To encourage each child to prepare now to be a missionary and share the gospel with others.
Prayerfully study Acts 22:17–30; 23:10–24, 31–33; and 26:1–2, 22–29. 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.)
Additional reading: Acts 19–26 (for the full account).
Select the discussion questions and enrichment activities that will involve the children and best help them achieve the purpose of the lesson.
A Bible or a New Testament for each child.
The chart described in the attention activity (or you could draw it on the chalkboard).
Suggested Lesson Development
Invite a child to give the opening prayer.
Ask the children what they remember about Paul from previous lessons. (Remind them that his name was changed from Saul.) Remind the children that Paul was called by the Lord to be a missionary and a special witness of Jesus Christ (see Acts 13:2; 20:24). He spent the rest of his life in missionary service.
If you have an LDS edition of the Bible, have the children turn to maps 18–22 and trace Paul’s missionary travels with their fingers. (Help the children pronounce the names of the places.) Explain that when Paul was converted, only some of the Jews in Jerusalem and surrounding areas had heard about Jesus Christ. Paul’s four missionary journeys took him to Jewish people and also to Gentiles (those who were not of the Jewish nationality) in many countries. These Gentiles did not know about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They worshiped false gods and idols. Everywhere Paul went he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Draw a diagram similar to the following on the chalkboard or a chart:
How was Paul prepared to be a missionary?
Write the children’s responses on the steps leading from Paul to Missionary. Be sure to include ideas such as repented, believed in Jesus Christ, was baptized, received the gift of the Holy Ghost, learned the gospel, and lived the gospel.
Teach the children the account of what happened to Paul after his third missionary journey. (For suggested ways to teach the scripture account, see “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii.) Explain that this was Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem, and while he was there the Jews who did not believe in Jesus wanted to kill him. Because he was a Roman citizen, he turned to Roman leaders in Jerusalem and Caesarea for protection. They protected him by making him a Roman prisoner and eventually sent him to Rome for trial. (The account of Paul’s journey to Rome will be taught in lesson 45.) Explain that through all his trials, Paul took every opportunity to testify of Jesus Christ.
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.
Why were the Jews angry with Paul? (Acts 22:17–21.) Help the children understand that Paul was testifying of a vision from Jesus Christ to people who did not believe in Jesus. Why wasn’t Paul harmed? (Acts 22:24, 29.)
The chief captain allowed Paul to go again before the Jews to explain himself, and once again the Jews tried to kill him because of his testimony. (Acts 23:10.) How did Paul show courage and faith during this time of persecution? How would you have felt if you had been in Paul’s situation?
How did the Lord comfort Paul? (Acts 23:11.) How do you think Paul felt when he knew he would not be killed? How does the Lord comfort and bless missionaries today?
How did the Jews plot to kill Paul? (Acts 23:14–15.) Who saved Paul from this plot? (Acts 23:16.) How did the chief captain help Paul escape from the Jews? (Acts 23:22–24.) Why do you think the Lord was protecting Paul?
Explain that Felix, the Roman governor, kept Paul a prisoner in Caesarea for two years until Festus became the new governor. Paul requested a trial in Rome, but before leaving for Rome he told Festus and King Agrippa the story of his conversion and testified of Jesus Christ.
How did Festus react to Paul’s testimony? (Acts 26:24.) How did King Agrippa react? (Acts 26:28.) What reasons might King Agrippa have had to not fully accept Paul’s testimony and become a Christian? What are some things that keep people from accepting the gospel today?
What gave Paul the courage to preach to the king and the governor? Remind the children that Paul was called to be a special witness for Jesus Christ and took every opportunity to testify of him. When can you share your testimony of Jesus with others? How can you prepare now to be a missionary?
Discuss the following quotations from President Ezra Taft Benson:
“Primary boys, plan and look forward to serving a full-time mission for the Lord. Young girls, be prepared for missionary service if you are called” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, p. 104; or Ensign, May 1989, p. 82).
“Yes … prepare now [when you are nine, ten, or eleven]. Prepare yourselves physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. Always be obedient to authority. Start a savings account for your mission if you haven’t done so already. Pay your tithing, and seek a testimony of the gospel through study and prayer” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1985, p. 49; or Ensign, May 1985, p. 37).
What steps have you already taken that prepare you to share the gospel? What steps can you take in the future?
Draw another diagram on the chalkboard or a chart similar to the one used in the attention activity, writing the word You where Paul is. Write the children’s responses on the steps leading from You to Missionary. Be sure to include ideas such as believe in Jesus, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, receive the priesthood (boys), learn the gospel, study the scriptures, pray, go to church, and live the gospel at home, at school, or wherever you may be.
What talents or abilities can you develop now that will help you be a better missionary for the Lord?
Why is it especially important to study the scriptures in preparation to teach the gospel?
Share examples of how being prepared helped you or someone you know share the gospel. Encourage the children to share experiences when they or their families have had opportunities to teach others about the gospel. If there are people in your class who are converts, you may want to have them share how the missionaries or others helped them learn the gospel and gain a testimony.
You may use one or more of the following activities any time during the lesson or as a review, summary, or challenge.
Give the children each a piece of paper and a pencil and have them draw some stairs. Have them write their name at the bottom and Missionary at the top. Have them write in the steps they have taken and will yet take to prepare to be missionaries.
Make each child a copy of the Lord’s promise to missionaries found in Doctrine and Covenants 84:88. Discuss this promise with the children and encourage them to display it in their homes.
Sing or read the words to
“I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” (Children’s Songbook, p. 169), “Called to Serve” (Children’s Songbook, p. 174), or “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (Children’s Songbook, p. 172).
Bear testimony that Heavenly Father and Jesus want the children to prepare now to teach the gospel. Express your feelings that one of the best ways they can do this is to live the gospel of Jesus Christ each day.
Suggested Home Reading
Suggest that the children study Acts 23:10–24, 31–33 at home as a review of this lesson.
Invite a child to give the closing prayer.