Archived Teaching with the Bible Topics  

This website 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 fourth tour of the Holy Lands, enjoy the journey now, and encourage your children or pupils to complete the passport materials and earn a free t-shirt. All requests for t-shirts have to be sent to BibleWise by September 10, 2011.

With school starting, it seems appropriate to look at Jesus' method of teaching. Jesus told stories called parables. Parables were the common means of communication in the Near East. In Greek, "parable" means "to lay alongside something else." In Hebrew, it means "to be like- not it but like it." When you hear a parable, you are to enter into it. Just as speakers today tell stories so you'll remember the points of their speeches, parables were told to help the audience understand and remember the meaning. There are two levels to the parable: the surface or literal and the below-the-surface or figurative.

Jesus' parables were about family life at home, in the village, and in the city. He also included fictional stories about farming, as well as masters and their servants. As Jesus told the parables, he used repetition, just like teachers do today. He also grouped ideas in pairs or threes.

He used humor, metaphors, and overstatements to help people remember what they heard. As the master teacher, Jesus was thoughtful about how the story would come to life in the minds of the listeners.

The parables selected for September illustrate where we build our understanding and faith – on bedrock or sand. The next three parables follow the grouping of three: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. We could easily call it the "trio of founds." The sheep was found, the coin was found, and the son was found— all three finds were followed by rejoicing. The last one is what some scholars call an example, not necessarily a parable, and it is about the Good Samaritan. While teaching these parables, look to modern-day examples to bring these parables to life. For instance, consider which buildings tend to survive earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods. Homes on sand are washed away or crumble into ruins. We can certainly find everyday examples of looking for someone or something lost. We can also look to the media to learn of rescues and rejoicing. There are ample examples of good Samaritans at work in our world, and of the awards given for their kind, altruistic gestures. Help the children find these examples, and think of ways to be a good Samaritan at school, at play, and in the community.

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
Make it a goal this year to memorize a verse a week. 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 who were 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 helpful ways your Sunday school pupils and parents can learn the verses and understand the impact of their messages in 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 for further reference.

Bible Verses
Work with your child and students to learn each verse. Then, discuss the meaning of the verse and how it can be applied to everyday life. 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 during the week.

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

September 4
(GW) 2 Tim 1:7
God didn't give us a cowardly spirit but a spirit of power, love, and good judgment.

  • How does the "spirit of power, love, and good judgment" help us overcome fear?

September 11
(NLT) Matt 11:15
Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!

  • Who do you listen to the most?
  • Tell of an experience when you've heard God speak to you.
  • Why is it important to listen?

September 18
(KJV) Luke 24:27
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

  • Who expounded on the scriptures?
  • Where was Jesus when he shared this information?
  • Name a lesson you think Jesus taught.

September 25
(GW) Matt 7:26
Everyone who hears what I say but doesn't obey it will be like a foolish person who built a house on sand.

  • On what should we build instead of sand?
  • What happens when we build on sand?
  • How can we avoid being foolish?

Translations used:
GW God's Word Translation
KJV King James Version
NLT New Living Translation


Bible Stories about Jesus' parables:

Two Houses
Read Matt 7:24-27; Two Houses

Lost Sheep
Read Luke 15:3-7; The Story of the Lost Sheep; "Lost" Parables; The Good Shepherd

Lost Coin
Read Luke 15:8-10; The Story of the Lost Coin; "Lost" Parables

Lost Son
Read Luke 15:11-32; A Boy Comes Home; Prodigal; The Prodigal Son

Good Samaritan
Read Luke 10: 25-37; A Man Who Cared; The Good Samaritan; The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan; The Good Samaritan; The Good Man




Bible Overview continues our study of the Christian Apocrypha with the Gospel of the Savior.

BibleWise Guest, Lynne Bundesen—Author, shares her discovery of the feminine nature of God as Mother, which comes directly from Biblical text. Read on to learn about women of the Bible and the Christ.

Hot Topic - What has to happen in our lives for us to receive the abundance that God wants to give us and is giving us? Read "Abundant Blessings" and discover what the Bible has to say about changing our perspective as well as praying, thinking, and acting in ways that we will experience the abundance that God sends our way continually.

Parenting - This month as school starts for most children, we are rerunning one of Caryl Krueger's Parenting articles on Back to School, Back to Basics.


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: What is a parable?
Discuss what a parable is and how it is used. Have students select their favorite parable, and explain the literal and the metaphorical meanings. How can they use this parable in everyday living?


Exercise: Role Playing in depth
Learning to forgive is an active part of the "lost" parables. It is easiest to see the forgiveness in the Prodigal son. Who needs to be forgiven and why?

But, when you look at the parables of the lost sheep and coin, it's harder to see who or what needs forgiveness. Who or what is it?

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 our lives.

You can create scripts or have the children write the scripts – especially the dialogue between the prodigal son and his father and brother. Start with the son asking for his inheritance and the father and brother's responses. Likewise, consider the monologue of the son, when he realizes that his so-called friends have deserted him. Develop the script of the son's return.

Use the Good Samaritan parable, and give each person a voice.

  • Discuss the kinds of fears the Jewish man may have with a Samaritan caring for him. How did his view change about Samaritans?

Exercise: Story Telling Time
Read Luke 15:3-32 – the "lost" parables.

Describe each character in all three parables.

Ask the students to select current television or film personalities to star in a movie of "The Losts." They should cast the following:

  • shepherd
  • sheep
  • woman with the missing coin
  • prodigal son
  • father
  • some of the son's friends
  • brother

What did they discover about each character?


Exercise: Take any of these parables and write the script in today's language and situations. Make it relevant to today.


Exercise: Create a grid for the parables we will use over the next two-three months. List the book in which the parable is found.

Print/Download - Blank Grid to Use in Your Sunday School Class

Discuss each parable with your class. Have members of the class compare the different parables they selected and explain why they chose them.

Parable of… Found
in which Gospel?
of the parable?
was the audience?
How would you use this parable today?

Exercise: Take some of Jesus' parables, and put them on note cards. Have each student draw a card, and give an example of how to use this parable today.


Exercise: Two Houses

Print/Download - Two Houses


Exercise: Vanishing Letters

Print/Download - Vanishing Letters
Print/Download - Vanishing Letters Answer Sheet




Exercise: Lost Sheep Maze

Print/Download - Lost Sheep Maze
Print/Download - Lost Sheep Maze Answer Sheet


Exercise: Lost Sheep

Print/Download - Lost Sheep
Print/Download - Lost Sheep Answer Sheet


Exercise: Lost Coin

Print/Download - Lost Coin
Print/Download - Lost Coin Answer Sheet


Exercise: Just One

Print/Download - Just One
Print/Download - Just One Answer Sheet


Exercise: Rags to Riches

Print/Download - Rags to Riches
Print/Download - Rags to Riches Answer Sheet


Exercise: The Prodigal Son's Journey

Print/Download - The Prodigal Son's Journey
Print/Download - The Prodigal Son's Journey Answer Sheet


Exercise: Helping Others

Print/Download - Helping Others
Print/Download - Helping Others Answer Sheet


Exercise: The Good Samaritan Crossword

Print/Download - The Good Samaritan Crossword
Print/Download - The Good Samaritan Crossword Answer Sheet


Exercise: Muddled Facts

Print/Download - Muddled Facts
Print/Download - Muddled Facts Answer Sheet

  Bible Stories about Jesus' parables.

Two Houses
Read Matt 7:24-27; Two Houses

  • What is a parable?
  • Describe what makes a man wise.
  • What makes a man foolish?
  • Which type of house would you build?
  • Where shouldn't you build a house?
  • Why shouldn't we build on sand?
  • What is "sand" thinking and acting like?
  • What is "rock" thinking?
  • Why is "rock" thinking better than "sand" thinking?
  • What was Jesus teaching us?
  • What kind of a foundation have you established with God?

Lost Sheep
Read Luke 15:3-7; The Story of the Lost Sheep; "Lost" Parables; The Good Shepherd

  • After you have read this parable, explain the surface message and then the underlying meaning.
  • If you had 100 sheep and one was missing, would you go look for it?
    • Or would you think, I have 99 so why look for the lost one?
  • Who was going to watch the 99 sheep while the shepherd was gone?
  • What does this story tell us about God's love for us?
  • Why do you think Jesus told this parable?
  • What does it mean to you today?
  • Try retelling it in modern words.
    • Is there anything in your life or in the media that might suggest looking for the lost at any cost?

Lost Coin
Read Luke 15:8-10; The Story of the Lost Coin; "Lost" Parables

  • Read this parable and explain it in today's language.
  • What is Jesus talking about?
  • How many silver coins did this woman have?
  • Why was it so important that she find the silver coin? [It was all she had left of her dowry]
  • What is a dowry?
  • Why did she ask her neighbors to celebrate with her? [It was the custom in those days for her to tell everyone it was lost. If they had been in her home, they would be suspect, so when she finds the coin, all her neighbors are relieved and filled with joy.]
  • What kind of a search do you do when you've lost something?
    • Do you enlist anyone else's help in finding it?
    • How do you feel after you've found the lost item?
  • Why is this parable important for the people Jesus talked to? To Us?
  • What does the coin have to do with salvation?

Lost Son
Read Luke 15:11-32; A Boy Comes Home; Prodigal; The Prodigal Son

  • What is this story about? Money? Wild living? Stubbornness? Forgiveness? Anger?
  • Who wants his share of the family inheritance?
    • Why?
    • Is there some sibling rivalry?
  • Are you aware that both boys receive their inheritance at the same time?
  • Who received more? (the older usually receives a double portion)
  • What does the younger brother do with his money?
  • Was the famine in the land representative of the son's behavior or was it a real famine, like Joseph experienced in Egypt?
  • What must it have been like for everyone to desert him?
  • Have you ever found that if you have some money, everyone wants to be your friend until the money is gone?
  • What was this experience telling him about true friendship?
  • How do you make friends?
  • What is important in a friendship?
  • Did his dad kick him out of the house for asking for his inheritance?
  • How do you think the mother felt about this? (she's not in the story, but think about her response)
  • Where did the son go when he was penniless?
  • What did he end up doing to earn food and shelter?
  • Why was this a repulsive activity? (Jews saw pigs as unclean)
  • What did he think about while feeding the swine?
  • What did he decide to do?
  • Can you see that he disliked feeding swine so much that he was willing to return home to a situation that caused him to leave?
  • When he returns, how does his father greet him – with anger? with "I told you so"? with love?
  • What does the father do to make the son feel at home?
  • How might the mother have greeted him?
  • Why does the older brother get angry?
  • Do you think the older brother was justified for being upset that his brother got a party?
  • What was the father's message to the younger son?
  • What was the father's message to the older son?
  • Was this a case of unconditional love?
  • If you had been the mother, what would you have said to your sons?
  • If you were the older brother, what do you think the father/mother should have done to your brother?
  • Why did the older brother think the younger brother should be punished?
  • Do you want to see people punished before you forgive them?
  • What things are happening in the world today that require forgiveness?
  • What do you think of the father's handling of things?
  • What makes a good father?
  • What qualities would make a good mother in this instance?
  • Are these the same qualities you find in God as Mother?
  • What qualities would make a good brother?
  • What do you learn about judging others from this story?
  • Think of a modern day story that would be like the Prodigal son.

Good Samaritan
Read Luke 10: 25-37; A Man Who Cared; The Good Samaritan; The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan; The Good Man

  • Read the complete story.
  • Who challenged Jesus?
  • What are the two great commandments?
  • How does Jesus define "neighbor"?
  • Who is our neighbor?
  • What kind of story does he tell the lawyer? (parable)
    Retell the story.
    • Who might the people be today?
    • What if the injured person were someone from a different ethnic group than you?
      • Would you stop to help?
      • Why do you think the two Jews walked away from him?
    • Describe the Samaritan.
    • Why was it so unusual for him to stop and tend to the man's wounds?
    • What did the lawyer learn from this parable?
    • What lessons did you learn from this parable?
    • How can we all express more compassion and care for one another?
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