an understanding of the story by talking with a neighbor about the main events.
Items Needed:

  • Bible: 1 Samuel 18:1-4, 19:1-7, 20:12-42.
  • Play-dough, blocks, puzzles for the children to choose from
  • Jonathan’s Secret Code Sheet per child (download here) pencils
  • Whiteboard, whiteboard markers
  • Optional story booklet (download here)

Worship: Use David Songs (PDF) to lead the children to sing before the Bible lesson. You can also browse our suggested kids worship songs.

Teaching Plan: David and Jonathan

Welcome Activity: Welcome activities are things to have out for the children to do as they are arriving for class. These activities will get them engaged as soon as they arrive and will help the transition from their parents.
Have a few choices available for the children to play with, like playdough, blocks and puzzles. Encourage the children to play together. As the children are playing together, comment how they are being good friends. Be specific with your praise. For example, “Julia, I really like how you gave your friends some blocks to use. That’s really being a good friend.”
Worship: David Songs
Lesson Introduction: Talk with the children about being friends. What makes a good friend?

  • What part of the Bible is 1 Samuel in? The Old Testament
  • What book of the Old Testament is 1 Samuel? #9

Read the Bible Story:  1 Samuel 18:1-4, 19:1-7, 20:12-42 (NIRV) aloud to the children. Prepare in advance and read the relevant passage with feeling and good storytelling skills. For younger children, you can use our printable story booklet (download here).
Discuss Bible Lesson: Be sure to bring out the main events.

  • David and Jonathan become friends.
  • Saul (Jonathan’s father) wants to kill David.
  • Jonathan saves David from being killed by his father.

Learning Activities

Printable Worksheet: Jonathan’s Secret Code Sheet (download here) Have the children work in pairs to complete the activity sheet
Activity: Bible Verse Memorization: “Jonathan and David became close friends. Jonathan loved David just as he loved himself.” 1 Samuel 18:1

  • Jonathan and David became close friends: shake someone else’s hand
  • Jonathan loved David: give someone else a hug
  • Just as he loved himself: give yourself a hug
  • 1 Samuel 18: hold up ten fingers and then eight fingers
  • 1: hold up 1 finger

Do this a few times with the children. Make it fun for them to do the motions and say the words. Involving them in active learning is essential for memorization.
Activity: Friendship Charades
“We have been talking about friends today. How many of you have friends? (allow for responses) What does it mean to be a good friend? (allow for responses…as the children are saying things, write them down on the white board) What do you like to do with your friends? (allow for responses…as the children are saying things, write them down on the white board)
We are going to practice the things you said about being a good friend and things you like to do with your friends. Let’s get started!”

  • Have the children act out the items you wrote down on the white board.
  • Make sure each child has a chance

Evaluation: Have the children talk with a neighbor to talk about the main events of the lesson.

New Sunday School Curriculum: Our Bible lessons are designed to keep the kids’ attention and show how God's Word makes a difference. Every series is flexible enough for a wide-age group and affordable enough for small churches. Download a free Bible lesson in pdf or view our latest Sunday School curriculum for small churches.