Hello folks, how has your week been? Almost half-term and I know that for some of you, you already have children at home and getting a bit of the lockdown déjà vu already…hang on in there, you got this ✊
This week we are up to Acts Chapter 17 and are looking at the first half of the chapter, to verse 15.
- 2 truths, 1 lie! Have a few rounds with your household and see if you can fool anyone!
- Can you play some games of True or False with your kids? Here’s some questions to get you going:
- The Bible is split into 2 sections. True or False? (True)
- Jesus’ mum was called Molly. True or False? (False)
- Saul and Paul are the same person. True or False? (True)
- Morag’s favourite colour is green. True or False? (true 😉)
- Scotland is better than England. True or False? (True)
You get the idea!
Here is the passage from the International Children’s Bible:
Paul and Silas in Thessalonica
1 Paul and Silas travelled through Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica. In that city there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 Paul went into the synagogue as he always did. On each Sabbath day for three weeks, Paul talked with the Jews about the Scriptures. 3 He explained and proved that the Christ must die and then rise from death. He said, “This Jesus I am telling you about is the Christ.” 4 Some of the Jews were convinced and joined Paul and Silas. Many of the Greeks who worshiped the true God and many of the important women joined them.
5 But the Jews became jealous. They got some evil men from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot. They ran to Jason’s house, looking for Paul and Silas. The men wanted to bring Paul and Silas out to the people. 6 But they did not find them. So they dragged Jason and some other believers to the leaders of the city. The people were yelling, “These men have made trouble everywhere in the world. And now they have come here too! 7 Jason is keeping them in his house. All of them do things against the laws of Caesar. They say that there is another king called Jesus.”
8 When the people and the leaders of the city heard these things, they became very upset. 9 They made Jason and the others put up a sum of money. Then they let the believers go free.
Paul and Silas Go to Berea
10 That same night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. There Paul and Silas went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 These Jews were better* than the Jews in Thessalonica. They were eager to hear the things Paul and Silas said. These Jews in Berea studied the Scriptures every day to find out if these things were true. 12 So, many of them believed. Many important Greek men and women also believed. 13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, they came there, too. They upset the people and made trouble. 14 So the believers quickly sent Paul away to the coast. But Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea. 15 The men who took Paul went with him to Athens. Then they carried a message from Paul back to Silas and Timothy. It said, “Come to me as soon as you can.”
* In the NIV, it describes the Berean Jews ‘of more noble character’. It might be helpful to explain this to your child as ‘better’ could mean anything!
This one is from Holy Tails and tells the whole of the chapter, but that’s ok:
This one is related to the passage and recaps last week’s story too. It’s just about Paul and Silas’ story:
Ages 3-7: After retelling the story or watching the video, have a short discussion 😊 You can use this account of the story to retell it, if you like:
Paul and those travelling with him went to a place called Thessalonica. When they got there, Paul went to tell the Jews at the synagogue all about Jesus and that he is the Saviour of the world. He showed them parts of the Old Testament to help them learn that God said he was going to send a Saviour and Jesus was him. Some Jews believed Paul and so did other people from the city and they started to follow Jesus too.
But some Jews didn’t believe him and did not like Paul telling other Jews to follow Jesus and so they went into the market-place and found some bad guys who they knew would fight. They went looking for Paul and Silas at a man called Jason’s house because they thought they were there, but they weren’t. So, they dragged Jason and some others to the people in charge of the city and tried to get them into trouble. They said Jason was causing trouble by telling people to follow the way of another king called Jesus, but Caesar is actually the king. They didn’t know what to do but in the end they let Jason and the others go free after they had paid a lot of money to the officials.
That night Paul and Silas left quickly because they knew angry people were looking for them. They went to a place called Berea and started to teach the Jews there that Jesus was the Saviour. The Jews here were different to the Jews in Thessalonica and wanted to be sure that everything Paul was saying was actually true. They didn’t just believe it or say ‘Naa, it’s not true’, they studied their Bibles to see if he was right. A lot of them found that Paul was telling the truth about Jesus being part of God’s plan all along and he really was the Son of God and Saviour.
Guess who found out about this though? The Jews in Thessalonica! When they heard what was happening in Berea, they got mad again and so they went to Berea to try and stir up trouble for Paul and Silas again! This time, Paul was sent off again to stay out of the way of the angry mob and he went to a place called Athens. Silas and Timothy stayed behind a little longer.
Use the following as a discussion starter if you like:
- In the story some people were happy to listen to Paul and Silas telling them about Jesus, some people were really cross about it and some really wanted to know if Paul was telling the truth. We know we should always tell the truth because it is so important that people can trust us.
- Pray together about being people who find it easy to be truthful and also that we would be noble like the Berean Jews and test what we hear before accepting it.
Ages 7-11: After reading or retelling the story, ask the following review questions:
- How many times did Paul go to the synagogue on the Sabbath to teach that Jesus is the Messiah? (3)
- Who believed in Jesus because of this? (Some Jews, a lot of God-fearing Greeks and few important women)
- What did some jealous Jews who didn’t believe in Jesus do? (Got a load of nasty characters together to start a riot, looking for Paul and Silas)
- Whose house did they go to thinking Paul and Silas would be there? (Jason’s)
- Where did Paul and Silas go to to get away? (Berea)
- What was the difference between the Jews from Thessalonica and the Berean Jews? (The Berean Jews were more open to hearing what Paul had to say and then studying the scriptures themselves to see if it was true.)
- Who stirred up trouble in Berea causing Paul to be sent away? (Jews from Thessalonica)
Other discussion-based thoughts and questions to share:
- Talk about ‘truth’. We live in an age of relatives and where absolutes are becoming less and less, talk about the importance of knowing truth and how it doesn’t change. You can use ‘fake news’ stories and rumours to talk with you child/ren about the importance of testing out what you hear or are told. Sometimes people simply make mistakes and get things wrong and pass on false news or lies that way, but sometimes people do this on purpose and are actively wanting to mislead and steer people away from the truth. Talk about the need to study the Bible for ourselves to see what God says, rather than just hoping and trusting that people like Neil and me are telling it straight!! The Berean Jews were a great example of this. Because they didn’t just accept or reject, they believed as a result of their studying and I bet if asked, they could say exactly why they now believed in Jesus.
- The accusations against Paul, Silas and Jason and others was that they were teaching people about ‘another king’ when Caesar was the king. Sometimes it can be easy for us to follow the ways or rules that other people live by, without noticing that it might be different to how Jesus would want us to live.
- 7s-11s: Make a Cone of Truth, like mine in the video! Print a template and decorate it and use it as a tool to help explain what truth is to someone and the story you heard today!
- In the story we hear how important it is to know the truth. Jesus said He is the truth so have a go at creating the picture like the one below using this template. You can use lolly sticks if you have them or whatever bits and bobs you like!: