Ideas for Teaching the Bible: Joseph for Kids
Joseph’s life provides rich examples of relevant Christian character to teach children. It illustrates how God can use what may seem like negative circumstances to accomplish his divine purpose. Even after Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer, he was forgotten in prison until Pharaoh had a dream. Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, and the course of his life was changed forever, ultimately setting the course for the entire nation of Israel.
1 The Account
Read the account of Joseph’s life, found in Genesis 37:18-36 and Genesis 39-41. Joseph was a humble servant of God. His faith remained strong even when he was treated unfairly. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery because of jealousy. He was purchased by Potiphar, falsely accused, jailed, and forgotten. Engage your children by asking questions such as: Would they have done the same thing? How would they have felt? Do they believe God had a plan?
2 Joseph and Christ
After reading the account of Joseph’s life, draw parallels to the life of Christ. They were both accused falsely, faithfully served God in the midst of adversity and were sold for silver. Both lives not only influenced those immediately surrounding them, but the entire course of history as we know it. Touch on some events in history that would not have taken place had each of these men not lived the lives they did.
Discuss attitude. We have a natural tendency to think more highly of ourselves than we should. Joseph’s life gives us clear examples of someone who does not grumble about the circumstances thrust upon him. Ask your children for some examples of bad things that have happened in their lives or the lives of those around them. Talk about the commonalities of their situation and Joseph’s life. Define words such as humble, faithful and jealousy.
Read the account of the restoration of Joseph's relationship with his brothers and father, found in Genesis 43-45. Joseph forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery and acknowledged that God had provided for his entire family through their act of jealousy. Joseph’s life offers a lovely example of forgiveness. Encourage your children to share wrongs done to them and ask if they have forgiven the person they mention.
It is important to thoroughly read the biblical text before presenting it to your children. If you are teaching young children, the account may best be read from an accurate children’s book. The content surrounding Joseph’s experience with Potiphar’s wife would be retold in an age-appropriate manner. If you are teaching older children, be prepared to handle any questions about this event in a factual manner.