Council in Jerusalem



  1. Who was there?
  2. Where did the first council meet?
  3. What did they decide?
  4. Why was the fish an early symbol of Christianity?

Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.
  2. Read the story in Acts 15:1-35. This was the earliest of the church councils. Who were the major apostles attending? (Peter and Paul) But who presided? (James, not the disciple but a relative of Jesus) Who made the decision? This decision opened the church fully to non-Jews, once and for all. Do you remember what non-Jews were called? (Gentiles)


  1. Enjoy Jewish culture a bit: Talk about Hanukkah – dreidls and potato latkes – and Passover. Remind the students about God’s choosing of the descendants of Abraham through Isaac as His people; the circumcision of the boys was required as a symbol of this choosing. Remember the story of Moses and God’s people escaping from Egypt? Show a picture from a library book of a Jewish wedding with the canopy. Look at pictures of synagogues and Jewish people in prayer shawls. Many of these customs are like ours but many are not. Talk a little about our customs and holidays. It’s fun to learn about other people’s customs, but how would you like to be told you had to dress and eat and celebrate exactly like your Jewish friends?

  1. The earliest non-Jewish believers were mostly Greeks. Take a look at the Greek alphabet. If you take the first letters of the words, “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior,” in Greek and put them together, you get the Greek word for “fish”. For this reason, early Christians often identified themselves to each other with a simple drawing of a fish.


  1. Play a learning game: 20 Questions. Write the names Peter, Paul, James on three slips of paper. Students choose a slip. Then the other students ask “yes” or “no” questions (up to 20) to identify the character.


6.   Make Peanut People Finger Puppets: Break peanuts in half for each puppet. For this story, try Peter, Paul, James, Silas, and Judas. Draw on faces and add cloth or paper headcoverings, yarn hair and beards, etc. Practice telling the story with the finger puppets. Someone allergic to peanuts? No problem! Take small strips of paper or cardstock, roll into finger-sized cylinders, and decorate the same way for paper finger puppets.


7.   Close with prayer: Lord, help us to make decisions fairly and wisely every day.