Lesson: Paul and the Bereans – Reading the Bible for Yourself

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Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to show students the importance of personally studying the Bible.

Needed: Bibles, candy

Intro Game: Telephone 

Whisper a simple message in one student’s ear and have them whisper the message to the next person. Students pass the message along as best they can until it reaches the last person. The last person says the message out loud to see if it matches the original message. Start with a simple message and work up to something more complex.


Read Acts 17:10.

“As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue.”

When Paul and Silas got to the town of Berea, where did they go? (They went to the Jewish synagogue.)

What do you think a synagogue is?

“Synagogue” means “church.” Paul and Silas went to the Jewish church.

Why do you think Paul and Silas went to the church? What were they doing there? (Paul and Silas went to the church to tell the people there about Jesus.)

(Read Acts 17:11.)

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

The Bible says that the people in that church in Berea were of noble character. What does it mean for someone to be of noble character? (It means that they do the right thing.)

And what was the right thing that the people in the church in Berea were doing?

They received Paul and Silas’ message with great eagerness. That means that they believed in Jesus when Paul and Silas told them about Him. And they examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. That means that when Paul and Silas told them about Jesus, they went home and read their Bibles to make sure Paul and Silas were telling them the right thing.

When your Sunday School teacher or the pastor tells you something, do you go home and read your Bible to check if it’s true, to check if what they told you was right?

We should all be reading the Bible for ourselves, not simply waiting and letting other people tell us about it. When a Sunday School teacher or a pastor tells us something in church, it’s kind of like playing the game Telephone. We’re hearing the message from someone else, not the original source.

The Bible is the original source, and the Sunday School teacher or the pastor is simply telling you what they heard from the Bible. Maybe they didn’t hear it right. Maybe they forgot part of it and didn’t tell you the whole thing. That’s why you should go back to the original source, the Bible, and read the original message for yourself. That way, you’ll know if other people are telling you the right thing or not.

(Read Acts 17:12.)

“As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.”

Game: Musical Chair Share 

Play Musical Chairs. Remove one chair. When the music stops, the person without a chair must say one true thing about themselves. Remove no more chairs. No one leaves the game. Play until interest fades. When the game is over, explain that the Bible is like the game students just played. They told true things about themselves in the game, and the Bible is the place where God tells us true things about Himself.

Game: Sword Drill 

Explain that the Bible calls the Bible a sword because it is our weapon to fight the devil. If we know what the Bible says, we will be able to defeat the devil when he tries to tempt us to do bad things. So, to start learning how to use our sword and how to read the Bible for ourselves, we’re going to play a game called Sword Drill.

The teacher will call out the name of a book in the Bible and students race to get there the fastest. The first to find the book gets a piece of candy. Students who can’t read can be paired up with older students, and both receive a piece of candy if they win. Students who are having trouble may be assisted by the teacher or by another student. Play as long as seems appropriate.

If your students are doing well, you can make the game harder by listing a chapter and verse or a person in the Bible instead of the name of the book only.

Closing Prayer

Father, thank You for giving us Your Word, the Bible. Help us to be like the Bereans and study the Bible for ourselves so that we can know what it says and follow it for ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Paul: The Odd Apostle.

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