A Four-Step Bible Study
Step 1 – Excite: Cause an Interest
“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” (Proverbs 6:6)
- Who wrote this verse? (King Solomon)
- What does it mean?
- Does God want us to walk on all fours like ants do?
- What can we learn from ants?
- What is character? What are character traits?
Physical traits describe someone’s appearance (tall, skinny, brown-eyed, curly-haired, petite, etc.). Character traits describe someone’s personality (brave, stubborn, bossy, polite, shy, etc.).
What do you think God wants us to learn about ants? Character traits or physical traits? As I tell you about ants, be thinking of their character traits.
Step 2 – Examine: Find Out the Facts
Ants are social insects, which means they live in large colonies or groups. Some colonies consist of millions of ants.
Ants are hard workers. There are three types of ants in each species: the queen, sterile female workers, and males. Every ant has a job. Worker ants may have one job or several jobs. They may keep the same job all their lives or change jobs from time to time.
- Some workers gather food for the colony. When an ant finds food, it lays down a scent trail for others to follow to the food.
- Some ants store the food they harvest in special chambers in the nest
- Other workers feed and care for the queen and her developing young
- Still others build the chambers and tunnels. They use their saliva to make the dirt walls hard.
- Some worker ants are soldiers. They defend the colony and fight off their enemies (other ants or other kinds of insects).
The Bible says:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (Colossians 3:23)
Most ant species build underground nests. Worker ants dig tunnels and chambers, or rooms, in the soil. As the colony grows, workers add more tunnels and chambers to the nest. If you watch ants for any length of time, you will see that they really do communicate with each other—and very effectively, too!
Ant colonies can grow to be quite large. Some tropical ants build downward to make more room. Their nests may reach twenty feet deep. A group of nests may cover an area as large as a tennis court. Millions of ants may live in these nests.
- The queen has her own chamber for laying eggs
- Some chambers are nurseries for the growing young
- Food is stored in other chambers
- Still other chambers are resting places for hard-working ants
Watch this amazing video about a giant ant colony.
Scientists pour ten tons of cement down a giant ant colony and then excavate it. The ants removed forty tons of material to build this enormous colony!
This colony is the equivalent of the Great Wall of China. The ants also built purge vents all throughout the colony to allow their carbon dioxide to escape and fresh air to enter—they built their own air-conditioning system!
Ants Are Wise
Who has a garden this year? When I was a little girl we worked in the garden all summer. Once the plants were harvested, we “put up” beans, tomatoes, and apples and made jelly and jam to have food in the winter. In Bible times and pioneer days, almost every family had to plant a garden in the spring in order to have enough food for the next winter.
Ants also work in anticipation of future needs, gathering and storing food in warm weather, before winter comes.
It [the ant] has no commander, no overseer or ruler, the ant stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. (Proverbs 6:7)
Ants, known for being industrious, are commended by God for their initiative. Ants have no leader; no commander to direct them, no overseer to inspect their work, no ruler to prod them on. People who act only when commanded to do not possess wisdom.
Do you have to be organized to make a garden? Does it take work, or do you just throw the seeds out in the yard??
Parasol Ants Can Grow a Garden
Parasol ants carry leaves like umbrellas. Then they find a place to plant their garden. They chew the leaves and make a pulp (that makes garden soil), then fungus grows on the pulp, which makes food for the ant colony.
When the Amazon jungle floods, the ants have to protect the queen ant and her eggs from the water. Here is a photo of ants cooperating by linking their legs together to build a “boat” to protect their queen. Watch this video.
Step 3 – Expand: Do Something With What Was Learned
- Now that you know a bit about ants, we are going to make a chart of ants’ characteristics and traits of sluggards
- What are some of the ants’ character traits?
- The Hebrew word for sluggard occurs fourteen times in Proverbs. It refers to a lazy, shiftless, irresponsible person. What kind of traits does a sluggard have?
Step 4 – Excel: Share What Was Learned
Prayer: Father, help us to learn from the ants. Help us cooperate and be responsible, diligent, hard workers.
Share what you learned about ants with your parents.