This lesson continues the process of teaching older elementary students how to study God’s Word for themselves. The challenge for all people who hear and learn facts from God’s Word is to take what they know and do something about it that transforms their life. There are those who will hear and receive facts and do nothing resulting in an unchanged life. Those who hear and obey will live a transformed life that reflects the Lord Jesus. As students learn to study God’s Word for themselves it is vital that they don’t allow what they learn to remain in their head but transforms their heart.
This lesson was adapted and prepared for older elementary students and can be used as a guide to help you as you prepare for your students. Click here to see the first lesson in this series or or browse all our lessons from the Book of Jonah.
Bible Story: Think about it! Jonah 3-4
Scripture: Jonah, chapters 1 & 2
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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This is the third step of teaching elementary students how to study their Bible inductively. This lesson introduces them to Bible study resources and gives them an opportunity to think about what they are learning from Jonah 3-4. This lesson was adapted for older elementary students and can be used as a suggested guide to help you introduce this study method in your ministry.
Supply List: Observation sheets of Jonah 3-4, pencils, Bible study resources, dictionaries, Bible Maps, Bibles with concordances, etc.
Learning Activity #1: Allow students to complete Bible markings if they were absent during the last lesson or weren’t able to complete both passages.
Learning Activity #2: Using Study Resources-Have students look for Nineveh on a map. Lead them to resource that would give them historical information about Nineveh. As they research Nineveh have them try to find answers to who, where, what, why, when, and how questions. (Example-who did the Ninevites worship? Where is Nineveh located? How large is the city of Nineveh? Why were the Ninevites quick to repent? Etc.)
Memory Verse: Luke 24:45 “Then He (Jesus) opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”
Bible Lesson: Step Three-Think About It (Jonah 3-4)
Pray the memory verse before studying the passage as a class. “Lord Jesus, please open our minds so that we may understand what You are teaching us from Jonah. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.”
We had an opportunity to use tools that give us a better understanding of things we would not know just by reading the passage of Scripture. Having a better understanding of historical background from reliable resources helps us to go even deeper in our study of God’s Word. We really begin to think about what is taking place and the Holy Spirit teaches us and gives us a deeper understanding of who God is and how we can live a life that pleases Him.
We are going to take some time this morning looking closer at a few key words to discover what you learn by asking the questions who, why, what, where, when and how?
(Depending on the size of your class break your class into four groups and have them look up key words and answer questions about them. At the end of the lesson are some optional questions.)
Group 1 is going to look up all the times we marked God in chapter 3 and record what you learn about Him by asking those questions.
Group 2 will look at chapter 4 and do the same thing by looking at the key word God.
Group 3 is going to look at the people of Nineveh and the king and answer the 5 W’s and H of chapter 3.
Group 4 will look at Jonah and answer the 5 W’s and H of chapter 4.
After 10-15 minutes you will share what your group discovered. (Write their discoveries on a board or sheet of paper)
We took time in our lesson today to think about only a few of our keywords and phrases. As we continue to practice inductive Bible study methods it is our prayer that you are feeling more confident and are excited to study God’s Word at home in your daily quiet time.
Jonah was focused on himself. He was more concerned in his own comfort than the eternal destination of the people of Nineveh. Unfortunately followers of Jesus do the same thing today. We have been rescued from the punishment of our sins through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. We forget the great price that was paid for our sins and we begin to look down on others who are still without Jesus. When people are not believers in Jesus they are lost. They are stumbling around in darkness heading to an eternity without God. Sometimes when people hurt us we allow unforgiveness to control our emotions and we act like Jonah. We want people to be punished. Do we really? Do we really want any person to face eternity in the lake of fire? Unless people repent and turn to Jesus they face that eternal destination. Today you may be a believer who has an attitude like Jonah. You don’t really think about others and their need for Jesus. You and I get focused on ourselves and do not obey Jesus’ command to go into all the world and make disciples. If that describes us today, we need to repent and get back on the path that pleases God. As we close in prayer let’s take a few moments to silently talk to God about what we have learned today. If you need to repent, take time to confess specifically to God what sin you are allowing in your life. Tell Him you are sorry and ask for His strength not to continue to sin against Him.
Close in prayer.
Optional questions for 4 groups of students:
God (Jonah 3)-
- What did God tell Jonah to do?
- How many opportunities did God give Jonah to go to Nineveh?
- Why did God not punish the people of Nineveh like He said?
- What are some other things about God that you noticed that were not mentioned in the questions above?
People of Nineveh and the King of Nineveh (Jonah 3-4)
- How do the people of Nineveh respond to God’s message?
- What did the king of Nineveh do when he heard God’s message?
- How many people lived in Nineveh?
- What questions do you have about the people of Nineveh and the king that are not mentioned above?
God (Jonah 4)-
- What are some character traits you learn about God from this passage?
- How does God treat Jonah?
- Why does God have compassion for the people of Nineveh?
- Write another question about God that is not mentioned in the questions above.
- Why was Jonah angry?
- What made Jonah happy?
- Who was Jonah more concerned about?
- Write a question you have about Jonah.