Acts 16-21 – Teaching Children the Gospel

Acts CHAPTER 16 Paul is directed in a vision to preach in Macedonia—He casts an evil spirit out of a woman—He and Silas are imprisoned, and they convert the jailor—They admonish all to believe on the Lord Jesus and be saved.

Acts CHAPTER 17 Paul and Silas preach and are persecuted in Thessalonica and in Berea—Paul, in Athens, preaches from Mars’ Hill about the unknown god—He says, We are the offspring of God.

Acts CHAPTER 18 Being rejected by the Jews, Paul turns to the Gentiles—He preaches, ministers, and travels—Apollos also preaches with power.

Acts CHAPTER 19 Paul confers the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands—He preaches and works many miracles—The sons of Sceva fail to cast out devils by exorcism—The worshippers of Diana (Artemis) raise a tumult against Paul.

Acts CHAPTER 20 Paul raises Eutychus from death—Paul is free from the blood of all men—He predicts apostasy from within the Church—He reveals a teaching from Jesus, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Acts CHAPTER 21 Paul journeys to Jerusalem—He is persecuted, arrested, and bound.

Paul’s Journeys to Preach the Gospel

  • New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2023) “Acts 17:16–34In His parting words to His Apostles, the Savior commanded them to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). Paul and his companions made remarkable progress in fulfilling this commandment.

Missionaries teach people about Jesus.

Acts 16:25–34

Come, Follow Me—For Primary: New Testament 2023 “Acts 16-21” Do the children you teach know what missionaries do? How can you help the children understand that they can share the gospel with others?

Help the children act out Acts 16:25–34 as you summarize the account of Paul and Silas sharing the gospel in prison (see also “Chapter 61: Paul and Silas in Prison,” in New Testament Stories, 158–60, or the corresponding video on Explain that missionaries today also teach people about Jesus and help them prepare to be baptized.

Create missionary name tags for the children to wear, and help them write their names on the tags.

  • Friend October 2015 One way to become a good missionary is to try to be more like Jesus. Cut out the badges and fill in a trait you would like to practice. Maybe you could work on being “Elder Kind” or “Sister Grateful.” Put your badge where it can remind you of your goal.

Teach the children simple statements of doctrine that they can share with others, such as “I am a child of God,” “God speaks through a living prophet,” or “Jesus Christ is our Savior.” Remind the children that we don’t have to have a missionary name tag to share the gospel with others.

I can be a missionary now.

Acts 16:14–15, 25–3418:7–8, 24–28

Come, Follow Me—For Primary: New Testament 2023 “Acts 16-21” How can you help the children be like Paul and share with others what they are learning about the gospel?

Invite the children to read Acts 16:14–15, 25–3418:7–8, 24–28 and make a list of the people Paul and Apollos shared the gospel with. Then invite them to make a list of people they can share the gospel with. Let the children role-play how they might tell these people about Jesus Christ or invite them to church. You could also invite the children to write notes bearing testimony of a gospel truth to these people.

  • Pass around a picture of Jesus Christ. Ask the children to take turns holding the picture and saying one thing they know about Him. What has He done for us? (Pictures in the Gospel Art Book could provide some ideas.)
  • Friend January 2019 “Something Special to Share” Diego wants to take something special to share for Show and Tell. He decides to take a picture of Jesus and tell them that Jesus loves everyone.

Invite current full-time missionaries, returned missionaries, or ward missionaries to visit the class and tell about their experiences with sharing the gospel. Encourage the children to ask questions about how they can share the gospel with others.

  • To inspire your family to share the gospel, you could show one or more of the videos in the Sharing the Gospel section of the Gospel Library.

The scriptures testify of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Acts 17:10–12

Come, Follow Me—For Primary: New Testament 2023 “Acts 16-21” Though some of the children you teach might not be able to read yet, you can help them develop a love for the scriptures and see how they testify of the Savior.

Help one of the children read the phrase “They … searched the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). Invite the children to point to each day of the week on a calendar as they repeat this phrase with you.

  • Friend June 1991 “Read the Scriptures Daily” How many times do you eat each day? How long have you gone without eating anything at all? When you go without food and water, your stomach starts to growl with hunger and your body feels weak. Just as your body needs to be fed every day to keep it strong and healthy, your spirit needs daily nourishment to be strong and to stay close to Heavenly Father. One way to do this is by reading the scriptures.
  • There are thirty numbered spaces in the picture (below). Starting with number one, color one space for each day that you read the scriptures. At the end of thirty days, you will have a completed picture and will have established a scripture-reading routine.

Sing together a song that teaches about the blessings of reading the scriptures, such as “Search, Ponder, and Pray” (Children’s Songbook, 109).

To teach the children that the scriptures testify of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, help them turn to a chapter in the scriptures, like Acts 17 or 18, and find words like GodLord, or Jesus. (You may want to mark these words beforehand so the children can find them more easily.) Each time the children find one of these words, invite them to share something they know about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

The scriptures testify of Jesus Christ.

Acts 17:2–4, 10–1218:28

Come, Follow Me—For Primary: New Testament 2023 “Acts 16-21” All of the prophets testify of Jesus Christ. How can you teach the children to find Him in the scriptures, even when He isn’t mentioned by name?

Help the children read Acts 17:2–4, 10–1218:28, and invite them to look for what these passages have in common. According to these verses, what helped people believe the gospel of Jesus Christ? Invite the children to share favorite stories about Jesus that they have learned from the scriptures.

  • Have the children review the following list and then have them choose one. Click on the link to the picture and show it as they tell their favorite story of Jesus. Color the scripture on the above chart
  1. Isaiah 7:149:6–7GAK “The Birth of Jesus”
  2. Luke 2:1–7GAK “The Nativity”
  3. Luke 2:8–20GAK “The Announcement of Christ’s Birth to the Shepherds”
  4. Matthew 2:1–12GAK “The Wise Men”
  5. Matthew 2:13–15GAK “Flight into Egypt”
  6. Luke 2:40GAK “Childhood of Jesus Christ”
  7. Luke 2:41–52GAK “Boy Jesus in the Temple”
  8. Matthew 3:13–17GAK “John the Baptist Baptizing Jesus”
  9. John 9:1–17, 32–38GAK “Christ Healing a Blind Man”
  10. Matthew 8:23–27GAK “Stilling the Storm”
  11. Matthew 19:13–15GAK “Christ and the Children”
  12. Matthew 5:1–106:9–13GAK “Sermon on the Mount”
  13. John 11:1–3, 17–27, 41–44GAK “Jesus Raising Lazarus from the Dead”
  14. Luke 17:11–19GAK “Ten Lepers”
  15. Matthew 21:12–15GAK “Jesus Cleansing the Temple”
  16. Matthew 26:17–30GAK “The Last Supper”
  17. Matthew 26:36–45GAK “Jesus Praying in Gethsemane”
  18. Mark 14:42–46GAK “The Betrayal of Jesus”
  19. Luke 23:32–46GAK “The Crucifixion”
  20. John 20:11–18GAK “Mary and the Resurrected Lord”
  21. Luke 24:36–43GAK “Jesus Shows His Wounds”
  22. 3 Nephi 11:1–17GAK “Jesus Teaching in the Western Hemisphere”
  23. 3 Nephi 17:1–10GAK “Jesus Healing the Nephites”
  24. Joseph Smith—History 1:14–20GAK “The First Vision”
  25. D&C 76:22–24GAK “The Resurrected Jesus Christ”

On slips of paper, write scripture references that teach about the Savior (you can find some in Guide to the Scriptures, “Jesus Christ,” Hide the papers around the room and invite the children to find them. Help the children look up the references they find, and ask them to share with each other what each scripture teaches about Jesus.

I am a child of God. (Younger Children)

Acts 17:22–31

Come, Follow Me—For Primary: New Testament 2023 “Acts 16-21” On Mars’ Hill, Paul taught basic truths about the nature of God, including the truths that we are His children and that He is “not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:27). How can you help the children feel close to their Heavenly Father?

Invite the children to repeat the phrase “We are the offspring of God” (Acts 17:29), and explain that offspring means children. Bear your testimony to each child, one by one, that he or she is a child of God. Invite them to share how they feel about their Heavenly Father.

  • Print one of the below image for each child and have them write their name on the line in the sentence and then draw a picture of themself

Show pictures of children with their families (if possible, include pictures of the children in your class). Ask the children to point to the parents in the pictures. Explain that we are the children of our mothers and fathers, and all of us are also spirit children of our heavenly parents.

  • Heavenly Father is the father of our spirits, so we can grow to be like him. Heavenly Father is loving, good, and kind. When we are loving, good, and kind, we are being like Heavenly Father.  We should try to become more like Heavenly Father every day.

Sing a song about Heavenly Father, such as “I Know My Father Lives” (Children’s Songbook, 5). With help from the children, write words or draw pictures on the board that represent things we learn about Heavenly Father from the song.

Read to the children these words from Acts 17:27: “He be not far from every one of us.” Talk about times when you have felt close to Heavenly Father, and invite the children to do the same.

  • Friend August 2017 “Ralphie’s Amazing Find” A boy is upset that his best friend is moving. He takes his dog for a walk, and his dog discovers a beautiful waterfall. The boy feels God’s love for him.

I am a child of God. (Older Children)

Acts 17:22–31

Come, Follow Me—For Primary: New Testament 2023 “Acts 16-21” How can you help the children remember that they are children of God?

Show the children a stone, and explain that in Paul’s day, people worshipped gods they made out of stone and other materials.

Ask the children to read Acts 17:27–29. What do we learn about God from these verses? Explain that offspring means children. Ask the children how it makes them feel to know that they are children of God. (Explain that we are the children of our mothers and fathers, and all of us are also spirit children of our heavenly parents.)

Ask the children to read Acts 17:27. Invite the children to write about or draw pictures of ways they can “feel after” or come closer to God. When have they felt that He is “not far from [them]”?

  • The below pictures can help the children with ideas on how they can come closer to God.
  • Talk to Him through Daily Prayer Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Never hesitate to get on your knees in some private place and speak with Him. What a marvelous and wonderful thing is prayer. Think of it. We can actually speak with our Father in Heaven.” God wants to hear from you, and He is always available to listen. He wants to hear about your day, he wants to hear what you are grateful for, and He wants to hear how He can help you. Latter Day Saint Channel “How to Build a Relationship with God
  • Study God’s Words in the Scriptures and from His Living prophets. Some describe the scriptures as “God’s love letter” to us. In the scriptures we learn more about God and of his love for us and how we can become like him and draw closer to him.
  • Keep the Commandments When we live righteously we are be blessed with “His Spirit to be with us”.
  • Go to Church Meetings and Temples. We learn of God and feel his Spirit in church meetings and at temples.
  • Take the Sacrament and Remember Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father loves us and sent Jesus to help us and be our Savior. Remembering Jesus Christ and what he did for us and the example he set helps us see and understand who our Heavenly Father is and how we can become closer to him.
  • Be Grateful for Our Blessings. The earth and everything on it was created under the direction of Heavenly Father. Gratitude for our many blessings helps us feel closer to Heavenly Father.
  • New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2023) “Acts 17:16–34” Seek the Lord Consider hiding something in the classroom that students would enjoy finding, like a piece of candy. Invite students to search for the hidden surprise until it is found. Discuss the effort students put into finding the object and why effort is needed to obtain something worthwhile. Encourage students to analyze Acts 17:27, including the Joseph Smith Translation found in footnote b. Point out that Paul testified to the Athenians that God is close to His children and desires all to seek after Him.

Additional Resources

Primary 7 Manual: New Testament “Lesson 43: Paul Testifies of Jesus Christ”

Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2023 “Acts 16-21”

Acts 19:1–7.

Importance of being baptized and confirmed These verses can help your family have a discussion about the importance of being baptized and confirmed. To better understand the truths in Acts 19:1–7, you could discuss some things that are useless without something else, such as a cell phone without a battery. Or you could share this teaching from the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 95). Why is baptism “good for nothing” without receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost? (see 3 Nephi 27:19–20Moses 6:59–61).

Acts 19:18–20.

Sacrifice As you read Acts 19:18–20, notice the value of the possessions that the people were willing to give up in order to embrace the gospel (see verse 19). Are there worldly possessions or activities we need to give up in order to receive heavenly blessings?

Acts 20:32–35.

More blessed to give than receive When has your family experienced Christ’s teaching that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”? (Acts 20:35). Is there someone who could benefit from service, time, or gifts that your family could give? As a family, discuss some ideas and make a plan to serve someone. How do we feel when we serve others? Why is it more blessed to give than to receive?

Friend July 2023 “For Older Kids”


New Testament Stories “Paul Obeys the Holy Ghost” The Holy Ghost told the Apostle Paul to go to Jerusalem. The Holy Ghost said that Paul would be put in prison.

The Red Crystal

Come Follow Me with Living Scriptures “I Am a Child of God” Lesson ideas

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