Paul Gives Thanks to Jesus

Primary Pals for Teachers
Unit 27 - Thanksgiving

TEXT: 1 Timothy 1:12-18


The students will be able to explain that Paul's testimony to Timothy was thanksgiving to Jesus for loving him even though he was unworthy. Also, Paul was letting Timothy know there is victory in Jesus.



Bring a large trophy to class. Talk about how this is a symbol of being a winner, of winning a victory. Tell your students that today you are going to learn how a man who had suffered imprisonment, beatings, shipwrecks and many other persecutions could still thank and praise God for VICTORY.

  1. Paul gave thanks to God that he was able to be a minister of the Gospel.
  2. He praised the grace of God which had saved him, though he was the chiefest of sinners.

Climax: Paul found victory in the power of Jesus Christ to transform a blasphemer, persecutor, and enemy of the Gospel into one who dedicated the remainder of his life to the spreading of the truth.

Conclusion: The story of Paul's conversion is proof that God can take anyone who will believe on Jesus and make him a worker for the Gospel.

Response: The students will be able to explain the transformation in Paul's life, and will be able to see that victory is assured for those who will follow his example of faithfulness.


The Apostle Paul was born in Tarsus of Cilicia into a strict Pharisee family, and he was given the Jewish name of Saul. He was well educated and studied under a famous teacher named Gamaliel. Although Saul never met Jesus during His earthly ministry, he met the disciples and realized that their teachings were a threat to Judaism. He started a campaign against the followers of the Lord and was a witness to the stoning of Stephen. He was on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christians there when the Lord met him, and his life was completely changed. He immediately began to preach Christ in the Damascus synagogues, but was forced to flee for his life. He came to the church in Jerusalem, but they feared him until Barnabas affirmed that Saul had been converted. He made three missionary journeys, spreading the Gospel in Asia Minor and southern Europe. He returned to Jerusalem and was imprisoned by the Jews. Because he was a free-born Roman, he appealed unto Caesar and was sent to Rome. On the way he was shipwrecked, but eventually reached his destination. Apparently he was freed for a time, but was later imprisoned and finally executed.

In the section of Scripture from 1 Timothy 1:12-18, Paul holds himself up as an example of God's abundant grace and mercy. Because Paul had so viciously persecuted God's church, he considered himself to be the chiefest of sinners (verse 13 and 15). However, in order to manifest His grace and give hope to all men, Christ Jesus was merciful to Paul and called him to be an Apostle to build the Church that he had sought to destroy. For this, Paul's heart overflowed with thanksgiving.


  • Have children write a letter to God telling Him thank you.
  • Bring an older person into class and have him tell one specific thing God did for him that he is thankful for.
  • Have children in class tell about something God has done for them. Explain how they are testifying, just like Paul, and how God is happy when they do this.
  • Make a copy of the victory tree to show your class. Prepare several apples to put on the tree (see Patterns). On the wormy side of the apple write something that we might need victory over. Turn the apple over and, on the good side, write what we are like when we have the victory. Some examples are: fighter/friendly, liar/truthful, angry/happy, unkind/kind, thief/honest, sad/joyful, and many more. Put the apples on the tree so the wormy side is showing. As you talk about each of these problems turn the apple over and show the children what victory in Jesus can mean in their life.

Special Instructions for Unit 27: Give each child the last page from their Praying Hands book and have them write their memory verse for this week. Also give them the cover for their book and a length of yarn. Help them to assemble their book.


  1. What were some of the things Paul did before he became a Christian?
  2. How was Paul's life changed?
  3. Paul could never have changed himself from the awful man he was into the Christian that he became. Who changed Paul's life?
  4. What was the best way Paul could thank God for forgiving him? How can you show your thanks to God?
  5. Who was Timothy? Was he Paul's son? Why do you suppose Paul called him "Son"?
  6. Paul wrote letters to Timothy. To whom else did Paul write letters? Do you know why it was necessary many times for Paul to write letters instead of talking in person. (Part of the time he was in prison.)
  7. What reasons are there for giving testimonies, either in church or to another person? (It is a way of praising God as well as letting others know how Jesus changes lives.)
  8. Where could you look for a chance this week to tell someone about something Jesus has done for you?


  • Use dolls to act out good and bad behavior. Tell the children that with Jesus in our hearts we won't want to act badly. We can ask Jesus and He will help us to do good.
  • Bring a large, beautifully wrapped gift box with a picture of Heaven inside. Tell the children that the people who love Jesus and do good for Him will someday receive a gift like the one you have, only it will be real. Let them try to guess what is in the box. If they mention anything that will be in Heaven tell them their guess is close. After everyone has had a chance to guess, open the box and talk about how thankful we should be that Jesus is preparing such a wonderful place in which we may live.
  • Prepare a large red heart and several large "sin spots" made from white paper that have been outlined in black. Inside the "spots" have the illustrations of the naughty deeds (see Patterns). Attach the spots to the heart. Remove the spots, one at a time, as you tell the children that Jesus can help us have "victory" so we won't do naughty things. Note: Attach the spots in such a way that when you remove them the heart is not messed up. Covering the heart with contact paper first will keep the tape from sticking to it and tearing it when it is removed.


Divide your group into two or more teams. Explain that Paul was thankful to God for many things, and that one of his theme words was VICTORY. Tell your class that you are going to give them time to think of different things they are thankful for that begin with each of the letters in that word. Give each team a pad of paper and a pencil, and have them write the letters down the left side of their paper, leaving room between each letter to write their word list. Allow about one minute for each letter. (If you wish, have an adult in each group write down the words suggested.) When time has been allowed for each letter, total the scores of each group and award a small prize to the winning team. Then share all the words suggested, and discuss how and why we should be thankful for each of the items mentioned.


  • Later Life of Paul — Pict-o-graph, Standard Publishing
  • Puzzles from Acts — Classroom Activity Book, 8 each of 6 puzzles, Standard Publishing
  • New Testament Pictures — Coloring Book, classroom pictures, Standard Publishing
  • Books of the New Testament — Arch Books