Lesson: Philemon (Overview/Closer Look)

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This lesson continues the process of introducing students to inductive Bible study.  As the students study Philemon they will combine 2 steps (overview, closer look). Click here to see the next lesson on the book of Philemon.
(Personal note:  Due to ministry changes at my church and lack of teachers I have a combined class of newly promoted 4th & 5th graders.  The curriculum I have been given for my class is geared for older children (Level 6 Discipleland).  This is how I adapted the lesson for my students.  I do not have an assistant so each week can feel like a success and some weeks it feels like I spent the majority of the time dealing with disciplinary issues.  This ministry is not mine it is the Lord’s.  Each week I pray for Him to equip me and enable me to teach the lesson to minister to the needs of the students He is going to bring.  He is faithful to answer prayer and even if I feel like nothing went according to what I planned in advance I rest in God’s provision and equipping power to bring forth fruit in the lives of these students. May this give you comfort and encouragement as you prepare each week not sure if you are making a difference in the lives of your students.)

Bible Story:Philemon-Over/Closer Look
Scripture: Philemon
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Learning Goal:  Students will learn from Paul’s example to Philemon that believers should always speak the truth in love to others.
Supplies:  Enough copies of Philemon (I cut and paste from an online Bible site and remove titles and print the sheets so students can mark on them) for each student, Bible marking bookmarks (Create your own for the students to have or type the key words/phrases on a sheet of paper allowing them to create ways to mark the specific word/phrase), colored pencils/pens,
Activity:  While waiting for all the students to arrive have them begin to mark key words and phrases on their Philemon observation sheet.  (Key words/phrases for our class:  Paul, Philemon, Onesimus, In Him/In Christ, Grace, prayer, faith/believe/believed, brother/sister/saint, prisoner of Christ/imprisonment for the Gospel,
Memory Verse:  Romans 9:1 “I speak the truth in Christ-I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit.

Bible Lesson: Philemon-Overview and Closer Look

 (Begin with prayer) 
(5-7 Minutes) Teacher read Philemon as the class follows along.
(10-15 Minutes) Work together asking volunteers for:

  • Title for this book
  • Main Characters
  • Main Places
  • Main Events
  • Overall Theme of the book

(15-20 Minutes) Complete Bible Markings that you have chosen for students to mark in each verse.  Since time was allowed at the beginning of class for students to begin this process.  Doing this with younger students is a longer process and has been more successful if I take them through each verse (I have already marked my observation sheet) and tell them which words to mark in each verse.  (They use a Bible marking bookmark as a guide to mark the words/phrases)
Gospel Connection:  In Christ was a key phrase that we marked in Philemon.  To give an illustration of what that phrase means let’s draw a circle on the board and write Jesus Christ in the center of the circle.  Inside this circle we will draw stick figures with a cross through their centers representing believers.  Outside of the circle we will draw stick figures representing sinful people.  The stick figures inside the circle have not always been inside the circle where Christ is.  They once were outside the circle walking in disobedience to God and blinded to the truth of who Jesus is.  Jesus is the only way to be made right before God. Before anyone can have a relationship with God the Father they must believe in His Son Jesus.  The moment he/she believes they are protected from the punishment of sins because Jesus died on the cross in his/her place.  Those outside the circle of Christ are not protected from God’s coming punishment.  If they choose not to believe in Christ they will be punished for their sins and be separated from God’s presence for all eternity in a place called hell.  As we prepare to pray, which stick figure represents you?  Are you in Christ or are you outside?  Close in prayer.

1 thought on “Lesson: Philemon (Overview/Closer Look)”

  1. I read your “personal note” today on the lesson about Philemon. I, too, sometimes wonder if my lesson is sinking into the hearts of the 5-6 year olds that I teach, especially on days when it seems they all ate worms for breakfast and are so very wiggly. Your note reminded me to prepare and ask God to equip me, then leave it in God’s hands for him to bear fruit through the lesson. Just wanted to say your note was a blessing to me!

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