Jonah 3-4 Lesson (step 1) Big Picture Overview

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This lesson continues teaching students the methods of inductive Bible study with Jonah 3-4.  The students will have four lessons discovering ways to study the Word of God deeper for themselves enabling them to study their Bibles on their own.  Our class is recently promoted 4th and 5th grade (9 and 10 years old).  This lesson is an adaptation from the curriculum our church uses.  This is only a guide to share a possible way to use in your classroom.
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.

Scripture: Jonah 3-4 (overview)
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Supply List:  Copies (observation sheets) of Jonah 3-4 for each student, index cards with vocabulary words, word puzzles, work sheet or blank paper for students to record main characters, main events etc. as you read through the passage together.
Learning Goal:  Students will continue to discover and understand the process of inductive Bible study by looking at the big picture (overview) of the passage.
Learning Indicator: Students will be able to identify key/main characters, key places, key theme and the main idea of the passage.
Learning Activity #1:  Word puzzle from Jonah 3
Learning Activity #2:  Matching vocabulary words with the definitions.  Word options:  Calamity-a great misfortune or disaster, Hebrew-one of God’s chosen people, a descendant of Abraham, Jew, or Israelite, Fear the Lord-to know God, to trust God, to respect God, Nineveh-Assyria’s capital, Compassion-a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it
Memory Verse:  Lamentations 3:22-23 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

Bible Lesson:  The Big Picture:  Jonah 3-4

(Once all the students have arrived we clean up and gather to pray together.  Each student praises God for something, thanks Him for something and asks Him for something.  Then we move into our Bible lesson time.)
Over the next several weeks and months we are going to continue to practice in class methods of how to study God’s Word.  The main goal for this repetition is to give you the tools and confidence that will enable you to study God’s Word on a daily basis in your personal quiet time.
(Either the teacher can pray or a student can volunteer to stop before we begin to study God’s word for Him to open our eyes and to see the big picture of Jonah 3-4.)
(5 minutes) Read Jonah3-4 out loud as students follow along on their observation sheets.
(20 minutes) On your worksheet (Discipleland student guides) you have a section that reminds us of the facts we learned as we did an overview of Jonah 1-2.  We are going to fill in the blanks of the keys of Jonah 3-4.  On this first step I want to give you a few minutes to look back at Jonah 3-4 and see what you would title these chapters.  Write down your answers and then we will share what you came up with.  (Depending on your class give them about five minutes for this step.)
Now let’s work together on the key people, places and events from these chapters.  (Ask the students who they see as the key people, places and events and allow them to volunteer their answers.) Let’s write those answers in the correct sections of our worksheet. (This should take about 10 minutes)
On this last step of our overview I am going to give you about 5 minutes to decide what you think the theme of Jonah 3 is.  Do the same thing with Jonah 4. (After they complete this step have students volunteer their answers.)
It’s hard to stop on this step.  Hopefully by just reading the passages to get the big picture it has created curiosity in your heart to want to know more.  Next week we will take a closer look and continue our study methods.
Gospel Connection:
As we read Jonah 3-4 to get the big picture the word compassion is used three times.  The definition of compassion is a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it.
Over and over in Scripture God is referred to as a compassionate God.  God is our ultimate example of compassion. (Psalm 103:13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; Mathew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.)  Every human being that has been born since Adam and Eve disobeyed God is born with sin and is helpless against the power of sin.  Without a cure (remedy) sin will keep every man, woman, boy and girl from eternal life with God.  Left in the helpless condition of sin people die and are separated from God forever in a place called hell.
God is full of compassion!  Not only does He see the suffering and misfortune of the power of sin He has provided the cure to alleviate the suffering and punishment of sin.  God sent His Son Jesus to come to this earth as a man and to live a perfect sinless life.  It was God’s plan all along to send His Son to die in our place for our sin.  Jesus was nailed to a cross and shed His blood for my sins and yours.  Because He was sinless His death on the cross satisfied the punishment God required for the sins of all people.  Jesus was buried and rose from the grave on the third day.  God provided a way to alleviate our helpless sinful condition.  By believing in Jesus our sins are forgiven and can spend the rest of our days on this earth and for all eternity with a right relationship with God.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” The gift of eternal life is for all people.  The only way to receive this gift is to receive it by believing and accepting Jesus as our Savior and only way to be with God.
God is compassionate and does not want anyone to die and be eternally separated from Him.  “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
God had compassion on the people of Nineveh.  These people were cruel enemies who attacked and harmed God’s people.  He saw their helplessness against the power of sin in their lives and showed His compassion by sending Jonah with His message.
As we close in prayer let’s have a few moments of quiet so each of you can silently talk to God about what He is showing you from our time in His Word.  I will close us in prayer after we have a few minutes of time to talk privately with God.

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