This is lesson #4 in our curriculum called “God’s Good Rules” that helps children study the Ten Commandments. Download the complete printable lesson plan below. See all the lessons and find bonus learning activities on the series page: God’s Good Rules – A Study for Children on the 10 Commandments.
“God’s Holy Name”
Lesson #4 in the God’s Good Rules Series: Bible Curriculum for Kids on the 10 Commandments
About this Lesson Plan
Main idea: We keep God’s name holy by our words and our actions.
Supplies Needed: Bible; dry erase markers or chart paper and markers; Third commandment coloring page; blank paper; black markers or crayons; coloring supplies. For bonus ideas, see all our resources for teaching the 10 Commandments to Kids
Bible Memory Verses: Psalm 119:1-2 “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.”
- Exodus 20:7
- Psalm 30:4
- Romans 10:13
- Colossians 3:17
More 10 Commandment Learning & Activities
- See our printable 10 commandments for kids version
- Compare our single Ten Commandment Sunday School Lesson
- Compare our single Preschool Bible Lesson on the Ten Commandments
- Moses and the Law of 10 Commandments (preschool coloring page)
- PDF Worksheets on the 10 Commandments
- Commandments Preschool Booklet [pdf] and Mini Book [pdf]
- Moses Songs for Preschoolers
- Go Fish Guys sing the 10 Commandment Song
- See the 10 Commandments for Kids on Sunday School Works
Teacher Devotion & Lesson Preparation
Read Scripture references, Psalm 96, Isaiah 42:8, Romans 2:21-24, Matthew 6:9
Take time to meditate on
this week’s Scripture and think about your own life. As I studied to write this
lesson, I came across something that really challenged me. God expressly tells
us not to take his name in vain. This means we are not to destroy his name or
make it useless or meaningless. And yet, in almost every single translation I
have ever read, God’s name is replaced with “the LORD.” I’ve always heard that
it was out of reverence for his holy name, but I am not sure that is how God
wants us to view him. He gave us his name. Isaiah 42:8 starts out by saying, ““I
am the Lord; that is my name!” His name is Yahweh, “I am who I am.” I feel that
we have lost something holy in replacing the name of the Lord. It is easier for
me to flippantly speak of God, but I cannot bring myself to utter the name
Yahweh with anything less that great fear and respect. His reputation is holy.
His very name is holy. We have emptied Scripture of this holy name. I know many
people wish to not use His holy name. I thought the same for a long time. I
encourage you that as you meditate on the third commandment this week, that you
would consider how you feel about the name Yahweh and why you came to the
conclusion you did concerning speaking his name. Whether you choose to say his
name or not, focus this week on ensuring that your actions and words honor our
Game to Introduce the Lesson “The Name Game”
This is a simple game that you have likely played before, in some variation. Have your students stand in a circle, facing inward. Students go around saying their name with a simple action. The first student says their own name and action. The second must say their name and do their action, and then the name and action of the first student. The third must first do their own, and then the second, then the first. As play moves through the circle, students must repeat more names and actions, until play returns to the first student.
For some variations, you
could have older students come up with an action that matches their personality
or interests, such as standing in first position for ballet dancers or playing
air piano for pianists. You could also play a version where if the player makes
a mistake, they are out. I would not recommend this for younger students.
Younger students could say the name of an animal and be that animal as they go
around the circle. Find a version that will work best for your students.
Kids’ Bible Lesson: God’s Holy Name
Open in prayer, then say, today’s game was all about our names. It’s nice to hear someone call you by your name, isn’t it? It is not fun to be teased or called names that aren’t kind. For today’s lesson, we are going to discuss the most important name of all.
We have been learning about the Ten Commandments, which God gave to Moses for all the people of Israel after rescuing them out of slavery in Egypt. The Ten Commandments are for us, too, since God has rescued us out of the slavery of sin! These rules help us to live safe and happy lives with one another. Today, let’s look at the third commandment. You’ll find it in Exodus 20:7. Turn there with me now and let’s read it together. (Quoted here in the New Living Translation. Feel free to read from your preferred translation.)
“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.”
What do you think this rule means? (Allow students to answer.)
Now this commandment can seem pretty straightforward. I have heard it taught in a very simple way before, and perhaps you have heard this explanation before. First, I’ll explain the simple way most people explain this commandment, and then we’ll look at it a little closer and see if there is more that we can learn from it.
Most of the time, when people talk about the third commandment, they talk about not using God’s name as a cuss word. Sometimes, when people are angry or frustrated, they will say God or Jesus in a way that is not kind, sometimes with other words that God does not want us to use because they are not kind or helpful. God definitely does not want us to say unkind, hurtful things when we are upset. I’ve also heard people refer to our Lord as “the old man upstairs.” Now that doesn’t even make sense. God is not an old man, and I’ve never seen a staircase I can climb to get to him, because he’s already in my heart. Saying things like that shows that we don’t really respect God. His name is holy, special, and that’s how we should treat it.
Let’s have a sword drill to see an example of how we should treat God’s name. Take all fingers and bookmarks out of your Bibles. Close them, and hold them above your heads. When I say go, turn to Psalm 30:4. Go! (Read, or have a student read, Psalm 30:4.)
“Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name.” Instead of using God’s name when we are angry, we should use it when we are happy and celebrating!
Another way to think about God’s name is to think about more than just his name, Yahweh. When people talk about names, sometimes they don’t mean what to call them, but they mean a reputation, a way of thinking about someone. For example, C.S. Lewis has a reputation for writing really good books. Toby Mac has a reputation as a Christian musician. Walt Disney was a real person who lived not too long ago, but most people only know Disney as a place or a movie company. We probably have not met any of these people. But we know their names and know their reputations.
When we become Christians by asking Jesus to forgive us of our sins and live in our hearts, we become like Jesus. Romans 10:13 tells us,
“For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
We trust in Jesus’s reputation, in the things he has done. He lived a perfect life and then died on the cross so we don’t have to be punished forever for our sins. When we turn to Jesus, we expect certain things. We expect him to love us and forgive us and to help us obey him. When people see a Christian, they expect certain things. They expect us to be kind, generous, and helpful, for a start. When we love God, we should show it with our actions. We should be kind and helpful and friendly and obedient to our parents and teachers. When we don’t do the things the Bible tells us to, even though we say we love God, it gives God a bad name, a bad reputation. If we still disobey and are unkind and unhelpful, does that help people get to know how loving and amazing God really is? (Allow students to answer.) Of course not. When we say we love God but act like we don’t, that is misusing God’s name.
One last thing before we move on to our craft. We now see that we break the third commandment, “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God,” when we use the name of our Lord in hurtful, angry ways, and when we act in ways that damage God’s reputation by showing the world around us that we do not really believe that it is important for us to obey the Bible. Now let’s look at a Bible verse that will help us remember to do good things, instead of just trying to not do wrong things. Turn with me to Colossians 3:17. (Read, or have a student read, Colossians 3:17. Quoted here in the ESV.)
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
This week, as you practice keeping God’s name holy, remember to thank God for loving you and sending Jesus to die for you and then live in your hearts! Let whatever you say and whatever you do show to everyone you meet that God is good. Remember this week, we keep God’s name holy by our words and our actions. Let’s wrap up by listing some ways you can keep the third commandment this week by doing everything and saying everything in the name of Jesus.
(List student examples on the board. Some ideas include thanking God when they make a touchdown in football, reading their Bible during free time at school, praying before lunch even if no one else does, sitting with the lonely kid, doing their chores before they are told and doing them well, sharing with and helping younger siblings, etc.)
End in prayer.
Craft: 3th Commandment Coloring Page
Have children write their name on the coloring page. As they color, discuss with them what they learned today. They may take the coloring pages home, or you may collect them to put together into a book to be sent home at the end of the unit.
“Most Beautiful Name” Art Project
Pass out a blank sheet of paper to each student. Explain that they will make a piece of art to hang in their homes to remind them of the most beautiful and holy name, to help them remember to keep the name of God the most important in their lives. Using black marker or crayon, have them write “JESUS” as large as they can, taking up the entire page. The J should touch the left hand side of the page and the last S should touch the right hand side. Some of the letters should touch the top and/or bottom of the page as well. Have them decorate around the name using bright colors. They can do designs, patterns and pictures to help remind them of Jesus and his goodness.