Lesson 42: The Conversion of Saul

Primary 7: New Testament, (1997), 147–150


Purpose

To encourage each child to become more fully converted to Jesus Christ.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study Acts 7:57–60, 8:1–3, 9:1–30, 26:9–23, and Mosiah 5:2. Then study the lesson and decide how you want to teach the children the scripture account. (See “Preparing Your Lessons,” p. vi, and “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii.)

  2. 2.

    Additional reading: Acts 22:3–21.

  3. 3.

    Select the discussion questions and enrichment activities that will involve the children and best help them achieve the purpose of the lesson.

  4. 4.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      A Bible or a New Testament for each child.

    2. b.

      A glass filled with water.

    3. c.

      Picture 7-42, Paul on the Road to Damascus.

Suggested Lesson Development

Invite a child to give the opening prayer.

Attention Activity

Show a glass of water to the children.

  • What happens when water boils? (It changes to steam.)

  • What happens when water freezes? (It changes to ice.)

Explain that when water changes to ice or steam, we say that it has been “converted.” It is different from the original water.

  • How are people converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ? How do their lives change when they are converted?

Write the word converted on the chalkboard. Explain that this lesson is about one man’s miraculous conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Scripture Account

Teach the children the account of Saul’s conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ as found in Acts 9:1–20. (For suggested ways to teach the scripture account, see “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii.) Help the children understand that this Saul is not the man who was the first king of Israel but is the man who became the great missionary Paul.

Discussion and Application Questions

Study the following questions and the scripture references as you prepare your lesson. Use the questions you feel will best help the children understand the scriptures and apply the principles in their lives. Reading the references with the children in class will help them gain insights into the scriptures.

  • How did Saul persecute the members of the Church? (Acts 7:57–60; 8:1–3; 9:1–2.) How might the members of the Church have felt about him? How would you feel if someone persecuted you for your beliefs? How should we respond when someone does this? Encourage the children to share any experiences they have had when someone made fun of them or was unkind to them because of their beliefs.

  • What happened on the road to Damascus that helped Saul realize he needed to repent of his sins? (Acts 9:3–6.) Who did Saul speak with in this vision? (Acts 9:5.) How do Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ help us know when we need to repent? (Feelings from the Holy Ghost and guidance from our parents, the prophets, and the scriptures.)

  • What does it mean to “kick against the pricks”? (Acts 9:5.) (A prick was a sharp spear people used on animals to make them move. Often the animals would kick back when pricked, which made the spear hurt them even more. Jesus Christ was telling Saul that his actions were harming himself more than anyone else. When we fight against what is right, we hurt ourselves the most.) How could someone be hurt by fighting against the truth? Give an appropriate example from your own experience, if possible.

  • What did Saul do to repent and turn to Jesus Christ? What do we need to do to repent of our sins? Discuss the following points (you might list them on the chalkboard):

    Explain that Saul was not wicked in his heart; he was deceived. He needed to repent and be baptized.

  • Why is it important to repent when we do something wrong? How does repentance make us feel?

  • What did the Lord ask Ananias to do? Why? (Acts 9:10–12.) (Explain that this is a different Ananias from the one who was struck dead for dishonesty.) Why was Ananias afraid to do what the Lord asked? (Acts 9:13–14.)

  • Why did the Lord call Saul a “chosen vessel”? (Acts 9:15–16.) What important things did Heavenly Father want Saul to do? (Acts 26:16, 18.) What important things might Heavenly Father want you to do? How can you learn of these things?

  • How did Saul lose his eyesight? (Acts 9:8; 22:11.) What happened when Ananias blessed Saul? (Acts 9:17–18.)

  • After Saul’s conversion, why would neither the people nor the disciples believe him when he preached? (Acts 9:21, 26.) Why did Saul have to leave the country? (Acts 9:23, 29–30.)

  • What does Heavenly Father do when we repent of our sins? (D&C 58:42.) How can we help others who are trying to repent and follow Jesus?

  • What was Saul’s testimony of Jesus Christ? (Acts 9:20; 26:22–23.) How do we know when we are truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ? (Mosiah 5:2.)

Discuss the following quotation from President Ezra Taft Benson, thirteenth President of the Church: “When we have undergone this mighty change, which is brought about only through faith in Jesus Christ and through the [working] of the Spirit upon us, it is as though we have become a new person. … You have forsaken lives of sin … and have become clean. You have no more [desire] to return to your old ways. You are in reality a new person” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 470). (You might use enrichment activity 1 to challenge the children to experience what President Benson described.)

Enrichment Activities

You may use one or more of the following activities any time during the lesson or as a review, summary, or challenge.

  1. 1.

    Ask the children to name things children their age might need to repent of, such as telling lies, cheating, being angry, using bad language, and disobeying their parents. Write these on the chalkboard as they are mentioned. Tell the children that you are going to give a quiz. As you point to each item on the list, have the children ask themselves, “Do I need to repent of this?” Have the children answer “yes” or “no” silently to each question. Review the steps that Saul took to repent.

  2. 2.

    Write each letter of the phrase “Repent and turn to God” (Acts 26:20) on separate pieces of paper or cardboard squares. Put the papers face down in order on a table. Ask the children to take turns guessing a letter of the alphabet. When a letter that belongs to the phrase is guessed, turn it over. Explain that when we repent and turn to God, we are converted.

  3. 3.

    Discuss and memorize the fourth article of faith.

  4. 4.

    With approval of the Primary presidency, invite a recent convert or returned missionary to come to class and tell an experience when someone’s life changed as he or she came to believe in Christ, repented, and was baptized. Have the person share his or her feelings about the joy and happiness that come from living gospel teachings.

  5. 5.

    Ask a child to draw a picture of a forked road on the chalkboard. Have another child write the name of a city where he or she would like to visit at the top of one road.

    • What would you do if you took a wrong turn and found yourself on the wrong road?

    • Could you get to the city from where you are?

    • What would you have to do now to get to the city you wanted to go to?

    • How is repentance like getting back on the right road?

  6. 6.

    Sing or read the words to “Repentance” (Children’s Songbook, p. 98) or “When I Am Baptized” (Children’s Songbook, p. 103).

Conclusion

Testimony

Bear your testimony of how important repentance is in our lives and how important it is to be truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Share your love of the gospel.

Suggested Home Reading

Suggest that the children study Acts 9:1–20 at home as a review of this lesson.

Invite a child to give the closing prayer.