First Seek to Obtain My Word

Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast • August 4, 2015


 

Introduction

I am grateful to be here, and, along with you, I love being part of this work.

In preparation for today I gave my talk to my family and asked for their feedback, … and it was almost all helpful. The feedback that I am hesitant to admit out loud—and that I’m certain none of you have ever received in class—is that Annie, our 12-year-old, fell asleep about halfway through. So, both she and I are hoping this version is an improvement!

Each of the last two years, Brother Chad Webb has invited us to help our students have an experience studying the scriptures in a way that deepens their faith in the Savior.1 This past year more students read the scriptures than ever before. They spent over 9 million hours2 in personal scripture study. Thank you for your efforts!

Today we would like to renew that invitation. Will you please help each seminary and institute student have a meaningful experience studying the scriptures each day? And while there will certainly be parts of the Old Testament that are challenging for our students to read and understand, I genuinely believe that we do not need to sneak up behind our students and “whisper [the Old Testament] in [their] ears.”3

Brother Webb also invited us to discuss “how we might be even more centered in the scriptures we teach.”4 He asked a series of questions about the role that the scriptures play in our teaching. Many of you have considered those questions carefully. Thank you! Today, may we talk for a moment about the role the scriptures play in our preparation to teach?

In May of 1829, Joseph and Emma Smith were living in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Hyrum Smith had come to visit and hoped to learn about his role in the unfolding Restoration. The Prophet inquired of the Lord and was reminded that the word “is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword.”5 The Savior then taught Hyrum, and us, a principle and a priority as He set in place an important sequence for teachers: “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.”6

Obtain the Word: It Must Burn inside of Us First

Our efforts to teach do not begin with preparing a lesson or considering how it might be delivered or even reviewing the curriculum. Our efforts to teach do begin ad fontes, or “at the fountains.”7 There is no better preparation for teaching than, as President Marion G. Romney said, drinking deeply from the spring right where the water comes out of the ground.8 If we want to teach the scriptures with power, if we want our students to feel the truth and importance of a passage, it surely must begin with a fresh, personal excitement inside ourselves.9

President Romney counseled: “To become effective gospel teachers … we must work and study … until [the Lord’s] teachings become our teachings. Then we will be prepared to speak with power and conviction. If we choose to follow some other path of preparation, … we will end up delivering our own ideas or some other man’s ideas, and we [have no assurance of success].”10

Obtain the Word: What to Look for in Our Study

As you and I seek to obtain the word in a way that the scriptures burn within us, may I mention two simple ideas that should be standard in our pursuit?

First, there is a hierarchy among truths, and learning to discern this hierarchy will bless us and our students.

Second, the scriptures contain connections, patterns, and themes,11 including types and shadows, among the most important of which point to the Savior.

Hierarchy of Truth

To begin, Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote of an “aristocracy among truths” and that some truths are worthy of our fealty, which is a word suggesting fidelity, or obedience and loyalty:

“Something can be both true and unimportant. … We must not only distinguish between fact and fancy, but know which facts are worthy of fealty.

“The gospel of Jesus calls our attention to the reality that there is an aristocracy among truths; some truths are simply and everlastingly more significant than others!”12

Most passages of scripture include some measure of detail, and the inspired details that are included will shed light on the principles13 they are intended to explain.14

We should be excellent students of both the details and the doctrine in the scriptures. It is important to understand that scriptural detail taught in isolation of doctrine and on its own merits merely informs. Such teaching “will not hurt us if the Spirit is there, nor help us if it is not.”15 On the other hand, teaching that only involves personal stories, personal insights, and feelings generated from discussion, but which lacks the scriptural substance necessary to teach truth and inspire, is equally short of the mark. Our students will be best served by teachers who are excellent students of the scriptures and who understand the essential role of the Holy Ghost.16

I have heard some speak of “devotional teaching” that lacks scholarship. And I have heard others speak of scholarly teaching that lacks converting spirit. Alone, neither devotional teaching nor mere scholarship meets the unique demands of religious education. Brother Robert J. Matthews once said, “The word ‘religion’ literally means ‘to tie back to.’ It is related to the word ligament, which ties the muscle to the bone. Religion is supposed to tie the person that has it to God and to holy and sacred things.”17 And that is what religious education should do for our students.

Scriptural detail often points to precious truth. When truth is taught with testimony, it invites revelation, and the Holy Ghost applies the Atonement in our lives,18 increasing our conversion to the Savior19 and our commitment to follow Heavenly Father’s plan.

The Old Testament certainly includes “dramatic stories, fascinating customs, and beautiful literary forms.”20 It is important for us to remember, and for our teaching to reflect, that these details are not the purpose for the passage. As we have been taught, “The scriptures have been written to preserve principles.”21 These gospel principles “are the substance of and the purpose for the revelations.”22

Ultimately, even among principles there is an order, for “the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ.”23

Separating details from principles, as well as learning to recognize the hierarchy that exists even among those principles, will be the work of a lifetime. If we teach every detail of history and the law, and if we teach every element of Israel’s wanderings, and we miss the message of Heavenly Father’s plan and the Savior’s Atonement in the Old Testament,24 we will not have taught the message of the Old Testament.25

Paul was certainly describing me, and perhaps some of our students, when he said that a veil remains “untaken away in the reading of the old testament.” He then gave a key to this dilemma when he said this “veil is done away in Christ” and that “when [our hearts] shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.”26

If our teaching will center on the Savior,27 and if we can help our students’ minds and hearts turn to Him, the veil will be taken away in their reading of the Old Testament. And, perhaps more importantly, as our students learn to look for the Savior in their study of the scriptures, they will learn a parallel lesson and begin to learn to look for Him and for Heavenly Father’s hand in their own lives as well.

An Example of This Hierarchy

Let me share one suggestion that will assist us in discerning truth in the scriptures: Pick a passage, read it, and ask yourself, “What are the details in the passage?” Underline the people, the places, the timing, and the story line. Look at the larger context for the passage, and underline all of the contextual detail that you can find. As our handbook suggests, note the “natural breaks”28 where the tone or content shifts.

Now look at the passage again, and this time ask yourself, “What are the principles or truths that are ‘packaged for application,’29and which, if understood, would ‘[lead] to obedience’?”30 Study the larger doctrinal context in the passage. Mark each principle differently than you marked the details. If the principles are implied,31 take the time to write them down.

To do this with conscious effort will be difficult at first. It will require concentration and time. Part of the blessing available in this discipline is that it invites us to continually ask, “What are the details in this passage, and what are the principles they intend to teach?”

As we have already said, some principles are simply more important than others; they invite more inspiration, life, and salvation because they point to the Savior. So, look at the passage once again, this time through another lens, and ask, “How is this passage calculated32 to draw my attention to the Savior? What is here that leads to a greater understanding of, gratitude for, and reliance upon Him and Heavenly Father’s plan?”

Finally, carefully consider what the modern prophets have had to say that would add insight, understanding, and inspiration to the passage.

After studying in this way, when we do turn to the curriculum, the additional understanding, suggestions, and direction provided there will be coupled with the insight, inspiration, and experience we’ve had in the scriptures and the words of the prophets. The curriculum then confirms, refines, and enhances our preparation to declare the word with power.

For example, when we study the book of Ruth this year, we may see a tender story of loss and loyalty. Or,considering this hierarchy of truth, we may notice that Ruth had lost her husband, that she journeyed to Bethlehem,33 and it was in Bethlehem where she met Boaz. We might then note that Boaz tended to Ruth’s needs, gave her bread and a cup of wine vinegar,34 became her intercessor at the city’s gate,35 and then, as her kinsman, which is literally translated “redeemer,”36purchased Ruth,37 took her to be his wife,38and would not rest until he could say, “It is finished.”39 With that we may begin to feel the intended testimony of love and redemption as well as the edification and inspiration from realizing that the Great Kinsman40 does the same for each of us.

This is just one simple example of searching the scriptures. The careful teacher will then help each student learn to have this same study experience for him- or herself as the student becomes spiritually self-reliant.41

Brothers and sisters, on each page of scripture, we make a choice that impacts the power of the teaching and learning in our classes. The choice is this: To which truths will we turn our students’ minds and hearts and faith? This choice makes a tremendous difference in the portion of the word that they receive into their thinking and living.42 If we are not diligent in this regard, if I choose to let the lesser set of truth “dominate my teaching,” then, as President Henry B. Eyring taught, “I have already nearly taken myself out of the contest to help a student withstand the sea of filth.”43

Connections, Themes, and Types

Along with recognizing this hierarchy of truth, a second simple idea that may help in our obtaining the word is that the scriptures are brimming with connections, themes, and types. May I give a brief example of each from the Old Testament?

Connections

Elder David A. Bednar explained that “a connection is a relationship or link between ideas, people, things, or events.”44

A connection that we may notice is that the Old Testament is full of stories of success and failure, which are contrastingly taught side by side: Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brothers, Jacob and Esau, Abigail and Nabal, and many others.

President Eyring noted this key: “In [the] description of failure there is the shadow of the way to success. … The recurring cycles of spiritual decline and recovery … can be hopeful and instructive to your students.”45

Themes

Elder Bednar also explained that “themes are overarching, recurring, and unifying qualities or ideas, like essential threads woven throughout a text.”46 A theme we may notice this year is found in this phrase: “and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.”47

Throughout the plagues preceding their deliverance, as well as the miracles following it, the children of Israel were told that by these things “thou shalt know that I am the Lord.”48

The slaying of Goliath,49the healing of Naaman,50 Elijah and the priests of Baal,51and Daniel’s sacred and solemn experiences with King Nebuchadnezzar52 are all recorded with the declared intent “that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”53

Throughout the books of Psalms,54 Isaiah,55 and Ezekiel,56 in 17 books of the Old Testament, and over 80 different times, Jehovah repeated and underlined and insured that Israel and we are to see Him and His hand in the events and teachings of the Old Testament so that we and our children “may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that … I am the Lord, and there is none else.”57

As we study scriptural themes in the new cornerstone institute classes,58the scriptures will be “woven together in such a way that as [we] pore over one [we will be] drawn to the other.”59If the scriptures themselves are the central study of these classes, the scriptures will “grow together” and bring our students “to the knowledge of [their] covenants.”60 “The process of searching for and identifying scriptural themes,” Elder Bednar said, “leads us … to the eternal truths that invite the confirming witness of the Holy Ghost. … This approach to obtaining living water from the scriptural reservoir is the most demanding and rigorous; it also yields the greatest edification.”61 It will require more of us as teachers, not less.62

Types and shadows of Christ

Of the many patterns in the Old Testament,63 one particularly invites our attention and effort. That is, of course, looking for testimonies of Heavenly Father and the Savior. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “It is … proper to look for similitudes of Christ everywhere and to use them repeatedly in keeping him and his laws uppermost in our minds.”64

Beginning to list the types and shadows of the Savior is almost like counting drops of water in a river or particles of light on a sunny day. After all, “all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.”65

The Creation,66 the brass serpent,67the manna,68 the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage by the blood of a lamb painted on their doorposts,69 and the entire law of Moses, with its system of sacrifices and remembrances, is consciously and conspicuously designed as “our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.”70

Abraham’s71 willingness to sacrifice Isaac72; Melchizedek’s titles,73including “Prince of peace”74; Joseph’s saving of the very brothers who sold him75; and Moses’s deliverance of the children of Israel76make them figures “of him that was to come.”77

Adam was a sinless man78who, while in a garden, voluntarily chose79to give up his life so that we might live.80

The king thought to set Daniel over the whole kingdom because of the “excellent spirit [that] was in him.”81The “presidents and princes,”82 those in positions of authority who hated Daniel, “sought to find occasion against [him] … but they could find none.”83 Then these wicked men “assembled … [and] consulted together,”84 and meanwhile, Daniel retired to the place where “he was wont” to go,85 and there he prayed.86 Upon learning all of this, the king “set his heart … to deliver [Daniel].”87 And then, after Daniel was sent to his certain death, “a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den.”88 Only to be followed by the king arising “very early in the morning, and [going with] haste unto the den”89 to there discover that an angel had been present,90 and “Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him.”91

Alfred Edersheim said the entire Old Testament is “intended to point to Christ. … It is not only the law, which is a schoolmaster unto [Him], nor the types, which are shadows of [Him], nor yet the prophecies, which are predictions of [Him]; but the whole Old Testament history is full of Christ. … One thing follows from this: only that… study of the Scriptures can be sufficient or profitable through which we learn to know [the Savior].”92

Throughout your classes, and even in our homes and families, will you please take the time to ask your students and children what they are learning and how it helps them understand and rely upon Heavenly Father and the Savior? And from the very first day of class, will you please teach your students to deliberately look for these magnificent witnesses that are the conscious intent of these inspired authors?

Conclusion

Brothers and sisters, the scriptures have an irreplaceable role in our teaching as well as in our preparation to teach! Remember this caution from President Romney:

“We are commissioned to deliver that which we receive from the Lord (the scriptures) to those whom we teach. Sometimes [we may] attempt to make a delivery without first obtaining. …

“… [We may want] to go forth and preach before [giving] the Lord the opportunity to prepare [us].”93

In that spirit, may I add a few questions to those we received from Brother Webb last year and invite us to consider them in our preparation to teach?

  • Does my preparation for class begin with searching the scriptures?

  • Do I delight94 in the scriptures I’m teaching today, and are they “a burning fire shut up in my bones”?95

  • Do I understand both the details and the doctrine that the inspired writer wanted me to see and understand?

  • Have I searched the words of the prophets for their emphasis, insight, and testimony about a passage?

  • And in every instance, have I searched for and found the ways that the passage testifies of the Savior and His Atonement?96

May the word be sharper than a two-edged sword97 in our classrooms because the scriptures burn inside us! May we have the determination to distinguish the details and the doctrine worthy of fealty! And may we help our students learn to discover the beautiful scriptural witnesses of Heavenly Father’s plan and His Most Beloved Son!98

I add my testimony to yours, especially of the love of Heavenly Father99 made manifest and available through the miraculous Atonement of His Son. And I express my gratitude for the remarkable privilege of being part of the marvelous Restoration, which is making His name “known in [all] the earth forever.”100 In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Notes

  1. See Chad H. Webb, “An Invitation to Study the Doctrine and Covenants” (Seminaries and Institutes of Religion satellite broadcast, Aug. 5, 2014), lds.org/broadcasts.

  2. An estimated 200,000 seminary students read the Doctrine and Covenants last year. If they read for 15 minutes per day and read for 180 school days, that equals 9 million hours of personal scripture study.

  3. J. Reuben Clark Jr., The Charted Course of the Church in Education, rev. ed. (1994), 9.

  4. Chad H. Webb, “An Invitation to Study the Doctrine and Covenants,” lds.org/broadcasts.

  5. Doctrine and Covenants 11:2.

  6. Doctrine and Covenants 11:21.

  7. Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that the first key to understanding the Bible is to read the Bible:

    “Could any key be more obvious than this? Simply read the book itself. Unless and until we do, nothing else will fall into place. We cannot do other than rate this key as a ten on our scale. All biblical scholarship and understanding begin with reading the basic source material.

    “One of our problems is that we read what others have said about the Bible. …

    “Read the book itself. ‘Search the scriptures’ (John 5:39). Treasure up the Lord’s word. Go to the source” (“The Bible, a Sealed Book” [Church Educational System symposium, Aug. 17, 1984] 4, si.lds.org).

  8. President Marion G. Romney said, “When I drink from a spring I like to get the water where it comes out of the ground, not down the stream after the cattle have waded in it. … I appreciate other people’s interpretation, but when it comes to the gospel we ought to be acquainted with what the Lord says” (from an address to religious educators, quoted by J. Richard Clarke, “My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures,” Ensign, Nov. 1982, 15).

  9. President Harold B. Lee taught: “You cannot lift another soul until you are standing on higher ground than he is. You must be sure, if you would rescue the man, that you yourself are setting the example of what you would have him be. You cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul” (“Stand Ye in Holy Places,” Ensign, Oct. 2008, 47). Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “Part of what may be lacking, at times, in the decent teacher is a freshening personal excitement over the gospel which could prove highly contagious. Since we can only speak the smallest part of what we feel, we should not let that ‘smallest part’ shrink in its size” (“Teaching by the Spirit—‘The Language of Inspiration’” (Church Educational System symposium on the Old Testament, Aug. 15, 1991, 5, si.lds.org).

  10. Marion G. Romney, “The Message of the Old Testament” (Church Educational System symposium on the Old Testament, Aug. 17, 1979), 1, si.lds.org.

  11. See David A. Bednar, “A Reservoir of Living Water” (Church Educational System fireside for young adults, Feb. 4, 2007), speeches.byu.edu (text), LDS.org (video).

  12. Neal A. Maxwell, The Smallest Part (1973), 4; see also Neal A. Maxwell, “The Inexhaustible Gospel,” Ensign, Apr. 1993, 69.

  13. Elder Richard G. Scott said, “Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances” (“Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 86; see also Gospel Teaching and Learning: A Handbook for Teachers and Leaders in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion [2012], 5–7). Brother Chad Webb has suggested that to determine if something is a principle, we might ask ourselves, “Is it always true? Is it applicable in every condition, every time, every circumstance, and to every people?”

  14. Elder Scott also taught: “As you seek spiritual knowledge, search for principles. Carefully separate them from the detail used to explain them” (“Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge,” 86; see also Gospel Teaching and Learning, 26–31).

  15. Boyd K. Packer, Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled (1991), 15.

  16. See C. S. Lewis, “Meditation in a Toolshed,” in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, ed. Walter Hooper (1970), 212–15.

  17. Robert J. Matthews, “What is Religious Education?” (unpublished address to religious educators, Aug. 31, 1989), 2.

  18. Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught, “The gift of the Holy Ghost … is the messenger of grace by which the blood of Christ is applied to take away our sins and sanctify us” (“The Power of Covenants,” Ensign, May 2009, 22; see also Area Directors’ Convention, 2011, session on “The Role of the Holy Ghost”).

  19. See Alma 23:5–7.

  20. Henry B. Eyring, “Teaching the Old Testament” (Church Educational System symposium on the Old Testament, Aug. 10, 1999), 5, si.lds.org.

  21. Marion G. Romney, “The Message of the Old Testament,” 3, si.lds.org; see also Gospel Teaching and Learning, 26–28.

  22. Boyd K. Packer, “Principles,” Ensign, Mar. 1985, 8; see also Gospel Teaching and Learning, 26–28.

  23. Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 3:30. Expanded quotation: “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”

  24. President Marion G. Romney taught, “The message of the Old Testament is the message of Christ and his coming and his atonement” (“The Message of the Old Testament,” 4, si.lds.org).

  25. See 1 Nephi 6:4; D&C 76:40–43. President Ezra Taft Benson defined the gospel in “The Gospel Teacher and His Message” ([address to religious educators, Sept. 17, 1976], si.lds.org). President Henry B. Eyring defined “two views of the gospel” in “Eyes to See, Ears to Hear” ([Church Educational System symposium on the New Testament, Aug. 16, 1984], si.lds.org; also quoted in Teaching and Learning, 54). See also the use of the word gospel in J. Reuben Clark Jr., “The Charted Course of the Church in Education.”

  26. 2 Corinthians 3:14, 16; see also Joseph Smith Translation, 2 Corinthians 3:14, 16.

  27. President Boyd K. Packer taught that the Atonement “is the very root of Christian doctrine. You may know much about the gospel as it branches out from there, but if you only know the branches and those branches do not touch that root, if they have been cut free from that truth, there will be no life nor substance nor redemption in them” (“The Mediator,” Ensign, May 1977, 56; also quoted in Gospel Teaching and Learning, 1).

  28. Gospel Teaching and Learning, 52.

  29. Richard G. Scott, “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge,” 86; see also Gospel Teaching and Learning, 26.

  30. Henry B. Eyring, “Converting Principles” (remarks at an evening with Elder L. Tom Perry, Feb. 2, 1996), 1, si.lds.org; also quoted in Gospel Teaching and Learning, 54.

  31. See Gospel Teaching and Learning, 26–27.

  32. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “We may conclude, that though there were different dispensations, yet all things which God communicated to His people were calculated to draw their minds to the great object, and to teach them to rely upon God alone as the author of their salvation” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 49).

  33. See Ruth 1:19.

  34. See Ruth 2:14.

  35. See Ruth 4:1.

  36. “The word here rendered ‘redeemer’ we translate literally from Hebrew go’el and this is its proper translation. It is rendered merely ‘kinsman’ in the King James English translation. The function of a go’el was to make it possible for a widow who had lost home and property to return to her former status and security and to have seed to perpetuate her family.

    “It is easy to see why the later prophets borrowed this word from the social laws of Israel and used it to describe the functions of Him who would become the Divine Redeemer: Think of what He does to restore us to proper status with God, and to give us future security and eternal ‘seed’” (Ellis T. Rasmussen, An Introduction to the Old Testament and Its Teachings, Part 1 (syllabus for Religion 301, 1972), 157; and Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel (Church Educational System manual, 2003), 263.

  37. See Ruth 4:10.

  38. See Ruth 4:13; see also Ruth 4 chapter heading.

  39. John 19:30; see Ruth 3:18.

  40. This beautiful story “speaks of and symbolically demonstrates God’s redeeming power; it teaches us of how we can access that power and exemplifies how we should emulate our Redeemer. Numerous elements of the story serve as types of Christ. It is about hope in Israel. [Perhaps part of] the reason we love the story so much is because … our souls intuitively resonate with the redemption of Ruth; we long for what happened to her on a mortal level to happen to us in both a mortal and eternal way. Ruth satisfies some of our soul’s yearning for deliverance. It highlights our reasons for hope” (Kerry Muhlestein, “Ruth, Redemption, Covenant, and Christ,” in D. Kelly Ogden, Jared W. Ludlow, and Kerry Muhlstein, eds., The Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, 38th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium [2009], 187–88).

  41. See Boyd K. Packer, “Self-Reliance” (Brigham Young University fireside, Mar. 2, 1975), speeches.byu.edu.

  42. See Alma 12:9–11; 3 Nephi 26:1–11 (especially verses 9–10). Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated: “When crises come in our lives—and they will—the philosophies of men interlaced with a few scriptures and poems just won’t do. Are we really nurturing our youth … in a way that will sustain them when the stresses of life appear? Or are we giving them a kind of theological Twinkie—spiritually empty calories? President John Taylor once called such teaching ‘fried froth,’ the kind of thing you could eat all day and yet finish feeling totally unsatisfied. During a severe winter several years ago, President Boyd K. Packer noted that a goodly number of deer had died of starvation while their stomachs were full of hay. In an honest effort to assist, agencies had supplied the superficial when the substantial was what had been needed. Regrettably they had fed the deer but they had not nourished them” (“A Teacher Come from God,” Ensign, May 1998, 26–27).

  43. Henry B. Eyring, “Eyes to See, Ears to Hear,” si.lds.org; also quoted in Gospel Teaching and Learning, 54.

  44. David A. Bednar, “A Reservoir of Living Water,” 4, speeches.byu.edu.

  45. Henry B. Eyring, “Teaching the Old Testament,” 2, si.lds.org.

  46. David A. Bednar, “A Reservoir of Living Water,” 6, speeches.byu.edu.

  47. Exodus 6:7.

  48. Exodus 7:17; see also Exodus 7:5; 8:10, 22; 9:14, 16, 29; 10:2; 11:7; 14:4, 18; 16:6, 12; 29:46.

  49. See 1 Samuel 17:46.

  50. See 2 Kings 5:15.

  51. See 1 Kings 18:37.

  52. See Daniel 4:17, 26.

  53. 1 Samuel 17:46.

  54. See Psalm 59:13; 67:2; 83:18; 109:27.

  55. See Isaiah 5:19; 9:9; 19:21; 37:20; 41:20, 22–23; 41:26; 43:10; 45:3, 6; 49:23, 26; 52:6; 60:16.

  56. See Ezekiel 6:10, 14; 7:4, 9, 27; 11:10, 12; 12:15–16; 13:9, 14, 21, 23; 14:8; 15:7; 16:62; 17:21, 24; 20:20; 22:16; 24:27; 25:7; 35:4, 12, 15.

  57. Isaiah 45:6.

  58. See the section “Why Are We Making These Changes?” on “New Religion and Institute Courses: Additional Information,” si.lds.org/announcement-new-religion-courses.

  59. Boyd K. Packer, “Scriptures,” Ensign, Nov. 1982, 53.

  60. 2 Nephi 3:12.

  61. David A. Bednar, “A Reservoir of Living Water,” 6, speeches.byu.edu.

  62. Elder Neal A. Maxwell described it this way: “Cluster your scriptures together so that the Old Testament scripture on a particular topic is related [to the other books of scripture] and to the utterances of living prophets. The scriptures of the Church need each other. … And they help each other. …

    “… [Then] you will … make the teaching moment more significant. …

    “… Help your students avoid the tendency to skim lightly over the surface of the scriptures. … Encourage them to cluster the scriptures topically, as if they were a bunch of grapes from which you would then squeeze all the juice, and distill all the meaning” (“The Old Testament: Relevancy within Antiquity” [Church Educational System symposium on the Old Testament, Aug. 16, 1979], 1–2, si.lds.org.

  63. See Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel, 111–15.

  64. Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ (1978), 453.

  65. 2 Nephi 11:4; see also Hosea 12:10; Alma 30:23–60 (especially verses 40–41); Moses 6:59–63.

  66. See Moses 6:63. Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “The revealed accounts of the Creation are designed to accomplish two great purposes. Their general purpose is to enable us to understand the nature of our mortal probation, a probation in which all men are being tried and tested ‘to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.’ (Abr. 3:25.) Their specific purpose is to enable us to understand the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, which infinite and eternal Atonement is the very foundation upon which revealed religion rests” (“Christ and the Creation,” Ensign, June 1982, 13).

  67. See Alma 33:19; see also Topical Guide, “Jesus Christ, Types of, in Anticipation.”

  68. “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and are dead.

    “This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

    “I am the living bread” (John 6:49–51); see also Exodus 17:6; 1 Corinthians 10:4; Topical Guide, “Jesus Christ, Types of, in Anticipation.”

  69. See Exodus 12:5–14.

  70. Galatians 3:24.

  71. Father of a multitude. Originally called Abram, ‘exalted father.’” (Bible Dictionary, “Abraham”).

  72. Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained: “This story … shows the goodness of God in protecting Isaac and in providing a substitute so he would not have to die. Because of our sins and our mortality, we, like Isaac, are condemned to death. When all other hope is gone, our Father in Heaven provides the Lamb of God, and we are saved by his sacrifice” (“Bible Stories and Personal Protection,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 37).

  73. “King of Salem” (Hebrews 7:1–2); “the king of heaven” (Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:36 [in the Bible appendix]); “King of righteousness” (Hebrews 7:2); see also Topical Guide, “Jesus Christ, Types of, in Anticipation.”

  74. Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:33 (in the Bible appendix); see also Topical Guide, “Jesus Christ, Types of, in Anticipation.”

  75. See Genesis 37:27–28.

  76. See Moses 1:26; see also Deuteronomy 18:15; 3 Nephi 20:23; The Pearl of Great Price Teacher Manual (Church Educational System manual, 2000), 9–11.

  77. Romans 5:14.

  78. See 2 Nephi 2:23.

  79. See Moses 4:18.

  80. See 2 Nephi 2:25.

  81. Daniel 6:3.

  82. Daniel 6:3–4, 6–7.

  83. Daniel 6:4; see also verse 5.

  84. Daniel 6:6–7.

  85. Luke 22:39; see Daniel 6:10.

  86. See Daniel 6:10.

  87. Daniel 6:14.

  88. Daniel 6:17.

  89. Daniel 6:19.

  90. See Daniel 6:22.

  91. Daniel 6:23.

  92. Alfred Edersheim, Bible History: Old Testament, one vol. ed. (1982), xiii; also quoted in Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel, 22.

  93. Marion G. Romney, “The Message of the Old Testament,” 1, si.lds.org.

  94. See Psalm 1:2–3.

  95. Jeremiah 20:9; see also Gospel Teaching and Learning, 29–30. President Boyd K. Packer explained:

    “‘There is a great body of evidence,’ Brother [Wilford B.] Lee wrote, ‘to indicate that, in moral behavior especially, people do not act in accordance with their knowledge.’ And he observed that one could hardly find an obese person who does not know that, if he is to reduce his weight, a part of what he must do is to reduce his intake of food. Can you imagine a medical doctor who uses cigarettes and does not know that smoking is detrimental to his health? Were you ever acquainted with a divorce of parents in which both of the parties didn’t know full well that tragic effects would be visited upon their children? In such cases the persons know the right course but still fail to follow it.

    “As regards righteous behavior, then, to know intellectually is not enough. The feelings must be engaged” (Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled [1991], 14).

  96. In The Charted Course of the Church in Education, President J. Reuben Clark Jr. taught that in our study and teaching, there are actually “two prime things which may not be overlooked, forgotten, shaded, or discarded.” The first, of course, is the Savior and His Atonement. “The second of the two things to which we must all give full faith is that the Father and the Son actually and in truth and very deed appeared to the Prophet Joseph in a vision in the woods” (1–2).

  97. In its commentary forDoctrine and Covenants 6:2, the Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual contains the following explanation: “Many swords of ancient times had only one cutting edge. When someone decided to make a two-edged sword, the effectiveness of the weapon was increased tremendously. Now it could cut in any direction, no matter how the blow was struck. Thus, the likening of the word of God to the two-edged sword is a vivid simile. Just as a sharp sword can cut deep enough to sever limbs and destroy life, so the word of the Lord is powerful enough that it can bring destruction of the soul (spiritual death) to those who do not give heed to it (see Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 1:16; 2:12, 16). The word of God also has power to pierce the soul as a sword and penetrate to the inmost parts of man (see 3 Nephi 11:3; D&C 85:6). It can cut through error and falsehood with double-edged efficiency” ([Church Educational System manual, 2001], 15).

  98. See Mormon 5:14.

  99. See 1 Nephi 11:22.

  100. Abraham 1:19.