What Does It Mean?

Scripture: Daniel 5

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn God expects everyone on earth to worship and obey Him.
  • Students will learn God will not allow other gods or religions to replace what He has given us.
  • Students will learn God sometimes gives earthly consequences for rejecting Him.
  • Students will participate in an activity helping them better understand what they read in the Bible.

Guiding Question: How can we understand all of the hard words in the Bible better so we aren’t like the king in the Bible story?

Materials: paper, markers, Bible vocabulary cards (words and definitions) – preferably one set for each student

Procedure: Tell students the story of the writing on the wall. Point out to students that the writing meant nothing to the king until Daniel told him what it meant.

Explain to students that the Bible was not originally written in English. Ask students if they know what those three languages were. Explain that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the New Testament was written in Greek with some Aramaic and Hebrew.

Tell students translators have translated the Bible into English so we can read it for ourselves. Because it was originally written in other languages though, the way things are said may sound a bit different to us. For example in Spanish, French and other languages the adjective comes after the noun it describes, not before like in English. So a literal translation of a sentence from Spanish to English might say “The rose red” instead of  “The red rose”.

The other reason the Bible is sometimes hard to understand is that it uses words we don’t use in our every day conversations. So even though we hear words like “faith” and “salvation” at church, we may not hear them many other places. We may even think we know what they mean, but if we can explain them in our own words, then we probably don’t really understand what they mean.

Give students the paper and markers. Younger students may want to spend quite a bit of time trying to copy the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic letters. Explain that when boys like Jesus went to school, they went to school in the synagogue. The Old Testament (although they didn’t call it that at the time!) was their schoolbook. They had to learn how to speak all three languages if they wanted to do well in their community, as they might encounter any one of the three languages in different places.

Go over the vocabulary cards with the students. For pre-readers, you may want to focus on only a few of the words. You can add additional words if you choose to continue this as a warm up activity for a few weeks.

For older students, you can play vocabulary games. You can hold up a word and have them race to find the definition or the opposite. You can have teams race to see which team can match up the words and definitions the fastest. The goal is to have a little fun, but start helping students really understand what those “church” words really mean.


Someone chosen by God to tell people His message


A promise between God and people


A letter written to someone


A message from God delivered by a prophet


Good news (about Jesus)


The Hebrew word for God’s chosen one


One who saves others


The Greek word for God’s chosen one


A fake god often represented by a statue, although it can be anything we make more important than God


A period of time when there isn’t enough food. In Bible times this was often because there hadn’t been enough rain to water the crops




A very important promise that was never to be broken




A gift given to God


To try to make up for something you have done that was wrong


A disciple (student/follower) of Jesus who was picked by Jesus for special training and tasks


One who follows the teachings of Jesus and teaches them to others


A story about every day things that also has a special godly meaning


Someone who shows no respect for rules, morals, expectations, etc. They are often reckless and make poor and/or sinful choices.


To apologize for your sin, make changes so you hopefully won’t do it again and make things right when you can

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