Daniel, Part One- Zero Lesson/First Class Meeting

For the first class meeting, I always do what we call a “Zero Lesson.” That just means it’s a lesson before the first homework is assigned. We won’t dive into the book’s homework until the second class meeting. The first class meeting gives me a chance to introduce myself to the class and get to know a little about new students who are willing to speak up, and also to reconnect with returning students. I also go over the mechanics of the class, like the syllabus, the Challenge Verse, and Scripture Memory.

Once the “business” part of the class time is over, I go right into teaching what Inductive Bible Study is. Because I like my class time to be as interactive as possible, I teach the method by asking a lot of questions I’m sure my returning students will know. This is a better way to review it for them because they’re engaged and excited to show what they know, and it shows new students that this really is a method they will be able to master. It’s not just something the grown-up teacher is blathering on about!

If you have very experienced students that you are confident can lead this part of the discussion, by all means, let one of them do it. You can’t imagine how gratifying it is to watch one of your students effectively teach Inductive Bible Study to other kids.

Once we’ve gone over Inductive Bible Study, we generally take a break and then return for an introduction to the book we are going to be studying. This is where I tell the kids about the author, the genre, the context, etc. In the case of Daniel, there is some fascinating history that precedes the events of the book. And because I’m big on showing kids how the stories of the Bible “hold hands,” I explain how what we’re about to study in Daniel stretches back to Jacob. (In our case, many of the kids in my class were with me when we did that study, so it really resonated with them.)


Don’t make the mistake of assuming that a group of kids can’t follow the history of Israel and understand the split of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. It’s not hard to make interesting!

Here are my personal notes I typed up to prepare for the class.

Daniel Part 1: Zero Lesson

Board: contact info

Introduce myself

New students, what brought you here?

Returning students, what did you do this summer?

What are your ideas for good prizes?

Go over the syllabus

About this class-

  • I don’t call on anyone whose hand isn’t up
  • Challenge Verse, explain
  • Scripture Memory (incl. techniques), explain
  • Keep discussion on point. Only answer homework questions if you’ve done your homework. If you haven’t, be sure to fill them in as we go.


  • You can study the Bible for yourself, but you have to put in the discipline to learn how to do it.
  • Jewish children memorized entire books of the Bible.
  • I’ve seen kids of all ages in my classes learn the material and run with it.
  • Some of it you’ll like, and some of it not, but I want you to know how to do the techniques either way.
  • You’re old enough now not to wait for Mom or Dad to take the lead on your Bible study or Scripture Memory. Take the initiative.


  • Learn the best way to do the study for your particular child (small chunks, all at once, morning, evening, weekend, level of independence, etc.)
  • If frustrated or discouraged, it’s okay to skip and move on.
  • Try to pull lessons into every day a la Deuteronomy 6.
  • You will learn a lot, too!

Grace (a lot in this room; never pressure or shame about homework, if you didn’t get any of it done, come anyway-you’ll learn so much!)

Inductive Bible Study- handout, teach it



What do you know about the book of Daniel? Board

What questions do you have about the book of Daniel? Board (take picture for end of semester)

Northern Kingdom/Southern Kingdom & captivity

  • Jacob’s house divided, 12 sons became patriarchs of 12 tribes
  • tension from time of judges to Saul and David to Solomon, and in Rehoboam’s     rule (son of Solomon)
  • 10 tribes rose up and split off over tax issue in 796 BC , fulfilling prophecy given to Solomon
  • Rehoboam ruled Southern Kingdom-Benjamin and Judah; Jerusalem here
  • Jeroboam ruled Northern Kingdom, golden calves to worship so people would not leave to go to Jerusalem. Yes, really. Golden calves. Again!
  • Northern Kingdom conquered by Assyria starting in 734 BC, with some captives
  • Southern Kingdom conquered by Babylon starting in 605 BC, taking captives

Captives were best and brightest young men–smart move; imagine a group of class presidents being picked out to become good Babylonians (and, imagine the heartbreak of the parents); Daniel among them; Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego, too

What does Daniel mean? Who will find that out and let us know next week? (get a volunteer, make a note for next week)

Daniel was 15 or 16 when taken captive, and died in his 90s after serving in high positions with four kings- in Babylon, never turned from the Lord (like Joseph or Esther, taken from home and family and dropped into a pagan kingdom, but was brave and mature and wise) à This is who you want to be like!

We’re going to see the importance of making hard decisions before you’re in hard circumstances. (diet, furnace, lions)

We’re also going to see what God is doing in a story that is about Gentile nations, not Israel.

Why is Daniel in captivity? Judah was disobedient and unfaithful. What do you see about Daniel’s faith? Solid. So, he’s in captivity because of the sins of his nation, not his own! If everyone had been like Daniel, probably wouldn’t have been taken. But he’s never bitter or arrogant.

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