What is an Object Lesson?
An object lesson is the use of objects – insects, fruits, vegetables, animals, coins, thermometers, tools, weapons – to teach intellectual and spiritual truths. More than just a visual, an object lesson draws a truth from something you are showing or doing. Real objects, places and happenings can make learning come alive for children, youth, and adults.
The Bible Is Full of Object Lessons
The potter’s house, the fig tree and sheep were used by God to teach his people truths in ways they could understand, remember, and share with others. Lessons can be found not only the things of nature, but in the sacrificial service and observances of the Bible. The Scriptures themselves were given to reveal God. All of nature reveals the thought of God, but we often fail to see him through his creation. (Romans 1:20)
Jesus’ Use of Object Lessons
Jesus often used the objects at hand around him to teach people about God and His Kingdom. When he was by a well, He used water. After He fed 5000 people, He taught them about the bread of life. When He was on a fishing boat, He said the Kingdom was like a fishing net. He told his listeners to consider the lilies, the sparrows, and the hairs on their head. Jesus referred to a fig tree, a mustard tree, yeast, salt, a vineyard, money and other things from everyday life to reveal spiritual truth. When He spoke of a vineyard, He was probably by a vineyard. When He said, “consider the sparrows,” there were probably sparrows flying around.
In Christ’s teaching, the unknown was illustrated by the known; divine truths by earthly things, the spiritual by the natural, the difficult by the simple. He used the things with which the people were most familiar, the things of the earth to teach them the things that were unfamiliar, the things of heaven. Object lessons speak to the eyes and other senses so that they are received into the heart. In fact the more senses that are involved, the greater the learning that takes place. Christ’s teaching using object lessons was targeted at adults, not children, but everyone can learn truths from a simple lesson involving the senses.
MORE IDEAS? See “Creative Object Lessons”
200 page e-book that explains everything you need to know when planning your very own object lessons. It contains 90 fully developed object lesson ideas and another 200 object lesson starter ideas based on Biblical idioms and Names / Descriptions of God.
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