Daniel Part 1: Week One
(These are my notes beyond what is already in the Precept book. Of course, in class, we go over all the homework, and I have the kids read most of the time when there are paragraphs or sidebars. We don’t read through the Max and Molly story sections in class, just because of time.
Reminder: I only have my class do three days of homework at a time, but I am writing these posts a full week at a time so they correlate with the book. Consequently, some things like the Challenge Verses won’t always fall on the same days.)
Challenge Verse: 1 Tim 4:16
“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”
My point- This is the “watch your life and doctrine” verse, as it has it in another translation. It means, watch what you do and what you believe. What you believe will dictate what you do, so make sure you are studying to understand correctly.
Ask last week’s volunteer if he found out what Daniel means. “God is my judge.” Interesting, right? Think about the context of Daniel’s upbringing and the situation he finds himself in. Why do you think this name is significant? (He is far from home and from his family. He is being subjected to other influences. He could easily sway from his faith, but if he stands firm on the truth that God—not Nebuchadnezzar, not the commander, not new peers or false gods—is his judge, he can stay the course and be used by God in the midst of a wildly pagan culture.)
How did your first week of homework go? Any challenges? Anything you tried that worked really great you want to share with everyone else?
Review Inductive Bible Study, with emphasis on Observation. Did you notice in your homework that words like WHO or WHERE or HOW are in all caps? That’s to remind you that you are observing the text. Remember the 5Ws and an H—who, what, when, where, why, and how.
Page 14: Follow-up to the question, “HOW are you going to know…”
- Did the people under Jehoiakim know what would happen if they were disobedient? Should they have known? How? (Yes, because they had access to God’s law and His Word. But they either disregarded it, or didn’t bother to know it. This takes us back to the Challenge Verse. You need to know what God’s Word says, and do Life and doctrine.)
Page 16: Have someone read the verse in Pig Latin for fun, and then have someone read it in English so they don’t miss the point!
Page 17: Before we read the Production Manager’s Notes, can anyone summarize the history of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms I taught you last week? (Note: I had a boy in my class, a new student, shoot his little hand straight up in the air and repeat back what I had taught about this part of Israel’s history. He got almost all the details exactly right, and he did it with great enthusiasm! Seriously, how cool is that? I made a special point to commend him in private after class and encourage him to keep studying. He might be a teacher in the making.)
Here’s a mnemonic to help remember some details of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. The Northern Kingdom is on top, so it looks like it’s first, and in fact, it was taken into captivity first. Their invaders were the Assyrians (start with “A”). The Southern Kingdom is on bottom, and it went second. Their invaders were the Babylonians (start with “B”). So, Northern, first, Assyria. Southern, second, Babylon.
Page 19: Pop Quiz! This is a lot of history, isn’t it? But we’re using the 5Ws and H. And WHERE are we getting all the answers? The Bible itself.
6 Down comes from 2 Kings 17:12. They served idols.
- Remember, what was the first commandment in the ten commandments? No other gods.
Helpful Hint: The information for this crossword puzzle covers a lot of detail that is easily confused. Since you’re talking about the Northern Kingdom in the top half of Page 19 and the Southern Kingdom in the bottom half, it is helpful to the kids if you gesture high for the Northern information and low for the Southern. These are subtle things that help some kids organize the information in their minds.
Page 20: When you are going over 10 and 11 Down, give an intriguing pause and tell the kids to remember this when we get to Belshazzar. Boy, are they going to see something spooky happen!
Page 21: Anytime you are on your Application questions like you are here, make a point that we are now on Application. Having observed thoroughly and done any necessary Interpretation, we are now ready to Apply.
You can also say something like, “Hold on. Did you catch this? Which of our three steps are we doing right here?”
Write on the board:
Daniel- God Is My Judge (true God)
Belteshazzar- Bel Will Protect (false god)
Hananiah- Jehovah Has Been Gracious (true God)
Shadrach- Inspired of Aku (false god)
Mishael- Who Is What God Is (true God)
Meshach- Belonging to Aku (false god)
Azariah- Yahweh Has Helped (true God)
Abednego- Servant of Nego (false god)
Page 25: Follow-up to the question, “Since names show…”
- Do you see the importance of identity? Nebuchadnezzar thought he could change their identity by calling them something else, and calling them according to the names of false gods. I’m sure it worked for a lot of the youths who were taken in by the Babylonians, but it didn’t work for these four. Why do you think they were so sure of their real identities in the Lord? How can you be sure you know exactly who YOU are in the Lord, regardless of what anyone might say about you or call you?
Challenge Verse: (I didn’t write it in my book! Sorry!)
Page 28: Did you notice in verses 11-12, Daniel says “to test your servants for ten days”? He is being careful not to threaten the commander’s authority. Daniel is being respectful even of a pagan boss so that he represents his people well and shows that he is not trying to undermine his authority by following God.
Page 28: Something interesting has happened in verse 17 (bottom of the page). God has taken over their education! They are not being brainwashed by the Babylonian teachers and literature; God is protecting their minds and character.
Page 29: Daniel 1:21 says that Daniel continued until Cyrus came along. Here’s the math: Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem in 586BC and Cyrus’ rule started in 539BC, so Daniel has continued for 47 years!
Page 29: If you are going to go over the question that starts, “HOW about you? WHAT would you do…”, I suggest you paraphrase instead of going through the list of things that includes alcohol and drugs. With kids, you never know how much information they have been given about those things, and the point here is really about doing the right thing when you could do the wrong thing without your family knowing.
Write Daniel 1:8 on the board.
Take the time to go over the information on pronouns. Emphasize that it’s not crucial to mark every single thing perfectly, and that if the pronouns are confusing, it’s okay to worry about them later. But most kids can get at least some of these, and learning to look for pronouns and mark them will develop a great habit of closer reading, in addition to opening up more of the meaning of the text.
You can make teaching about pronouns fun by using them to make statements about kids in the class. For instance, “Ethan is a great basketball player because HE can jump twelve feet in HIS pink basketball shoes!” Or, “Ellie was very proud of HER new hairstyle when SHE got it to stand straight up into one big spike.” Then read one of the verses with emphasis on the pronouns so they can see how it plays out, “But Daniel made up HIS mind that HE would not defile HIMSELF.”
Page 31: Write out the “WHAT I learned about God” box on the board, with the kids telling you what to write for each verse. This is such a great exercise in showing them how an ancient story can teach them today about God.
Page 32: Erase the board, and do a “WHAT I learned about Daniel” box. Making lists from your markings is a core Inductive Bible Study technique. And it shows the kids that the markings aren’t just busy work. They make it cinchy to make lists, that in turn make it easy to see what all there is to learn about a certain person/term.
Page 33: If you’re going to read the Character Profile out loud, I suggest marking out the part about sex and alcohol under the question on integrity. Again, you can discuss the importance of integrity without getting into any dicey conversations that are best had at home between the parents and kids!
Page 34: Under the question, “Do you have courage”?, underline in your book everywhere it says “will.” Emphasize them when you read the paragraph, and review Daniel 1:8, which you already put up on the board. Drive home the lesson that you make up your mind to do the right thing, and that it is better to make up your mind before you’re in a difficult situation. This will be a theme throughout the book, and one that is important for the kids in your class.
Page 36: Normally, I call on kids to do most of the reading. But I made a point to be the reader for the first two paragraphs on this page. You could also ask for a parent volunteer to read them. Every now and then, it’s nice to have an authoritative voice read certain passages, and this is an example of that.