The Apostle Paul wrote the majority of letters in the New Testament. A very important person in the history of the Christian church, Paul started and nurtured many of the New Testament churches during his missionary journeys to major cities located along the Mediterranean Sea. Many Christian religious beliefs contain elements contributed by Paul.
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Paul, who was originally known as Saul, began his dealings with the followers of Christ as a persecutor. He believed this sect was dangerous and asked the High Priest for permission to take Jesus' followers prisoner and bring them to Jerusalem for trial. Read Acts 7:51-8:4 and Acts 9:1-22 to the first graders. Ask them how they might have felt if they were Saul and met Jesus on the Damascus Road. Have the class act out the story in Acts 9. Alternatively, the students can use colouring pages and activity sheets to reinforce the story.
Paul the Missionary
Once Saul met Jesus, he changed his name to Paul to signify his changed nature. He began telling Gentiles about Jesus and won many converts. Get a map of the world around the Mediterranean Sea in the 1st Century BC and have the first grade students map out Paul's three missionary journeys and his final journey to Rome. Alternatively, give the students the information needed to build a timeline of Paul's missionary journeys and significant events that occurred in each journey.
Paul's Letters to the Churches
Paul stayed in contact with the churches he helped start and wrote letters to encourage them, teach them and settle disputes. The Bible contains many of these letters. Have the first grade students locate the churches where Paul sent the letters. They can add the letters to their timeline if they created a timeline for the missionary journeys. Alternatively, review the kinds of things Paul dealt with in each letter, such as salvation and righteousness in Romans and stewardship and Paul's role as God's messenger and an apostle in 2 Corinthians.
Paul Disciples Timothy
Paul took several people on his missionary journeys to help him and to train them to care for the churches. These helpers include John Mark, Silas, Barnabas, Titus and Timothy. Indicate who travelled with Paul on his missionary journeys. Timothy was a young man when he travelled with Paul. When Paul wrote 1st and 2nd Timothy, Timothy served as the pastor at Ephesus. Paul tells Timothy how to pastor a church and not to let people think less of him because he is young. (1 Timothy 4:12). Have your first grade students relate to Timothy's feelings when people criticised him for being young. Have them write their own letter of encouragement to a friend. Alternatively, have them make a list of the duties of their pastor. Have them write a letter of encouragement to the pastor, thanking him for his leadership of the church.
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- Bible Gateway: Acts 7:51-8:4; New Century Version; Thomas Nelson; 2005
- Bible Gateway: Acts 9:1-22; New Century Version; Thomas Nelson; 2005
- Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church: Maps Related to the Life of Paul
- Matthew McGee: Chronology of Apostle Paul's Journeys and Epistles
- Purpose of Life: Paul's Letters
- Bible Gateway: 1 Timothy 4:12; New Century Version; Thomas Nelson; 2005