Jonah 1-2 Lesson (step 2) A Closer Look

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This is the second lesson for teaching older elementary students how to study the Bible for themselves.  The students look closer at key words and phrases of Jonah 1 and 2 and mark them.  This is an adaptation from DiscipleLand’s Bringing the Bible to Life for our class’s needs.  It is a suggested guide to help you teach your students and can be adapted to your ministry’s needs.
Click here to see the Big Picture lesson on this same passage that should be taught the week before. You can also see the third part of this lesson or or browse all our lessons from the Book of Jonah.

Bible Story: Closer Look at Jonah 1-2
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
Printer Friendly Bible Lesson: [print_link] this lesson plan
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Supply List:  Observation sheets (copies of Jonah 1-2) for students to mark key words/phrases, color pencils, Bible marking bookmark (I created my own taking ideas from Kay Arthur’s style of marking key words), memory game, items for introduction memory activity, copies of hidden picture,
Learning Goal:  Students will learn to look closer at a passage of Scripture by marking key words and phrases.
Learning Activity #1:  While students wait for everyone to arrive have them play a memory game.
Learning Activity #2:  Hidden Picture page 
Memory Verse:  Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law.”

Bible Lesson:  A Closer Look at Jonah 1-2

Activity to Introduce Lesson (Idea from Discipleland):  Place several different shapes, sizes and color items on a table and cover with a towel or sheet. (A list of what I used is at the end of the lesson.)  Allow students to view objects for 1 minute.  Cover the objects and let them record on their piece of paper objects they saw.  Ask detailed questions about objects-name items, smallest item, largest item, items with a certain color, items with writing on them, etc.)
We had an opportunity to look at the items but didn’t have time to examine the details of each item.  When we study God’s word we do something similar.  If we just read a passage and that’s all we will walk away with some facts about what we read.  If we go back and examine the facts for greater detail we learn more about the passage we are studying.
Last time we looked at the big picture of Jonah 1-2.  Now we are going to look closer at the details of these chapters.  Each of you were given a bookmark with examples of how we will mark the key words in the passage we are studying.
Let’s recite our memory verse (have it written somewhere that all students can see).  We learned in our first lesson of this series that the Holy Spirit teaches believers to understand God’s Word.  Whenever we prepare to study we should always begin with prayer.  This memory verse is a great prayer for each of to stop and pray before we begin studying God’s Word.  Let’s pause right now to pray and ask God to help us discover wonderful things in His Word.
Last week we looked at key people, places, event and the big idea.  Today we will get a closer look at each of those items by marking those key words.
Key People:  We discovered that the key people in Jonah 1 were God, Jonah and the sailor/captain.  As I read through Jonah we are going to mark each time we see a reference to God.  Look at your bookmark at how we will mark God. (Read and stop each time a reference to God is made so the students can stop and mark it.)
Next we are going to mark Jonah.  After Jonah we will mark sailors and the captain.
Key Places:  Let’s underline twice each location that is mentioned in this chapter.
Key phrases (event):  We are going to underline the phrase ‘from the presence of the Lord’ each time it is mentioned. The other event in this chapter is the storm.  Let’s mark each time the storm is mentioned.
Another key phrase in this passage (NASB) is ‘appointed’ let’s mark it when see it.
Let’s move to Jonah 2 and continue marking our observation sheet.
Who were the key people in chapter 2?  (Jonah and God) Let’s mark them as we did in chapter 1.
The key event in this chapter is Jonah praying to God.  Let’s mark any word that refers to pray.
Next time we will use our sheets and look again at the key words that we marked and look even closer at the details to learn more about these things.
Gospel Connection: 
As we have used 2 methods to study Jonah 1 and 2 it’s hard for me not to jump in and teach the lessons that are in these chapters.  We will do that together as a class to learn what God is teaching us about Himself and what we can do to apply His Word to our lives in our next two lessons.
Each time we meet I always want to present the Good News about the Lord Jesus.  Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  He was buried and rose again the third day.  God has placed key people in each of our lives that tell us about Jesus (someone brought each of you to Sunday school).  Each of us have events in our lives that either cause us to run into God’s presence or run from God’s presence.  If you are an unbeliever you don’t have to run any longer.  Jesus doesn’t want anyone to live an eternity separated from God.  He invites all to accept His gift of eternal life by believing He died in our place.  Believing in the Lord Jesus as Savior saves us from the punishment of our sins and allows us to spend eternity with God.
As a believer who has been given the gift of eternal life do you spend each day staying in God’s presence by studying His Word and obeying His Word?  Do you think that you have eternal life and it’s ok to do what you want to do in your life without seeking God’s wisdom?  If so that kind of thinking leads you out of the presence of God.  Repent (turn away) from living a self-centered life and live walking daily in obedience to God’s instructions to you.
Close in prayer.
(Note:  We ran out of time to mark all key words and phrases.  I am going to use the time in our next class that we usually have activities for students while they wait for others to arrive.  The students who were unable to complete this and those who were absent will have an opportunity to complete during this activity time.)
Objects for memory activity:

  1. Knitting needle (Blue, number 11 on end)
  2. Portable cd player (Red, writing on it)
  3. Flash light (Red and black writing on it)
  4. Squeezable light bulb (yellow, writing on it)
  5. Empty seed packet (colors, writing)
  6. Cookie cutter (sailboat, blue)
  7. Bell (red ribbon tied around it)
  8. Pizza (squeezable, writing, colors)
  9. Rock (heavy, white/gray browns)
  10. Angel (pin, colors, engraving)
  11. Toy solder (smallest item, beige, broken hand)
  12. Marker (sharpie, orange/gray, writing
Additional Resources for Teacher:  
Wrong Way Jonah!by Kay Arthur and Janna Arndt with Scoti Domeij
Bible Marking Sample:

Markings for Key Words
God (LORD)-LORD is another name that means God) (draw a purple triangle and color it yellow)
Jonah-(color the word orange)
Where-(locations underline twice with green)
Storm (calamity) (draw a blue wavy line under the word and red wavy lines over the word and color the word red)
sailors-(color it blue)
pray (cried, call) (using purple draw a half circle under the words pray, cried, call and color the word pink)
captain (color it red)
appointed (color it green)
from the presence of the LORD (underline in purple)
Time phrases- Mark anything that tells you when with a green clock or circle.
holy temple (color it blue)

1 thought on “Jonah 1-2 Lesson (step 2) A Closer Look”

  1. I love your lessons and I am grateful for them. I teach and create all the lessons for a small Episcopal church in Lakewood Ranch Florida. I feel one part of this lesson which is so amazing is how God uses this storm also to convert the sailors. They realize his power, glory. might and love! They become his. Every interaction we have with God gives the Holy Spirit power to us to reach others, even when we are not at first listening.!!!

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