Say What You Mean

Scripture: Leviticus 1-27

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review how God gave Israel very specific laws, emphasizing the use of sacrifices and the scapegoat.
  • Students will learn what idioms are and how to use them by using them in sentences and illustrations.

Guiding Questions:

What are idioms and how are they used in language?

How can understanding idioms help us understand Bible stories?

Materials: slips of paper with an idiom written on each, one full sheet a paper for each pair of students, and drawing supplies such as pencils, markers, crayons, paint, etc.

Procedure: Review the purpose of Leviticus 1-27. Emphasize God’s commands for the scapegoat and sacrifices in chapter 16. Explain that Leviticus lists many detailed laws for the Israelites to follow. Many laws were focused on sacrifice. This was because sacrificing an animal was how the people showed they were sorry for their sins and the people were willing to rely on God. Read chapter 16 to learn about the scapegoat.

Explain that the term “scapegoat” is still used today to refer to blaming someone or making someone else pay the price for another person’s sins/mistakes. Words and phrases that are not meant to be taken literally are often called idioms. Many idioms come from stories because many people know the stories and understand the connection to the idiom. Let students brainstorm idioms that they know.
Examples of Idioms:
• This will be a piece of cake: This will be easy.
• I’m all ears: I’m listening to you.
• A breath of fresh air: Something new
• To see eye to eye: To agree
• To walk in someone else’s shoes: To see from someone else’s perspective
• A little bird told me: Someone who would know told me
• We’re all in the same boat: What happens to one of us happens to all of us.
• Green thumb: Good at gardening
• Raining cats and dogs: It is raining very hard
• I’m all thumbs: I’m clumsy.
• Walk on eggshells: Be very careful
• Time flies: Time is going by quickly

Pair students with a partner. Give each pair of students an idiom on a piece of paper. Let them discuss what they think it means. Then share it with the rest of the group. Next, give each pair a piece of paper and drawing supplies. Instruct students to fold the paper in half and draw a line down the middle. On one side, students draw a picture of the literal idiom (Example: A person with a green thumb.) On the other side, draw a picture of what the idiom means in real life (Example: a person planting a garden.) Let students share their finished artwork with the rest of the class.

Additional Questions:

  • How is Jesus like our scapegoat?

Supplemental Activities:

  • Have students write a silly story using as many idioms as they can.
  • Research other idioms that are used in the Bible. Find the meaning of the idiom and learn about the story it comes from. Let students share their findings. Examples: Go the extra mile, flowing with milk and honey, right hand man, writing on the wall, thorn in the flesh, wolf in sheep’s clothing, brother’s keeper, you reap what you sow.

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