Word Origins Add Meaning

Scripture: Matthew 3, Mark 1:1-12, Luke 3 and John 1:1-34

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn John the Baptist prepared the people to hear Jesus’ message.
  • Students will learn John the Baptist fulfilled a prophecy in the Old Testament.
  • Students will learn Jesus modeled baptism for us as submission to the will of God, even though he had no sins that needed forgiving.
  • Students will learn the original meaning of baptism.

Guiding Question: How can students learn the original meaning of baptism?

Materials: Bibles

Procedure: Review the story of John’s ministry and Jesus’ baptism from the scriptures above. Explain that Jesus was perfect yet He modeled baptism for us because He wanted us to know how we could receive forgiveness for our sins and become Christians. Jesus’ baptism was also a prophecy from the Old Testament that John the Baptist helped to fulfill. The fulfilled prophecy was another way for people to learn about Jesus and want to become Christians. 

Introduce the activity. Explain how the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, then translated into English and other languages. Using baptism as an example, teach students how to use clues from the context in this passage and others mentioning baptism to understand the original word meant immersion in the water. Go back to the actual word used in the language in which each passage was initially written. Did that word have a deeper or clearer meaning than the word in English sometimes does?

Additional Questions: How can students share knowledge of baptism with others?

Supplemental Activity: Have students create a brochure, video, or poster about baptism, what it means, and how it is used today.

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