Old Testament Basics


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Brief Description

Intersection includes complete resources for teaching both younger and older youth, including learner’s materials, teaching guides, and handouts. The teaching guide is options-based, so teachers can customize sessions to match their favorite approach.

“Old Testament Basics”

Some people are uncertain about how to help teenagers learn key biblical stories and concepts. This unit is a basic introduction to the Old Testament and to the four broad collections of books into sections of Law, History, Writings, and Prophets. Each session focuses on a truth of a particular Scripture passage and highlights that text as an example of the Old Testament from which it comes. The goal for young people is not simply to memorize the four sections and all the books, but to become familiar with basic knowledge about the Old Testament and to see the relevance of its four primary sections.

Session one helps youth think about the way our society’s view of rules and regulations influences how we read, hear, and understand Old Testament law. The Old Testament Law serves as sort of a map for living, a guide for our relationships with God and with the world around us. The Law includes God’s rules (the Ten Commandments) and detailed instruction about daily living. It was given as a gift so that, as we follow and obey God, we have the opportunity to lead fuller and more meaningful lives. Use Deuteronomy 5:28-33 to help teens see that God’s guidelines are not a constraining force but a beneficial gift.

In session two we assist young people in discovering the relevance of Old Testament history. Most generations have a tendency to focus on the present and forget that others before them have helped make possible everything we now enjoy. Knowing history and how it relates to the present can provide a broader perspective, reveal truths about life, and inform our thoughts and plans for the future. A study of Nehemiah 8:1-12 helps teenagers see that historical events of the Old Testament really do relate to their lives.

Session three reflects on Proverbs 4:20-27 as an example of the wisdom literature in the Writings of the Old Testament. Young people face situations that require making sensible choices, and the vast majority of our youth choose wisely most of the time. We all face moments, however, when we need wise and caring insight from a trustworthy friend. In general, the biblical wisdom writings deal with having a wise and insightful perspective about life. Our young people can be like the wise persons who wrote Proverbs–people who observed life around them, reflected on the advice of others, sought the guidance of God, and made their choices accordingly.

Session four emphasizes Jeremiah 31:31-34 as an example of Old Testament prophecy and highlights the fifteen books of the “latter” prophets. Biblical prophets were persons chosen by God to proclaim God’s message, and their basic claim was one of hope in the midst of judgment. The great prophets didn’t simply forecast coming events, they knew certain things about God, reflected on the circumstances of their day, and with God’s direction discerned what was likely to occur. In a similar way, young people can be messengers for God in their circles of influence.

by Cherie Smith

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The purchaser of this file has permission to print twenty copies of this Learners Study Guide. Neither the file nor the printed contents may be sold copied or transferred to another person or church. The purchaser may make a backup copy of the file.

The purchaser of this file has permission to print one copy of this Teaching Guide. Neither the file nor the printed contents may be sold, copied or transferred to another person or church. The purchaser may make a backup copy of the file.

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