Joseph of Nazareth - Bible study ideas

Home                                         The story of Joseph of Nazareth                                          The Bible text


Extra Websites

Joseph, dreaming, receives a message from God

Joseph's story

Scroll of the Bible

The Bible text

1st century house foundations in Nazareth

Houses in ancient Nazareth

Street in ancient Sepphoris, where Joseph and Jesus probably worked

Sepphoris, where Joseph and Jesus worked

Mary, as portrayed in 'Jesus of Nazareth'

Bible Films
Mary and Joseph in modern movies

White water lily

A short version of Mary's story

Map of the Nazareth location

Nazareth - Archaeology, reconstructions and photographs



Activities for individuals or groups

Focus questions

Joseph of Nazareth 1. What are the most interesting moments in Joseph's story? 
2. In the story, who speaks and who listens? Who acts? Who gets what they want? If you were in the story, which person would you want to be friends
with? Which person would you want to avoid?
3. What is God's interaction with the main characters? What does this tell you about the narrator's image of God? Do you agree with this image?
4. What is happening on either side of the story, in the chapters before and after it? Does this help you understand what is happening?
5. The narrator/editor has chosen to tell some things and leave other things out. What has been left out of the story that you would like to know?
6. Are the characteristics and actions of the people in the story still present in the world? How is the story relevant to modern life, especially your own? 

Movies with a Quiet Hero 

Can you name the films?

Can you see a connection with Joseph's story?

Shawshank Redemption The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence
The Quiet ManIt's A Wonderful Life

High Noon

Answers HERE (see 'Joseph of Nazareth')  

Can you think of others?

The quiet hero

Stage 1:  Make up a list
List some films about quiet heroes. You can choose recent films or classics. If this is a group activity, choose films most people know. 
Stage 2:  Glance over your list

1.  Have you chosen films that are realistic, or do you prefer films that inspire you?
2.  Do your favorites have both these qualities?
3.  What does this say about you and what you need in a story?
Stage 3:  Choose your favorite 
4.  What are the central themes in this film? 
5.  Are the ideas/story lines shown in a realistic light? 
6.  Do any of the scenes remind you of your own life or experiences?
7.  Or does the film express what you would like to have in your own life?
Stage 4:  Think about your choices
Group activity: discuss these questions, making sure everyone in the group has a chance to talk about their ideas.
Single activity: sit down for a few minutes and focus your mind; make a quick list of your favorites; read through the Stage 3 questions, and think about them as you do other tasks in your day.

In depth study of one person's story

JOSEPH, BIBLE PEOPLE, BIRTH OF JESUS Choose one of the people whose stories are told on this site and write a short biography. Answer the following questions:

1. What are the main events of the person's life? Tell the story.

2. What were their main qualities? What made them stand out from the crowd?

3. What obstacles did they face? Did they overcome them, or go with the flow? Explain.

4. How did they use their abilities to do Godís work?  

5. Which part of their story appeals to you most? Why?

You must include three short quotations from the gospel texts to illustrate the points you are making. 


Illuminated manuscriptThe Flight into Egypt, by Giotto

Imagine that you are a medieval monk, working in a rather chilly scriptorium to produce a medieval manuscript page about Joseph of Nazareth. 

Create a page with three main sections:

  • an ornate initial letter for the Bible passage

  • a short extract from Matthew's gospel which tells the story of Joseph in some detail

  • an image of Joseph, either alone, with the angel, or with Jesus and Mary  


Famous quotes

'The virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.' (Matthew 1:23)

'Get up, take the child an his mother, and flee to Egypt....' (2:13)

Read through the Bible text of Joseph's story 

Choose a third quote which you feel should be included in 'Famous Quotes' above - in other words, choose a sentence that expresses something deeply significant about the life of Joseph of Nazareth.

Extra Websites

What Joseph built
Bible Architecture: Houses

Archaeology shows the work men did
Bible Archaeology: Work

Nazareth and Sepphoris, the village and nearby city that Joseph knew
Bible Archaeology: Cities

A short version of Mary's story
Bible People: Mary

Nazareth -- Archaeology, reconstructions and photographs


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