1 Kings 17–22

Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2003), 134–36


The prophet Elijah is introduced in 1 Kings 17–22. He raised the dead, called down fire from heaven, caused the heavens to withhold rain, rendered a barrel of flour inexhaustible, and was taken from the earth in a chariot of fire. His mortal deeds made him one of the greatest heroes in Israel’s history, and the way he was taken from the earth, along with the prophecy in Malachi 4:5–6, lead observant Jewish households to set a place for him at every Passover feast in anticipation of his return. Unbeknownst to most of the world, Elijah returned in 1836, during Passover week, in fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy (see D&C 110:13–16).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Kings 17–19. Great miracles are wrought through the power of faith in Jesus Christ. (40–50 minutes)

As a class, sing “Nephi’s Courage” (Children’s Songbook, 120) or an appropriate hymn that teaches the power of faithful obedience. Read 1 Nephi 3:7 and discuss how it is such a great expression of faith.

Tell students that in 1 Kings 17 is the story of two people who were willing to “go and do” what the Lord commanded and of the blessings that came to them because of their faith. Have them search 1 Kings 17 for the phrases “went and did” (vv. 5, 15), “arose and went” (v. 10), and “go and do” (v. 13). Suggest that they underline these phrases and write the cross-reference 1 Nephi 3:7 in the margin of their scriptures next to each phrase.

Read and discuss the three smaller stories in 1 Kings 17 from verses 1–7, 8–16, and 17–24. Ask students who demonstrated faith in each story and what they did not know when they went and followed the Lord’s command. Consider that what happened in the third story depended on the faith shown in the second story. Point out that we may not know what blessings we miss when we are unwilling to act with faith.

The strength and power that come from faith are demonstrated in 1 Kings 18. Consider having a reader’s theater, assigning students to read the parts of a narrator, Ahab, Obadiah, Elijah, the priests of Baal, the people, and Elijah’s servant.

Ask students:

  • What can we learn about faith from the various people and examples in this chapter?

  • What does Ahab’s question in verse 17 reveal about his faith?

  • What impressed you about the faith Elijah showed on Mount Carmel?

  • How did the people respond to the miraculous events?

  • Read 1 Kings 19:1–3. How did Jezebel respond?

Help students understand that the quiet, gentle voice of the Spirit builds testimony and that it only comes to those who are humble and obedient.

1 Kings 18. God is more powerful than Satan and his followers. (20–30 minutes)

Show students a bucket of water, a piece of wood, and a large rock. Ask them what story in the Old Testament involves those three items. As a hint, tell them that the items were all “consumed.”

As a class, read the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:17–40. Ask:

  • In verse 17, why did Ahab say Elijah was troubling Israel with the drought? (see 1 Kings 17:1).

  • Who did Elijah say were really responsible for the drought? Why? (see 1 Kings 18:18).

Discuss the power God gave Elijah to seal the heavens against rain. Elijah received this power because of his faith in Jesus Christ and his righteousness. Helaman 10–11 tells of how Nephi received the sealing power and what that power is. Compare the qualities the Lord commended in Nephi to those of Elijah. Help students understand that our prophet today holds the same sealing power as Elijah (see D&C 110:13–16; 132:7).

Ask students:

  • In 1 Kings 18:21, what did Elijah mean when he said Israel was halting between two opinions?

  • What were those two opinions?

  • What are the two opinions we must choose between today?

  • How do they compare to Elijah and the prophets of Baal: Which side is more numerous? Which side has the power to save? Which side boasts, but has no saving power?

  • Why do you think Elijah wanted the idolatrous priests to participate in the challenge he proposed (see vv. 19, 22)?

  • Why did Elijah propose calling fire down from heaven as a test of the true God (see vv. 23–24)? (see the commentary for 1 Kings 18:22–24 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, p. 60).

  • Why do you think Elijah let the prophets of Baal try first?

  • How long did the prophets of Baal try to get their god to answer them? (see vv. 26–29).

  • Why do you think Elijah put water on his altar (see vv. 33–35)?

  • Why do you think the Lord answered Elijah with such an impressive display of His power (see vv. 36–39)?

  • What can we learn from this about following modern prophets?

  • How is our prophet today like Elijah? (He holds the same sealing power and the Lord will uphold what he says—even if most people go against him.)

You may want to add a second witness in support of following true prophets by reading and discussing the story of Jehoshaphat, Ahab, and the prophet Micaiah in 1 Kings 22 (see the commentaries for 1 Kings 22 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, p. 63).

1 Kings 19. We should listen for and hearken to the whisperings of the Spirit. (20–25 minutes)

Have a student summarize what happened in 1 Kings 18. Ask students:

  • How might you react if our prophet did something similar?

  • Do you think that would be an effective missionary tool?

  • Read 1 Kings 19:1–10. According to what Elijah told the Lord, were many converted through what happened on Mount Carmel?

  • Why do you think the people were not truly converted?

  • How does true conversion take place?

Discuss how the Spirit is the most important element in gaining and strengthening a testimony. Have students read 1 Kings 19:11–13 and tell them that the “still small voice” is a manifestation of the Holy Ghost. As President Boyd K. Packer explained:

“The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear. It is described as a ‘still small voice.’ And while we speak of ‘listening’ to the whisperings of the Spirit, most often one describes a spiritual prompting by saying, ‘I had a feeling …’ … “Revelation comes as words we feel more than hear. Nephi told his wayward brothers, who were visited by an angel, ‘Ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 77; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 60).

Bishop Henry B. Eyring, then First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, said:

“I testify [that the Spirit] is a small voice. It whispers, not shouts. And so you must be very quiet inside. That is why you may wisely fast when you want to listen. And that is why you will listen best when you feel, ‘Father, thy will, not mine, be done.’ You will have a feeling of ‘I want what you want.’ Then the still small voice will seem as if it pierces you. It may make your bones to quake. More often it will make your heart burn within you, again softly, but with a burning which will lift and reassure” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1991, 87–88; or Ensign, May 1991, 67).

Ask students:

  • What are some of the distractions that can cause us not to hear or focus on the voice of the Spirit?

  • What can we do so that we are more receptive to this still, small voice in our lives?

Help students understand the importance of not only listening but also following what the Spirit tells us to do.