What Is the Old Testament About?

Primary Pals for Teachers
Unit 36 - Learning About Our Bible

TEXT: Psalms 24:1-4; 105:7-10; 132:12-13


The students will be able to explain that the Old Testament includes a written account of the Creation, history of the Jewish nation, and poetic and prophetic writings. It points ahead to the coming of Jesus.


Introduction: Bring a baby book to class. Briefly review the comparison between a baby book and the Old Testament given in the Primary Pals story. Point out the various sections mentioned.

  1. The Old Testament has three main sections: history, poetry, and prophecy.
  2. The history section reveals God as creator of man and the world in which he lives. It is a historical account of the Jewish nation and also tells of the promised Messiah.
  3. In the poetry section we find Psalms, Proverbs, and other inspirational writings.
  4. Prophecy is a large part of the Old Testament. We read thrilling accounts regarding God's prophets and what they proclaimed.

Climax: The Old Testament tells of God's marvelous works, promises, and love for mankind.

Conclusion: We can gain a knowledge of God by studying the various sections of the Old Testament.

Response: The students will be able to explain that the Old Testament was written so we would have knowledge and hope in God.


The Protestant Bible includes thirty-nine books in the Old Testament. The Catholic Bible has seven additional books that are called the Apocrypha. The majority of Bible students do not include them in the canon of the Scriptures because neither Christ nor the Apostles allude to them. Jesus quoted from various Old Testament Scriptures and speaks of Moses and the prophets, or the Law and the prophets. The first five books of the Old Testament are attributed to Moses and are called the books of the Law or the Pentateuch. The next twelve, from Joshua through Esther, are the historical books. Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon are often called the poetical books. The balance are referred to as the major and minor prophets.

When we consider that the Scriptures were handwritten and then recopied as the need arose, it is remarkable that we have them as they are today. Paul told Timothy, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). Peter tells us "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21). Since this is the case, it is very evident that the Lord has carefully guarded the Word that it would be available to us centuries later. In 1 Corinthians 10:11 we read, "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."


  • Copy and cut out a notched Old Testament memory verse card for each student (see Patterns). Also give each student a piece of string or thin yarn two yards long. Instructions: Staple one end of the string to the black dot at the top of the card. Wrap the string from one notch to another in the correct order of the memory verse and say each word aloud as it is wrapped. Fasten the end and use this as a book marker for your Bible.
  • Name several Old Testament stories for the children and let each of them choose one to illustrate with multicolored felt figures (see Patterns—also use silhouette shapes given in Unit 28). Give each child a little felt board made from heavy cardboard covered with a piece of felt. (Be creative and put a border around the edge to make it look like a Bible!) Have three open boxes of felt Bible figures for the children to choose from. In one have people figures. In the second have animals. And in the third have the other props. Be sure to include some long strips, ovals, and rectangular pieces in various sizes to use as basic building pieces. Talk about how we know each of the stories are true because they are in our Bible. Tell them which book each of their stories is from. Also, talk about how thankful we are for the many people who wrote the stories.
  • Have the children make a scroll with the memory verse written on it. They could draw different objects from the Old Testament around it—rainbow, tables of stone, lamb. Stickers could also be used. Use a Baby Jesus sticker for the prophecy about His birth.
  • Make a large chart of the children's favorite Old Testament stories. If they name a story from the New Testament tell them to remember it for next Sunday when you will list New Testament stories. Save the chart for next Sunday's lesson. This is a chance for the students to learn that the Old Testament tells of the time before Jesus was born and the New Testament tells of the time He lived and after He died.


  1. Who are some of the men that God used to write the Old Testament?
  2. Name the three main sections of the Old Testament.
  3. What does the history part tell about?
  4. What does the poetry section tell about?
  5. What does the prophecy part tell about?
  6. What does the word testament mean?
  7. What is the most important purpose of the Old Testament?
  8. How would living be different in the Old Testament times as opposed to the New Testament times? Talk about differences in worship of God, praying, churches, etc.


  • Help your preschoolers make a Bible-verse garden. They will each need a paper cup halfway filled with clay dough to use as a flowerpot. Prepare verse flowers for the children to add to their flowerpots (see Patterns). On each of the flowers print verses from the Old Testament. Tape a chenille wire to the back of each flower so it can be pushed into the clay dough. The children may win flowers in many ways to add to their flowerpot gardens: smiling, sharing, obeying, etc. (Suggestion: Print the different verses on your original sheet of flowers before you run them off onto different colored paper. Divide the flowers so each child has different colors and verses in his set. Put each set into a baggie with the child's name on it.)
  • Show colorful pictures of stories and lessons the children know from the Old Testament. Bring out the fact that God told the writers of all these stories what to write. They are stories of beginnings and promises. Because God was with these people, we know that everything in the Bible is true.
  • Copy the Old Testament puzzle cards onto heavy paper (see Patterns). Cover them with clear contact paper and cut them apart. Let the children put them together and tell you what stories are illustrated on the cards. Tell them these stories are from the Old Testament part of their Bibles.


Divide a large sheet of posterboard into squares to use as a tic-tac-toe game. At the top of each square attach an adhesive-backed picture hook. Choose three squares at random and write "true or false" inside. In three others write "something's missing." In the last three write "multiple choice." Make five X cards and five O cards, large enough to fit over the blocks and cover the wording. Punch a hole at the top of these cards so they may be hung on the hooks. Cover the X and O cards with clear contact paper so they can be used again. Divide the children into two teams. Let them take turns choosing a block and then trying to answer that type of review question. Have plenty of questions. If they answer correctly they may place an X or O card over that square. Three X's or O's in a row will win the game. The game can be played more than once if time allows.

Set up a Bible ABC's review game of the Old Testament Tell the children that you are going to ask them twenty-six questions. All the answers are found in the Old Testament. They must listen carefully because the one clue that will help them is that the answers are in alphabetical order. For example: Who was the first man?—Adam. What was the name of the tower that people built trying to reach Heaven?—Babel. What was the name of Abel's brother—Cain. Keep the questions as simple as possible. If you absolutely can't find a question for a certain letter (such as X) make it a bonus (X-tra point, etc.).

Prepare a large poster with the letters OT (see Patterns). Ask the children to suggest stories and events from the Old Testament that can be written into these larger letters. (If they happen to mention something from the New Testament try to suggest an Old Testament happening that might be similar. You don't want to scare them off from participating.) Fill the poster with Old Testament details. Present to the children the fact that the Old Testament is loaded with wonderful happenings. You can then put the poster on display or have a drawing to see which child gets to keep the poster.