The book of Daniel is a wonderful book to study. In it are great stories to impact our lives, in it are prophecies to demonstrate the foreknowledge of God, in it are great events in world history which connect with the unfolding of God’s plan, and in it are figurative references to the future which are fun to de-code. The study of Daniel is good for adults or high school students who want to do some real digging into the word of God. This course of study is designed to assist students in reaching the following objectives:
- The student can explain the historical circumstances surrounding the story of Daniel, including what was happening in the Kingdom of Judah and in other kingdoms related to the story.
- The student can provide a date for key events in the story of Daniel.
- The student can give five reasons why we can believe that the Daniel of the story actually wrote the book, thus indicating that the book contains accurate predictions of the future.
- The student can tell the basic story related to the life of Daniel given in each of the first six chapters of Daniel.
- The student can draw from memory the chart summarizing the five prophecies in Daniel.
- The student can connect New Testament references either to Daniel or to the contents of Daniel with the related passages in Daniel.
- The student can describe the qualities of God as shown in the book of Daniel.
- The student can show how Daniel and his prophecies reveal how God was working out His plan to save people from sin.
You, as the teacher, need to keep these objectives in mind so that you are guiding students toward them. Each lesson has more specific objectives which will help the student reach these overall objectives. Read the objectives for each lesson to the students near the beginning so they know what they are supposed to learn from that lesson. The learning method for this study is pretty simple: (1) the students read the chapter in Daniel in advance of the class study on it, (2) the teacher presents the chapter with as much student involvement as possible, (3) the students complete a worksheet as “notes” for future study, (4) before the next class meeting, students study their worksheet; (5) students will take a brief “review quiz” over the previous lesson as the next class begins, (6) the teacher gives students a review at the start of each new lesson by giving the answers for the Review Quiz, and (7) students and teacher review at the end to pull everything together. This approach will encourage students to learn because you, the teacher, are expecting them to learn, they are given an opportunity to learn, and they are given a quiz which can give them the satisfaction of demonstrating they have learned. Of course, you should never make anyone feel uncomfortable because they don’t know an answer, and, if there are some who do not want to participate in all of these activities, that’s their choice. If you want to check on the progress of the entire class, you can even ask the students to pass around a sheet on which to record their number of correct answers on a quiz. Then you can total those and divide them by the total possible number of right answers to get a class average. If two classes were studying the material at the same time, they could compare their average just for fun. Maybe adults against the teens? Of course, if you want to teach the course in by using more lecture interspersed with fewer questions to the students, you can use that method. And you may decide the Review Quizzes do not fit your students. I have found, however, if you do a little encouraging at the first and approach it with the right balance of fun and seriousness, students will really like to take the quiz. I often leave the quiz sheet on a chair near the entrance to the classroom so those who want to get one may do so. They can work on it some before class starts and this will save time during the class period. It is sad but true that in our typical Sunday or Wednesday classes, not much learning takes place. People who have attended for years don’t really focus their attention on learning and, since they don’t really try to remember anything from the course, they don’t. Many factors contribute to this learning failure, but one of the greatest among is that students are never told they are expected to learn anything and since they are never expected to or asked to show anything they have learned, they just don’t make any effort. The lessons, typically, are built around the question and answer method. The text of each lesson will have some information for the teacher to share with the students. Then there will be questions, preceded by a Q sign and an answer following an A sign. In a few cases, where the answers are obvious for you as the teacher, an answer is not supplied or where the question is really to start open discussion no answer will be supplied. You may prefer to present some of what is in question form in a presentational form. The reason for setting much of the lesson in “question format” is to encourage you as the teacher to seek more student participation. The questions, of course, will need to be adapted for the age level and the Bible knowledge of your students. PowerPoint is provided with most of the lessons so that if you want to use it you may. This visual will reinforce the learning. The PowerPoint follows closely the suggested presentation in the lesson text. It does not put every thing to be said on the screen but does put the essential information. In the lesson text for the teacher, words which students are to write in blanks on their student worksheet are typically underlined. This allows you as the teacher to know what words the students will be looking for. So if you reword things in the text, you will need to use the underlined word to fit the student worksheet. There are student handouts for each lesson: the review quiz to be given at the first of each class period, a student worksheet for them to fill in during the class, and some other informational or summary sheets. To save time, you could print out copies of all of these, except the review quiz sheets, and distribute them at the first of class as a workbook. This would save class time and the interference of having lots of handouts each class period. If you do this, you will need some spare copies of each sheet for a lesson available when the lesson is taught for those who forgot to bring their book or who are visiting. Be sure to facilitate the handing-out so you do not use much time to do it. Note that there is an “application” time with each lesson. Some of these times are longer and some are shorter depending on the type of lesson and the time available. Be sure to use at least the time suggested more making applications and help students to make the application very specific. From Daniel’s experience with those who tried to harm him because he prayed a lot, for example, we can learn that people may seek to hinder us. But make the matter even more specific. “Name some specific hindrances to your spiritual life. Give the exact circumstances.” And so someone says, “At my job.” And you say, “Give an example.” And finally she will say, “There is a person where I work who makes fun of my religion and I am tempted to pull myself into a shell and never say anything about my faith.” And you say, “Thanks for sharing that with us. How do you think you should deal with this?” Now we are getting to a specific application. Some commentaries on Daniel which I have found helpful are: Paul T. Butler, Daniel, College Press; James Burton Coffman, Daniel, ACU Press; Jim McGuiggan, The Book of Daniel, Montex; Rex A. Turner, Daniel: A Prophet of God, Southern Christian University; and Edward J Young, The Prophecy of Daniel, Eerdmans. Not all of these agree on every point and I do not endorse all that is in any of them but they certainly go into more detail on some points than I have in these teaching outlines. These outlines provide enough information for you to teach the class without further research, but if you want to explore some points more thoroughly, these sources can be of help. I hope you find this study in Daniel to be very rewarding.
Stafford North, June 15, 2005
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