Romans: Branches of the Olive Tree

ROMANS 11:17-18

Scripture verse: “And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches.”



  1. Students should understand the metaphor of the olive tree.
  2. Students should understand the relationship between Judaism and Christianity.


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Scripture lesson: Read aloud Romans 11:1-5, 16-20, John 15:1-8. Who is the olive tree? The vine? What is the process of grafting? What is the root of the olive tree? (Israel) Who are the branches? What happens to an unbelieving branch?


  1. Review again the background on the book.  Who was Paul? Was he Jewish or Gentile? What is his Jewish name? Who did he preach to? What was the controversy facing the early Church between Jews and Gentiles? Had God forsaken His chosen people, the Jews, in favor of the Gentiles?


  1. How did God prepare the Jews for the coming of Jesus? Review the history of the Jewish people – the choosing of Abraham, the miraculous birth of Isaac, the salvation from Egypt through Moses (How is the Passover a forethought of Jesus?), the wandering in the desert, the formation of a nation with Saul and David. Does being a member of a chosen nation ensure faith? Does being born in a Christian home ensure faith either? How did God speak through the long line of prophets calling His people back to Him? (Can you name some?) What were some specific prophecies about the Messiah? How did Jesus fulfill them? Then why didn’t all the Jews believe in Him? Do we always listen when we hear about the Lord in Church or Sunday School either?


  1. Review the first Ecumenical Council in Jerusalem: Acts 15:6-21. What issues were faced? What was decided? Did Gentiles have to become Jewish to become Christian? Did they have to obey all the Jewish Law? Were they somehow second-class citizens as “grafted in branches”? Were they better than the Jews?


  1. How then should we relate to Jews today? Does anyone know anyone who is Jewish? What is special about being Jewish? Do they need to hear about Jesus?


  1. Play 20 Questions with the stories of God’s preparation of the Jewish people for His Messiah.  Give a student a slip of paper with the name of an Old Testament character.  The other students must ask questions to guess who he is.

Abraham                     Isaac                            Jacob

Joseph                         Moses                          Aaron

Joshua                         Samson                        David

Saul                             Solomon                      Daniel

Isaiah                           Jonah                           Shadrach

8. Close with prayer.