TEXT: Hebrews 11:32-40; 12:1-2; 1 Peter 2:21
The students will be able to identify the character qualities that cause them to designate a person as a “hero.” They will learn that patterning their lives after the lives of godly Bible characters will help them become good examples in this present world.
Information for the individual lessons in this quarter may be referred to as individual Bible heroes are discussed. It is important to note that of the many godly characteristics the Bible heroes shared, one is common to all. That is faith. One could not qualify as a true hero without faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God.
Considering the examples given in our text of real heroes of faith, those who would follow their examples are urged to keep their eyes on the goal, run the race with patience, and earnestly contend for the faith until the crown of life is won.
It was faith in God that supported all those eminent men and women, who in different parts of the world and in different ages, took a heroic stand for righteousness and truth. That same stand taken today by young or old in whatever circumstances God places them is still making heroes of the faith.
As we have studied during the past twelve weeks, we have considered the question: What makes a hero? The answer to that question depends, to a great extent, on who is asking the question. To a child, a hero would be someone entirely different from that of an adult. Similarly, a Christian’s criterion for designating a hero is dramatically different from that of a sinner’s. A person becomes a hero to someone else when a certain quality, ability, or attitude is admired so much that it would be imitated by the admirer.
During this course of study we have seen particular qualities exemplified by the lives of twelve of God’s faithful servants. These people can be considered heroes because all Christians desire the same qualities and attributes that their lives portrayed. In considering these heroes, we should be challenged to ask ourselves the question: How can I have a greater measure of these Christian qualities? As we assimilate and grow in Christian graces we will be better able to do as the Apostle Paul commanded Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers . . .” (1 Timothy 4:12).
- In six words or less describe the Christian character quality that we admire for each of the following people:
Elisabeth and Zacharias
Joseph (earthly father of Jesus)
John the Baptist
Widow of Zarephath
Woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment
Response: Your students' answers will possibly include the following:
Elisabeth and Zacharias — Believed all things are possible.
Joseph (earthly father of Jesus) — Was obedient.
Jesus — The eternal Son of God and full of love for all.
John the Baptist — A soul winner.
Deborah — God would fight their battles.
Gideon — Had courage through God to do anything.
Caleb — Wholeheartedly followed God.
Widow of Zarephath — Faith brought her sustenance.
Stephen — Looked to God for help, even in persecution.
Woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment— Her perseverance paid off.
Ananias — Was available to do God’s bidding.
Elisha — Served God willingly and didn’t complain.
The above list gives possible answers. The purpose of six-word answers is to give several students the opportunity to respond without getting into lengthy discussions on any one character. Keep in mind that although we studied one particular aspect of these Bible characters’ lives, your class may give other attributes that are equally important. This question will help review the character qualities studied during this quarter.
- Must a person have a well-known name to qualify as a hero?
Response: Help the students discuss the idea that it is not the “big names” that are important, but the life lived. A godly example may not be well known but God takes note of his life. Encourage students to look past the well-known names and look at godly examples for their inspiration. Help the class reflect on the names discussed in the previous question. They were not all well known. Some of their names were not even recorded in the Bible.
- The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is known as “The roll call of the heroes of faith.” Note that verse 36 of our text begins with the words, “And others,” referring to some heroes who were not even names. What one quality was universal among all of these heroes?
Response: The students’ thoughts may vary. Direct the discussion to verse 39, “. . . these all, having obtained a good report through faith, . . .” Help the students to realize that “without faith it is impossible to please him . . .” (Hebrews 11:6). These people, as well as all the characters that were studied this quarter, pleased God. Pleasing God through faith is a prerequisite to becoming one of God’s heroes.
- Explain the relationship between two phrases found in our text in Hebrews 12:1, “. . . we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses . . .” and “ . . . let us lay aside every weight. . . .”
Response: Students’ responses should point out that God uses the lives of successful Christians to inspire others to walk closer to God and “. . . run with patience the race that is set before us.” Ask the students to offer the names of Bible characters and contemporary Christians who have especially inspired them in their Christian walk.
- Who is the leading example, both in this quarter’s study and throughout the Bible? Explain.
Response: The answer to this question should be rather obvious: Jesus. Use Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus . . . ,” and 1 Peter 2:21, “. . . ye should follow his steps.” Ask the students to explain the difference between the example that Jesus left and that of the other characters studied this quarter. They will probably note that Jesus had all of the good qualities exemplified by the others, and more.
- Using Psalm 1 as reference, explain why associating with the ungodly more than is necessary can be spiritually dangerous.
Response: Psalm 1 does not give a detailed explanation as to why a Christian should not associate with sinners but it does warn against such action. Students may point out that while associating with sinners, a person is continually having a bad example set before him. Point out that although God has the power to keep a Christian unspotted from the world and its influence, a person should be careful not to choose the company of sinners or those who are spiritually “lukewarm,” any more than necessary. “Follow not that which is evil, but that which is good” (3 John 1:11). Proverbs 22:24-25; 2 Peter 3:17
- What was the most important point you have learned during this quarter?
Response: Allow students to respond. What was important to them may not be what was the most important point to you, but encourage them to give their thoughts. You might use their responses as a gauge as to how well you kept within the overall objective of the quarter—to address the question of “What is a hero?”
- After studying about several heroes this quarter and looking closely at their lives, read 2 Corinthians 3:2 and explain the responsibility of every Christian concerning the example they portray.
Response: Discuss with the students the importance of living a life that is above reproach and is an example of godliness. No person lives unto himself. What he does or does not do may have an effect on those around him. If a Christian’s life is open like a letter, as Paul said, to be known and read by all, sinners and fellow Christians will examine his life. Challenge the class to be like the characters studied this quarter—people who will please God. In doing so, they can be modern day heroes.
Choose students, or ask for volunteers, to act out an incident in the life of a Bible hero. Class may guess who the hero is.
Review the characters and qualities studied this past quarter with a Bible Tic-Tac-Toe game. Divide your class in half, one side being the X’s and the other side the O’s. Ask questions concerning the lessons, alternating sides. If the question is answered correctly, that team may place a marker on the Tic-Tac-Toe grid.
Give each student two pieces of paper with a piece of carbon stapled between. Discuss the characteristics exemplified by each of the Bible heroes studied this quarter. Have the students draw a large heart on the top sheet of paper, and then write each characteristic as it is mentioned. Bring out that we want to follow the example and have these virtues in our Christian life too. As you make this point, have them look under the carbon at the second sheet—an exact copy of the first. Have them write the words “My Heart” on the top of this sheet.
Talk about what a “pattern” is with your class. Explain that a pattern is used to make a copy of something. We are to pattern our lives after the Bible heroes we have studied this quarter. Show your group a simple crown pattern cut from cardboard. Allow them to trace around it onto a piece of paper. Explain that the Bible characters you have studied won a crown in Heaven, and if we pattern after them we can also have a crown. Review the characteristics studied, and as you do, have your students write the names of the examples onto their crowns. Have them include their own names too.