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Biblical heroes

A study of those in the Bible who are set as examples for us to follow

Rationale

Students learn in many ways, and so God in the Bible has spoken to us in many ways. One particularly powerful way is through the life stories of key people in the Bible. In both their successes and failures we see ourselves and learn how we too might walk the walk of faith. The focus is this unit is broader and hence different to the focus in the unit Warriors and Wars. The focus in that unit was on the battles of faith, or our walk with God as warfare. The focus here is also on the great examples of faith, but on the other aspects of our walk with God. So, issues like faith in endurance and even defeat, in generosity, in forgiveness and sometimes in death. All of these are also part of our walk with God and we have examples of these in the lives of the people God has decided to have recorded for us in the Bible, so that we might see clearly what it means to walk with him.
 
Note: This unit needs to be coordinated with the unit Wars and Warriors, especially if they are done in the same year, and even with the unit, An In-Depth study of a Biblical Character. This curriculum is designed to repeat similar concepts through the years, and so similar work can be done but at different levels

Key Concepts

  • God has given us examples in the Bible so that we see what it is to walk in faith with him
  • Jesus is the ultimate example and the ultimate hero, both in victory and apparent defeat
  • Being a hero is more than fighting battles, it is found in a whole range of character traits, some of which are very quiet and easy to miss
  • Serving God means sometimes in this life we lose, so being a hero is about more than defeating our enemies
  • The Power to do all the above comes from God, and so we can do and be the same

Scripture References

Luke 1:35; 4:14; - Jesus, Son of God but empowered by the Holy Spirit to live as God called him
2 Corinthians 4:7 - we are all flawed jars of clay, but by his power God glorifies himself through us, and through the examples found in the Bible, see also 2 Cor 12:9, Ephesians 3:20, Col 1:29, Acts 1:8
 
See Gospels for all the various ways in which Jesus exemplified himself as the ultimate hero, both in power and in humility. 

Always point to God/Jesus as the ultimate & perfect hero. Even Biblical heroes made mistakes – strive to be like God, not the hero.

Bible Heroes (in every story God is the hero – Bible stories tell His story)

 
Some of the key character traits of true heroes and some examples. Many of the examples will repeat, meaning that one person can be used to illustrate many aspects of how God wants is to be heroes:
    • Courage - Joshua, Josh 1, is called to courage several times; Daniel and the others in Babylon, Dan 3:16-18, 6:10; Esther in going to the King, Esther 4:8,16
    • endurance - Matthew 16:24-28; 1 Cor 4, the example of the Apostles, all of whom were martyred; 
    • faith in victory and defeat- See Hebrews 11, which has a list of names, each of which can be studied
    • forgiveness - Matthew 18:15-35; Esau forgives Jacob, Gen 33; Joseph forgives his brothers Gen 45, 50
    • generosity - 2 Cor 9; David wanting to build a house for the Lord, 2 Sam 7; the people supplying things for the Tabernacle in the wilderness, Ex 35, 36; Good Samaritan Luke 10:33-35; First Christians Acts 4:32-37
    • gentleness/humility/meekness - Matthew 5:5; Joseph, in all that he did; Cornelius the Gentile wanting to hear the Gospel, Acts 10; John the Baptist, Mark 1:7; King Josiah 2 Chron 34:27; there Centurion Luke 7:6-8
    • goodness/godliness - Matthew 5:8; Enoch Gn 5:24 and Noah Gen 6:9; Simeon and Anna Luke 2; Barnabas Acts 11:24
    • honesty - Psalm 15:1,2; 2 Cor 4:2; Samuel, 1 Sam 12:3-5, honest as a judge of Israel; Daniel, Dan 6:4; Paul Acts 24:16
    • hospitality - Hebrews 13:2; Abraham to angels, Gn 18:1-8; the widow to Elijah, 1 Kings 17:10-24; Zachaeus Luke 19:1-10; Phoebe to Paul, Romans 16:2
    • joy - Gal 5:22; the people when God saved them from the Egyptians, Ex 15:1-22; when the temple was rebuilt Ezra 16:6, 22; Mary, Luke 1:46-56; various when a sinner comes home, Luke 15; Paul and Silas in goal, Acts 16
    • loyalty - David’s soldiers, 2 Sam 23;15,16; Mordecai Esther 2; divided loyalty Matthew 6:24; Ruth to Naomi, Ruth
    • love - 1 Cor 13; Mary Magdalene’s love for Jesus Matt 27 and 28; the women who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears, Luke 7:36-50; Abraham for Lot, Gn 14:14-16; early Church for each other Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-37
    • patience - Ps 37:7-9; Proverbs 15:18; Isaac did not get angry or fight Gn 26:15-22, Moses with the people of Israel, Ex 16; Simeon Luke 2:25 
    • peace/peace maker - Matthew 5:9; 1 Peter 3:8-12; Abraham Gn 13:8,9
    • purity of heart - Matthew 5:8; Philippians 4:8; Job, Job 1 and 2; Enoch, Gn 5; Joseph; Daniel
    • sacrifice - Matthew 16:24-28; The woman with the expensive perfume, John 12:1-8; John 12:23-26; Garden of Gethsemane, Matthew 26:36-46; David’s soldiers, 2 Sam 23:15,16
    • self control - 1 Cor 9:25; Gal 5:23; Proverbs 25:28; 29:11; Joseph, Gn 39:7-12; David did not kill Saul, 1 Sam 24 and 26; Paul 1 Cor 4
    • thankfulness - Ps 100:4,5; 1 Thess 5:18; Paul and Silas in prison, Acts 16; David leading the people in prayer, 1 Chron 29:10-22; Simeon and Anna, Luke 2
    • trustworthiness - Deut 25:13-16; Pr 11:1; Luke 16:10-12; Joseph, Gn 39:6; Moses Num 12:7; Daniel, Dan 6:4
    • zeal - Jesus, John 2:13-17,; John 4:31-38; Paul 2 Cor 4; Philippians 3:1-11

Resources

Great Men and Women of the Bible  http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/dictionaries/
Possibilities include:

Old Testament

  • Adam and Eve
  • Noah
  • Abraham
  • Sarah
  • Isaac
  • Rebecca
  • Jacob
  • Joseph
  • Moses & Aaron
  • Miriam
  • Joshua
  • Rahab
  • Deborah
  • Gideon
  • Ruth
  • Samson
  • Hannah
  • Samuel
  • Saul
  • David
  • Abigail
  • Solomon
  • Ahab & Jezebel (anti heroes)
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Naaman’s servant girl
  • Hezekiah
  • Jonah
  • Jeremiah
  • Daniel
  • Jerrubabel, Ezra, Nehemiah
  • Esther

 New Testament

  • Zachariah and Elizabeth
  • Mary (and Joseph)
  • John the Baptist
  • Jesus
  • 12 disciples (Peter, John)
  • Zaccheus
  • Mary, Martha and Lazarus
  • Nicodemus
  • Stephen
  • Phillip
  • Cornelius
  • Tabitha (Dorcas)
  • Paul
  • Barnabas, Luke, Silas, Timothy, John Mark – Paul’s fellow travellers
 
YouTube Videos - should be searched for character in view
Daniel in Babylon
Wingclips - short clips from popular videos on relevant themes. For example:

Jesus Storybook

Graphic action Bible (also has devotions)

Connect books
Book: Bible heroes and villains (same series as Bible sick/revolting facts)

www.friendsandheroes.com 

www.chr.org.au (Christian history research) there is a list of heroes too

Ideas/Strategies for Lessons

Night of the notables (activity) – research a hero and make presentation
Story telling - use one of the resources above to tell story
Use Wingclips videos to lead into discussion of characteristic or to given contemporary relevance

Role play the stories

“Hot Potato” - Drama activity (one person takes on a personality and other children ask him/her questions which need to answer in character)

Thought tracking –http://dramaresource.com/strategies/thought-tracking

Make up “Top Trumps” games of Bible heroes

Compare Contrast two heroes

Compare & contrast a hero with yourself

Compare contrast a Bible hero with a modern day hero

Link to sport events like the Olympics

Male/female heroes project

Bible hero (research); Christian hero (PowerPoint), local hero (interview), Family/friend hero (iMovie interview)

Bible character – iMovie monologue in character and in costume
Friendship boxes – post encouraging comments in gift boxes
Have one of the Bible characters visit and the children can quiz them - will need someone to dress up and play the part, maybe team teach
Children can do the same as above

Solomon: how he was influenced by the people around him (including women) and the positive effect they have on us