In a world that can communicate almost instantaneously through text, email, and social media, it’s hard to imagine there are still 1.5 billion people without a full copy of the Bible in their own language.
Bible translators have yet to produce a version of the Bible in over 2,163 languages. (according to Wycliffe Bible Translators)
God’s Word and access to it is a gift that helps us learn about who God is and helps us grow in our relationship with Him.
Use this Junior High Ministry Lesson on God’s Word to teach students that God’s Word works in the hearts of those who believe.
– Nick Diliberto, Junior High Ministry
JUNIOR HIGH MINISTRY LESSON ON GOD’S WORD
Bible: 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NLT)
Bottom Line: God’s Word works in the hearts of those who believe.
- Bibles (one per team)
- Copies of “Hidden Message” PDF – included in the PDF download of this lesson (one per team)
- Pen/pencil (one per team)
OPENING GAME: HIDDEN MESSAGE
Divide students into teams of 3-4 people.
Give each team a Bible, a copy of the “Hidden Message” PDF (included in the PDF of this lesson), and a pen/pencil.
Have teams spread out across your meeting space.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
Say: Today, we’re talking about God’s Word.
Some people might think that the Bible is complicated to understand and you need to be highly intelligent to read it.
But, we’re going to learn that God gave us His Word to help us learn about and grow closer to Him – so, He wants us to understand what it says.
In this game, the message won’t be quite as clear.
I’ve divided you into teams, and I’m going to give you 5 minutes to decipher the “hidden message” on the piece of paper I’ve given to you.
It might not be as easy as you think, but if you work together, you can figure it out.
You have all the tools you need: the Bible, the sheet of paper, a pen/pencil, and your brains.
Ready? On your mark… get set… GO!
Feel free to walk around and help students as they need it, but try not to give them the answers.
Recognize the first team to decipher the message and read the answers aloud for the teams that were unable to finish the game.
Ask: Do you think reading the Bible is as much fun as it was to play that game?
Tell me how you feel when you read the Bible.
Allow a few responses from students.
They say the average home in the United States has over four Bibles – so we have them, but how much do we read them?
Today, we’re going to learn that it’s not as much about how much you read the Bible, but what you allow God to do in your heart as you read His Word.
You might want to mention at some point in this lesson that if a student doesn’t own a Bible, you can help them get one.
Because most of us have grown up with Bibles in our homes, we may not realize there are places all over the world where there is no access to Bibles.
In some places, it’s illegal to own a Bible.
North Korea, Libya, Morocco, and many other countries have created laws concerning carrying a Bible that can result in a person suffering imprisonment, persecution, torture, and even death.
In other parts of the world, the Bible has not been translated into the language of a people group.
In fact, there are over 2,163 languages that do not have a translation of the Bible.
For over 60 years, the organization, Wycliffe Bible Translators, has submersed themselves in a culture, and sometimes even developed a written language and taught it to a people group, in order to produce a printed copy of the Bible for the people.
Why? Because there are still over 1.5 BILLION people in the world, who do not have a copy of the Bible.
That’s insane when you think about how much we can communicate with each other in our society.
We can send pics, texts, and videos at the drop of a hat, but one out of five people in the world can’t get a hold of a Bible to study for themselves.
The Bible is essential; otherwise, God wouldn’t have given it to us.
Did you realize the Bible we read today was written over a period of 1400 years and by 40 different men?
The Jewish people recognized the Old Testament books for hundreds of years before the New Testament was written.
They studied and taught the Scripture for generations – scribes copied the text by hand, over and over.
We have over 5,800 Greek manuscripts of the Bible that have been compared to each other to look for mistakes that took place in copying.
Because of this, we know that we can trust the copy of the Bible that we hold in our hands.
If you ever have questions about the authenticity of the Bible or how it came about, let’s have a conversation about it, and we can do some research together.
Don’t let what you hear people say about whether or not the Bible is true get in the way from you discovering the truth.
So, let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about God’s Word.
Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas.
You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.
Scholars believe the Apostle Paul wrote between 8-13 books of the New Testament.
These “books” were in the form of letters that Paul wrote to churches, as God gave Him the words to say and the messages to deliver to the people.
The verse we just read says that the Bible is more than mere human ideas – its more than just words on a page.
God uses His Word to speak to us and work in our hearts and lives.
Ask: What does it mean if someone reads a scripture that “speaks” to them?
Allow a few responses from students.
Share about a time when a scripture came alive and particularly spoke to you.
Here’s an example of how God can speak to you through His Word.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed entirely to the point that you don’t know what to do?
Read Philippians 4:8. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
That scripture reminds us to change our thought patterns – instead of allowing stress to overtake our thoughts, think about the things that are true (you’re going to make it), honorable, and right (if I stay stressed, I’m keeping myself from feeling peace), pure, and lovely, and admirable (I might feel stressed out right now, but it’s going to get better).
Allow God’s Word to minister and speak to you as you meditate and think about what He’s saying through the scripture.
Many times, the answers we are seeking are found in God’s Word.
It’s our responsibility and privilege to open up our Bibles and seek after God.
He’s given us everything we need to follow Him, and He desires to work in our hearts as we dwell in His Word.
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- Why do you think God gave us the Bible? What is its purpose?
- What role does God’s Word play in your life? What does the Bible mean to you?
- What can you learn from God’s Word? Why is it important?
- What are some of the qualities of God’s Word? For example: Its words bring peace, it encourages us in our faith, helps us know more about God and grow closer to Him…
- How much knowledge of the Bible do you need to have before you can share it with others? (All you can ever do is share what you know – whether you feel like you know a lot or a little.)
- Before today, did you realize there are places in the world where the Bible is illegal or hasn’t been translated into the people group’s language?
- How could someone know who God is if they don’t have His Word?
- How often do you read your Bible? Can you see the benefit of being disciplined in how you study God’s Word?
- Re-read 1 Thessalonians 2:13. What does the scripture mean when it says, “And this word continues to work in you who believe.”
- Brainstorm some ways to share what’s in the Bible with others – be creative!
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