Archived Teaching with the Bible Topics  

This web-site is for everyone interested in learning more about the Bible.

This section helps Sunday school teachers find new ways of teaching familiar materials. Our goal is to augment lessons you may already have in your Sunday school curriculum.

If you haven't had an opportunity to visit our third tour of the Holy Lands, enjoy the journey now.

The theme for this year has been to look at people in the Bible and how they put God first in their lives. We are continuing with this for the next few months and possibly into next year. Learning to live the first commandment is so important in our on-going relationship with God.

This month we'll look at how Jacob learned to put God first, and how his son, Joseph, intuitively knew putting God first would deliver him from horrible situations.

The entire Activities section is divided into

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Memory Work
Discussion Questions

You can now download all three sections for ease in using these materials for teaching.




Teachers and Parents
It is so important to encourage our little ones as well as ourselves to memorize Bible verses and stories – to become so familiar with the passage or story that its timeless relevance appears to us more and more clearly with every retelling. A major difference was evident between Sunday school pupils required to tell the story versus those who gave nodding recognition to the same story. We
cannot overlook the significance of memorizing a verse or story.

Consider sharing with your Sunday school pupils and parents ways to help little ones learn the verse and understand the impact of the message on their lives.

  1. Write out or type this week’s Bible verse on a card and place it on a mirror the child uses each day.
  2. Place the verse for the week in his/her lunch box.
  3. Ask the child to recite the verse before or after grace at the dinner meal.
  4. Practice as a family at dinner, going around the table with each one saying a word until the verse is complete.
  5. Put the verse to music. Create your own tune for each Bible verse. Create pictures to help remember the verse.
  6. Write it in a Bible verse notebook as many times as you can.

Bible Verses
Work with your child and your students to learn each verse. Then, discuss the meaning of the verse and how it can be applied to everyday lives. On Sundays during class, riding in the car, or at dinner, it's fun to share stories of how the children have used the verse in their lives that week.

We provide memorization verses for each week. You can add your own.

September 6
(NLT) 1 Cor 1:9
God will surely do this for you, for he always does just what he says, and he is the one who invited you into this wonderful friendship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Have you made God your best friend? Why or why not?
  • What does it mean to be friends with God? With Jesus?

September 13
(NCV) James 4:4
So, you are not loyal to God! You should know that loving the world is the same as hating God. Anyone who wants to be a friend of the world becomes God's enemy.

  • Why would loving the world make you God's enemy?
  • Why is it important to be loyal to God?

September 20
(NCV) Prov. 3:3
Don't ever forget kindness and truth. Wear them like a necklace. Write them on your heart as if on a tablet.

  • Why is it important to be kind and truthful?
  • With a new school year starting are there some new students that could use your kindness?
  • In what ways do you show kindness to classmates? Friends? Family?

September 27
(NCV) 1 Cor 13:1
I may speak in different languages of people or even angels. But if I do not have love, I am only a noisy bell or a crashing cymbal.

  • How are you treating your new classmates with love?
  • Which is more important your words or your actions? Why?

Translations used:
NCV New Century Version
NLT New Living Translation


Bible Stories
Bible Stories are about how Jacob and Joseph learned to put God first.

Jacob Steals Esau's Blessing
Read Genesis 27; Jacob Gets the Blessing; How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing

Jacob's Dream
Read Genesis 28; Jacob's Dream; Jacob's Lonely Journey and His Wonderful Dream

Jacob Wrestles with an Angel
Read Genesis 32:21-32; Jacob and the Angel; A Midnight Wrestling Match (Read the reconciliation of Jacob and Esau in Genesis 33)

Joseph's Gets a Coat
Read Genesis 37; Joseph's Beautiful Coat; The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave

Joseph Remained Steadfast
Read Genesis chapters 40-45; Joseph Obeys God; A Secret Message; A Surprise Visit; From the Prison to the Palace; How Joseph's Dream Came True; A Lost Brother Found




Bible Overview looks at The Life and Times of Paul VII (Paul's Journey to Rome)

Hot Topic - Education: Credentials or Character?

BibleWise Guest this month is Nancy Higham – Retired Educator (Teacher, Program Director, and Principal).

Parenting with the Bible takes a look at Tranquility in the New School Year.

Holy Land Tours
If you missed the online Holy Land Tours it's not too late to enjoy from Jericho to Jerusalem.


Exercise: For those of you who took the tour and created your own travel journal, prepare a presentation for your Sunday school or church membership and share what you learned.


Exercise: Last month we asked you to list your goals for the new school year. Since our theme for this year is putting God first, was that one of your goals? Why or why not? Discuss the importance of putting God first in all your school activities from attending classes; doing homework; chatting at the lockers, on the playground, and at lunch; practicing sports, music, and art; getting along with parents, siblings, friends, and other family members; completing household chores; and preparing for any social or church activities. If you haven't prayed before going to school, or before a class starts, or before an athletic competition, or before you open your mouth in response to some unkindness, start now. Keep a record of the difference between "God first" and "me first" activities. For those of you dating, don't forget to pray before each date. You'll be amazed what wonderful things happen when you put God first and acknowledge His presence in your life.


Exercise: Role Playing
Learning to forgive in light of all that is going on in the world is important. Let's help our pupils love more for every hate, forgive for every intended or unintended hurt or put down, and let the mind of the Christ be active in all our lives.

You can create scripts or have the children write the scripts – especially the dialogue between Jacob and Esau as young boys. Continue the scripts/role playing as Jacob deceives Isaac for the blessing and the subsequent fall out between the brothers.

  • Have each child pray aloud his/her prayer to God for the first night on the run to Uncle Laban.
  • Talk about Jacob's dream and realization of God's presence. When have they felt God's presence the most?
  • Discuss the kinds of fears Jacob has in returning to see his brother.
  • Once again, have each student play Jacob and pray aloud his/her prayer the night before going to see Esau. In reading the account in the Bible (Genesis 32:24-32) with what is Jacob wrestling?
  • What does Jacob discover about his relationship with God? Esau? Himself?

Exercise: Story Telling Time - Read Genesis 25:20–33:17

Print/Download - Story Telling Time

Describe their looks, habits, hobbies, behavior.

Ask the students to select current television or film personalities to star in a movie of Jacob and Esau. They should cast the following:


Have them go back and read the story of the two brothers. Talk about their birth and what kind of friends they were as they grew up.

What did they discover about each character?

How should we treat our brothers and sisters?


Exercise: Students Make Lentil Stew
Nurturing our pupils in and out of Sunday School provides a wonderful opportunity to make the stories of the Bible come alive and show the children how much we love them. Olene Carroll, author of Bible stories for children and tour guide to the Holy lands, shared this experience she had with her Sunday School class.

I tried an experiment. I invited 3 Sunday School girls (8 yr olds) over to our house and we experienced the Bible first hand. I provided all the ingredients for lentil stew. We told the story of Jacob and Esau from Genesis 25:29-34 and the selling of the birthright.

Then we:

  • popped the peas and beans out of the pods,
  • ground the coriander and cumin in the mortar,
  • cooked the stew in an iron pot,
  • made a yogurt topping;
  • set up a low table with cushions surrounding it;
  • set out pita bread,
  • broke it and ate the stew by pinching it inside the bread;
  • mashed some grapes and drank the juice;
  • ate fresh figs for dessert.

We also related the meal to the Mary and Martha story. [Luke 10:38-42]

We learned even more about life in Bible times as we watched part 1 of Matthew on video.

The girls worked the maze from of the steam coming from the lentil stew.

We'll continue next week with making clothes for ourselves out of cotton cloth and we'll paint it with a stripe or two as if we had woven it. We also have directions on how to make sandals out of leather and lamps out of clay. We have many more things to learn this summer.

It's not SS, it's more vacation Bible school, but it's a way to enhance what the girls are learning and make the Bible come alive.

I must add that the preparations for the stew took longer than expected---almost two hours. A surprising element was the dried lentils. I thought we might have to soak them overnight, but the recipe called for "green lentils," which were very small and cooked up just fine without soaking. The adults loved the taste and smell of the stew, as Esau did. But the children preferred peanut butter.


Exercise: Telling the Story of Joseph

A Sunday school teacher from Dallas, Texas sent us this wonderful activity to use in telling the story of Joseph.

Activity: Story of Joseph
(For 3 year olds, but can be adapted for older students)

Purpose: Both Joseph and Daniel experienced the fear of being thrown into a pit or den. We all have “pit” experiences. How did these Bible characters overcome adversity and rise to greater heights?

Black “feely” box (or paper bag that children can reach into without seeing the contents)
Slips of paper (two for each child in your class)


  1. Prior to Sunday School, write one word on a slip of paper for each student in your class. These words should represent Joseph’s uplifted state of thought as he emerged from the pit. The word list might include: humility, love, trust, and gratitude. Wad each piece of paper into a ball and put it in the box or bag (the “pit”). (The children will be asked to pull out a wadded ball of paper, leaving the flat slips of paper in the box or bag.)
  2. For each child in your class, write a word on each piece of paper such as: fear, anger, hurt, sadness, revenge, etc. (How do you think Joseph may have felt about his brothers? about his absence from his family? about the experience inside the pit?)
  3. Give each child a slip of paper with one of the words in #2 and have them “drop” them into the box or bag (the “pit”). Say “_______ went into the pit with Joseph.”
  4. Have each child reach into the box or bag and bring out a wadded piece of paper. Say “ ________ came out of the pit with Joseph.” Have them open the wadded piece and read/ help them read the word on the paper.

Summary: This was a very quick activity that I used with my 3 year-old class after reading/telling the story of Joseph and the betrayal by his brothers. Although the narrator of the Bible account does not provide a great number of details about Joseph’s state of mind, we know that Joseph was a changed young man after this experience. Although a captive in Egypt, he rose above his challenging circumstances through hard work, humility, intelligence, loyalty, and, above all, an abiding trust in God. The lists of fine qualities that Joseph expressed are numerous. The story of Joseph provides a valuable lesson for all ages in helping us rise above life’s challenges and grow into men and women of God’s creating!

Jane Fuller


Exercise: Joseph's Coat

Age: Young children

This is a fun activity to complement the adventures and trials of Joseph. Before you begin this project, be sure you spend ample time reading and discussing the story of Joseph. As you talk about the story, emphasize and ask questions about the qualities that Joseph expressed; for example, the qualities of trust and forgiveness. Joseph expressed trust when he was put in the pit. He trusted God and knew that God was going to take care of him, no matter how deep and dark the pit seemed; and Joseph definitely expressed forgiveness and love towards his brothers, even after they tried to hurt him. This is a fun activity for children to learn to recognize how we reflect and express God's qualities.


  • A picture or cutout of a 6-8 inch biblical man. (This can be found in many
    Christian activity workbooks at Christian bookstores.)
  • Colored glitter glue sticks or magic markers. (Colored glitter glue gives a wonderful texture and shimmer, but plain markers will work.)
  • Construction paper


  1. Cut out a Joseph (biblical man) for each child.
  2. Cut out a coat that will fit on top of Joseph.


  1. Glue Joseph on a piece of colored construction paper and have the children color Joseph. (Put Joseph on the left hand side of the paper so there is room to write next to Joseph.)
  2. Glue Joseph's coat on top of Joseph.
  3. Decorate the coat by having the children draw stripes of 5 different colors on the coat. Each color will represent a quality Joseph expressed. As a group, decide what quality will be assigned to each color. For example, red might be for trust, blue might be for forgiveness, etc.
  4. As the children are decorating their coats, ask each child to share how he/she expressed one of Joseph's qualities. (Maybe a child expressed forgiveness when a brother took one of his toys.) They may need a little help in this part, but it is important for the children to see that they express the same God-like qualities as Joseph did.
  5. Next to Joseph, make a key to the colors and qualities. For example, put a red stripe and then write the word trust next to it.
    By the end, you will not only have a coat of many colors but you will also have a coat of wonderful God-like qualities that we all can wear.

Submitted by Sally S. Johnston Charlottesville, VA


Exercise: Get out your crayons and enjoy coloring the pictures of Jacob Dreams and Joseph Being Thrown into a Pit by His Brothers.

Print/Download - Jacob Dreams
Print/Download - Joseph Being Thrown into a Pit by His Brothers


Exercise: Break the Code – Jacob

Print/Download - Break the Code – Jacob
Print/Download - Break the Code – Jacob Answer Sheet




Exercise: Jacob's Ladder

Print/Download - Jacob's Ladder
Print/Download - Jacob's Ladder Answer Sheet


Exercise: Esau Greets Jacob

Print/Download - Esau Greets Jacob
Print/Download - Esau Greets Jacob Answer Sheet


Exercise: Map Fun

Print/Download - Map Fun
Print/Download - Map Fun Answer Sheet


Exercise: Joseph, the Favorite Son Maze

Print/Download - Joseph, the Favorite Son Maze
Print/Download - Joseph, the Favorite Son Maze Answer Sheet


Exercise: Joseph Crossword Puzzle

Print/Download - Joseph Crossword Puzzle
Print/Download - Joseph Crossword Puzzle Answer Sheet


Exercise: Do Your Best

Print/Download - Do Your Best
Print/Download - Do Your Best Answer Sheet


Exercise: Be Like Joseph

Print/Download - Be Like Joseph
Print/Download - Be Like Joseph Answer Sheet


Exercise: Computer Glitch

Print/Download - Computer Glitch
Print/Download - Computer Glitch Answer Sheet


Exercise: Adding It Up

Print/Download - Adding It Up
Print/Download - Adding It Up Answer Sheet


Jacob Steals Esau’s Blessing
Read Genesis 27; Jacob Gets the Blessing; How Jacob Stole His Brother’s Blessing.

  • What did Rebekah hear Isaac tell Esau? (Gen 27:1-5)
  • What did she ask Jacob to do? (Gen 27:6-10)
  • Why didn't Jacob think her plan would work? (Gen 27:11-12)
  • Were Rebekah and Jacob wrong for deceiving Isaac?
  • What is the importance of the blessing?
  • How do you think Esau felt when he didn't get the blessing? (Gen 27:38,41)
  • What did Esau promise to do to Jacob? (Gen 27:41)
  • Has anyone ever taken away something very important to you? What did you do?
  • What did Jacob have to do? o Who was hurt by this deception?
  • Do we ever benefit from deceiving someone?

Jacob's Dream
Read Genesis 28 Jacob's Dream; Jacob's Lonely Journey and His Wonderful Dream

  • Where did Jacob go to sleep?
  • Have you found it tough to go to sleep if you've done something wrong?
  • What is a "guilty conscience?"
  • What happened when Jacob fell asleep?
  • What did he see?
  • Have you ever talked with an angel?
  • What did these angels ascending and descending a ladder represent? [God's messages flowing to Jacob's consciousness.]
  • Does Jacob say anything about a dream when he awakes? [No.]
  • What does he talk about?
  • Why does he appear surprised that God was there? [Remember the guilty conscience?]
  • What does God's presence tell Jacob?
  • Does God only love us when we are good?
  • What does this experience do for Jacob?
  • What does Jacob promise God before leaving Bethel?[Gen. 28:20-22]

Jacob Wrestles with an Angel
Read Genesis 32:21-32 Jacob and the Angel; A Midnight Wrestling Match (Read the reconciliation of Jacob and Esau in Genesis 33)

  • If someone had threatened your life, how would you feel about seeing that person?
  • Do you think Jacob was worried about seeing Esau again?
  • What happened after Jacob sent his family over the brook? (Gen. 32:21-32)
  • Who is Jacob wrestling with?
  • How much of this wrestling is a fight with his fears?
  • Does he prevail against the angel?
  • What does the wrestler give Jacob?
  • What is the significance of the name change? [change in nature]
  • When you feel afraid or feel guilty about something you've done, do you wrestle with your thoughts?
  • Why was it important for Jacob to feel blessed?
  • Did this blessing mean more to him than the one he stole from his brother?
  • Why is it important to see everyone as though we are seeing God face-to-face?

Joseph's Gets a Coat
Read Genesis 37; Joseph's Beautiful Coat; The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave;

  • What is Jacob's new name?
  • What kind of garment did Israel make for his son?
  • Describe Joseph. What do we know about him? [17 years old; beautiful coat; Dad loves him more than his other brothers; tattle-tale; dreamer, braggart]
  • What angered Joseph's brothers?
  • Do you know someone like Joseph?
  • There are three nasty behaviors listed in the first four verses of Gen. 37. Name them. [Tattling, favoritism, and envy]
  • What's a tattletale?
  • Have you ever been a tattletale?
  • Who played favorites? Why?
  • Do you play favorites?
  • What is envy? Why were Joseph's brothers envious?
  • What did Joseph dream about? (Gen. 37:5-11)
  • Why did his brothers get upset over Joseph telling them about the dream?
  • Why do you think he told his brothers the dream?
  • Do you think Joseph was taunting his brothers or was he innocently sharing his dream?
  • Why did the dream upset Jacob?
  • What were the consequences of Joseph sharing this dream?
  • Why did Joseph's brothers throw him in a pit?
  • What is revenge? Is revenge ever right?
  • Who stopped them from killing Joseph?
  • What happened to Joseph after he was thrown in the pit?
  • Would you ever do anything like that to your brother or sister or friend?
  • What did Joseph's brothers do to his coat?
  • What did the brothers tell their father?
  • How did Jacob react to the news about Joseph?
  • Why did they lie about Joseph?

Joseph Remained Steadfast
Read Genesis chapters 40-45; Joseph Obeys God; A Secret Message; A Surprise Visit; From the Prison to the Palace; How Joseph's Dream Came True; A Lost Brother Found.

  • Who took Joseph to Egypt?
  • How old is Joseph when he arrives in Egypt?
  • What happens to Joseph when he gets to Egypt?
  • Do you think being sold as a slave was a cruel act by Joseph's brothers?
  • How could they live with their decision?
  • What would it be like to be sold as a slave?
  • Who bought Joseph? (Gen. 37:36)
  • What happened to Potiphar's household when Joseph starts working? (Gen. 39:2-3)
  • What kind of a position did Potiphar give Joseph? (Gen. 39:4-6)
  • What changes do you think took place in Joseph during this time?
  • How would you feel if you were sent to a foreign country and never heard or saw anyone in your family again?
  • What do you think made Joseph care enough to be so good?
  • What kind of faith did Joseph have?
  • Who took an immoral interest in Joseph? (Gen. 39:7-20)
  • How did Joseph handle the situation?
  • Wouldn't it be understandable to give in to Potiphar's wife? After all, Joseph's family had deserted him. Would that make it right?
  • Discuss the difference between explainable and excusable behavior?
  • If Joseph had given in to Potiphar's wife, would that have been explainable behavior or excusable behavior?
  • How did Potiphar's wife frame Joseph?
  • Does this kind of thing happen today?
  • What did Joseph benefit from his goodness/kindness? (Gen. 39:20-23)
  • Do you realize Potiphar had grounds for killing Joseph?
  • Why do you think he didn't kill Joseph?
  • Do you think he believed his wife?
  • Did the prison sentence shake Joseph's faith?
  • He is sold as a slave and becomes second in the household of Potiphar. He is thrown in prison and is put in charge of the prisoners. What does this tell us about Joseph?
  • Name two prisoners in jail with Joseph. (Gen. 40:1)
  • What did they do wrong?
  • Who did Joseph say was responsible for interpreting the dreams? (Gen. 40:8)
  • How is this response different from when he told his brother about his dreams?
  • Describe the dream of the butler. What did Joseph tell him about his dream? (Gen. 40:9-13)
  • What did Joseph ask the butler to do? (Gen. 40:14-15)
  • Describe the dream of the baker. What did Joseph tell him about his dream? (Gen. 40:16-19)
  • Were Joseph's interpretations correct?
  • Why does it seem as though Joseph was denied justice?
  • Have you ever felt unjustly accused of doing something wrong? If so, how did you deal with it?
  • How long does Joseph have to wait to get out of prison? (Gen. 41:1)
  • How does Joseph get out of prison?
  • Who told the Pharaoh about Joseph's ability to interpret dreams? (Gen. 41:9-13)
  • What was Pharaoh's dream? (Gen. 41:17-24)
  • Why was it significant?
  • Who did Joseph give credit for the interpretation of the dream? (Gen. 41:16)
  • What was the interpretation of that dream? (Gen. 41:25-37)
  • How did the interpretation of that dream alter Joseph's life? (Gen. 41:38-52
  • While in Egypt, Joseph moved from being a slave to second-in-command under Pharaoh. Who was responsible for his meteoric rise to power?
  • What did Pharaoh give Joseph?
  • What was the name of Joseph's wife?
  • What were the names of their two sons?
  • What were Joseph's new responsibilities? (41:53-57)
  • How old was Joseph when he started his new duties? (30)
  • Think back to Joseph's earlier dream that he shared with his father and brothers. Was that dream fulfilled? How?
  • Who sent Joseph's brothers to Egypt? (Gen. 42:1-2)
  • Which brother did not travel to Egypt? (Gen 42:4)
  • What did Joseph call his brothers? (Gen. 42:9,14)
  • Did the brothers recognize Joseph?
  • Who is Reuben referring to in Gen. 42:22? [Joseph]
  • Do you think the brothers felt guilty about what they had done to Joseph? Why?
  • What do the brothers have to do to prove they aren't spies? (Gen. 42:34)
  • Who stays behind in prison? (Gen. 42:24)
  • Is Joseph being unfair to his brothers?
  • Is Joseph acting out of resentment and revenge?
  • What is his motive for keeping Simeon?
  • How do you think Joseph felt when he saw his brothers again?
  • What would you have done if you were Joseph?
  • Why did Joseph return his brother's money with the grain?
  • What do you think the brothers thought when they saw the money?
  • What were Benjamin's brothers willing to do to ensure Benjamin's safety? (Gen. 42:37)
  • Have you ever lost something or someone who you loved? How can you heal the pain?
  • Why were Joseph's brothers afraid of Joseph?
  • Whose health did Joseph ask about? (Gen. 43:28)
  • Where did Joseph sit when he and his brothers were having dinner? Why? (Gen. 43:32)
  • What did Joseph have his servant put in Benjamin's bag? (Gen. 44:2)
  • Why do you think Joseph was testing his brothers?
  • How do you challenge a lie? How do you decide when to speak up and when to stay silent?
  • What did Judah tell Joseph to convince him to enslave himself rather than Benjamin?
  • Why did Joseph cry? (Gen. 45:1)
  • According to Joseph, why was he in Egypt? (Gen. 45:5-8)
  • How did God take care of Joseph and his entire family? (Gen.45:17-20)
  • What can we learn from Joseph's defeats and triumphs?
  • Tell about a time when you've had to trust in God even though the situation was pretty bad. What truths helped?
  • How do you think Joseph's brothers felt when they discovered him alive and powerful? Do you think they had mixed emotions?
  • Have you ever wished you hadn't done something? Would you like to be forgiven?
  • Why do you think Joseph was able to forgive his brothers?
  • What did Joseph tell his brothers to do?
  • How did God comfort Jacob before he moved to Egypt?
  • How do you think Jacob and Joseph felt when they finally saw each other after so many years?
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