Lesson 38

Barnabas, Ananias, and Sapphira

“Lesson 38: Barnabas, Ananias, and Sapphira,” Primary 7: New Testament (1997), 131–134


To encourage each child to choose to be honest in thought, word, and deed.


  1. Prayerfully study Acts 4:32–5:10. Then study the lesson and decide how you want to teach the children the scripture accounts. (See “Preparing Your Lessons,” p. vi, and “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii.)

  2. Additional reading: Gospel Principles, chapter 31.

  3. Select the discussion questions and enrichment activities that will involve the children and best help them achieve the purpose of the lesson.

  4. Materials needed: A Bible or a New Testament for each child.

Suggested Lesson Development

Invite a child to give the opening prayer.

Attention Activity

Tell the children the following story and ask them to decide what they would have done if they were Charlie:

“A young boy was playing baseball with his friends when his mother’s voice came loud and clear, calling, ‘Charlie, Charlie!’ He instantly threw down his bat, picked up his jacket and cap, and started for home.

“‘Don’t go yet; finish the game!’ cried the other players.

“‘I must go right this minute. I told my mother I would come when she called,’ was Charlie’s response.

“‘Pretend you didn’t hear,’ said the boys.

“‘But I did hear,’ said Charlie.

“‘She won’t know you did.’

“‘But I know it, and I’ve got to go.’

“One of the boys finally said, ‘Oh, let him go. You can’t change his mind. He’s tied to his mother’s apron string. He’s such a baby he runs the minute she calls’” (N. Eldon Tanner, in Conference Report, Oct. 1977, p. 65; or Ensign, Nov. 1977, pp. 43–44).

  • What would you have done?

Explain that we all face situations each day that require us to choose between being honest and being dishonest. Ask the children to think about the results of the choices made by Barnabas, Ananias, and Sapphira.

Scripture Account

Teach the children the accounts of Barnabas and Ananias and Sapphira from Acts 4:32–5:10. (For suggested ways to teach the scripture accounts, see “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii.) Point out that one of the ways we become like Jesus is to learn to speak the truth and to be honest in all we do.

Discussion and Application Questions

Study the following questions and the scripture references as you prepare your lesson. Use the questions you feel will best help the children understand the scriptures and apply the principles in their lives. Reading the references with the children in class will help them gain insights into the scriptures.

  • What did Church leaders ask the members of the Church to do so everyone would have what they needed? (Acts 4:34–35.) How would you feel about sharing everything you have?

  • How was Barnabas honest in what he did? (Acts 4:36–37.) What do you think being honest means? (Telling the truth, not stealing or cheating, not deceiving in any way, and so on.) How do you feel when you are completely honest?

  • How were Ananias and Sapphira dishonest? (Acts 5:1–2.) Why did Sapphira go along with her husband’s lie? (Acts 5:1–2, 7–8.) What might have happened if she had been honest?

  • Who can be hurt when a person is dishonest? Explain that even if we don’t see immediate consequences of our dishonesty, like Ananias and Sapphira did, we still hurt ourselves. We may also hurt others with our dishonesty.

  • What are the consequences if you are dishonest? What are the consequences if you are honest? Share a personal example about the consequences of honesty or dishonesty. Help the children understand that it is not always easy to be honest, but we should be honest no matter what the circumstances. Invite the children to share their experiences of being honest.

  • Who always knows when you are telling the truth? How does being honest bring us closer to Heavenly Father?

  • What can you do to help others be honest?

  • Why is it important to be honest with your parents? (So they will trust you.) Why do you want your parents to trust you? How do you earn trust from your parents? Why does it sometimes take courage to tell the truth? (See enrichment activity 6.)

  • How would the world be different if everyone were honest?

Read the following quotation from President Ezra Taft Benson, the thirteenth President of the Church:

“Be honest. Do not lie nor steal. Do not cheat. …

“Dear children, our Heavenly Father sent you to earth at this time because you are some of His most valiant children. He knew there would be much wickedness in the world today, and He knew you could be faithful and obedient” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, p. 103; or Ensign, May 1989, pp. 82–83).

Enrichment Activities

You may use one or more of the following activities any time during the lesson or as a review, summary, or challenge.

  1. Review the thirteenth article of faith and help the children understand and memorize it.

  2. Write the words home, school, and neighborhood on the chalkboard. Have the children think about ways they can be honest in dealing with situations in each place. Discuss the ideas the children think of.

  3. Write the words Honest and Dishonest on the chalkboard. Share the following statement by Elder Marvin J. Ashton: “‘A lie is any communication given to another with the intent to deceive.’ … A lie can be effectively communicated without words ever being spoken. Sometimes a nod of the head or silence can deceive” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, p. 10; or Ensign, May 1982, p. 9). Discuss each of the following situations and have the children determine which heading it best fits under and why:

    • Telling the truth

    • Doing your own work

    • Misleading others by not telling the complete truth

    • Admitting when you have done something wrong

    • Cheating

    • Lying

    • Stealing

    • Telling half-truths

    • Returning borrowed or lost items

    • Keeping promises

  4. Have each child make a sign, perhaps in the shape of a shield, that says “I stand for truth and honesty.” Invite the children to set a goal to tell the truth and be honest in all they do. Have them sign their names at the bottom of their signs.

  5. Draw a ladder on the chalkboard or on a piece of paper and label it Honesty Ladder. Make a simple figure out of paper or draw a figure at the bottom of the ladder. Using situations such as the following, have the children name all the possible choices they could make in each situation. Then ask them to decide which is the best choice. Have a child move the figure (or draw a line from the figure) up one step of the ladder if the best choice is being honest. Point out that the best choice is always the honest choice. Use enough situations to get the line to the top of the ladder.

    1. You find a friend’s lost toy.

    2. You find a purse with money in it.

    3. A bag of candy that belongs to someone else is on the table, and no one else is in the room.

    4. You are going to an activity that costs money to attend. The sign at the entrance says “Children under eight admitted free.”

    5. A store clerk gives you too much change.

    6. Your friend asks you to let him or her copy your answers on a test.

    7. Someone tells you an unkind story about someone else.

    8. You promised your parents that you would be home at a certain time, but your friend wants you to stay longer.

  6. Make up several situations, similar to the following ones, for the children to role-play. The situations you make up should be situations where the children could choose to be either honest or dishonest with their parents.

    1. Your mother wants you to watch your little brother. You want to read instead. You know that if you tell her you have homework to do, she will not expect you to take care of him.

    2. You accidentally break your mother’s favorite bowl while she is away.

    3. You promised your father you would help him with a project on Saturday, but your friends have planned an activity you want to attend.

  7. Review the fourth article of faith.

  8. Sing or read the words to “Dare to Do Right” (Children’s Songbook, p. 158), “Keep the Commandments” (Children’s Songbook, p. 146), “I Will Be Valiant” (Children’s Songbook, p. 162), “I Believe in Being Honest” (Children’s Songbook, p. 149), or “Stand for the Right” (Children’s Songbook, p. 159).



Share your testimony of the importance of being honest. Explain that when we are honest in all we do, the Holy Ghost will give us a feeling of peace.

Suggested Home Reading

Suggest that the children study Acts 4:32–5:10 at home as a review of this lesson.

Invite a child to give the closing prayer.