Lesson 133

3 Nephi 27

“Lesson 133: 3 Nephi 27,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2017)


Soon after the Savior’s ministry among the Nephites, the twelve newly called Nephite disciples met together in mighty prayer and fasting. Jesus Christ appeared to them and answered their question concerning the name they should give the Church. He taught them about His gospel and commanded them to be like Him.

Suggestions for Teaching

3 Nephi 27:1–12

Jesus Christ teaches the twelve disciples that His Church should bear His name

Divide the class into groups of three or four. If your class is small, have each student work individually. Ask each group (or individual) to imagine that they are going to start a new club or sports team. Ask each group to decide what type of club or sports team they will be creating, such as a science club or a football team, and then have them choose a name for their organization. Have each group write their name on a piece of paper. Then collect the groups’ papers. (This activity should be brief.)

Read aloud the name on each paper. After you read each name, ask the class to guess, based on the name, the type of club or team it is.

  • What can a name communicate about an organization and the people in it?

Explain that soon after Jesus Christ’s visit to the Nephites, His twelve Nephite disciples united in fasting and prayer. They wanted to know what the name of the Church should be. As they were praying, the Savior appeared and began to teach them (see 3 Nephi 27:1–3).

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 3 Nephi 27:4–7. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior taught His disciples.

  • What did the Savior say His Church should be called?

  • What reasons did He give for naming the Church after Himself?

Invite students to search 3 Nephi 27:8–12 silently, looking for the Savior’s description of His true Church. While they study, write the following incomplete statement on the board: The true Church of Jesus Christ must be …

After students have had sufficient time to search these verses, ask them how they would complete the sentence on the board based on what they have read. (Students should be able to identify the following truth: The true Church of Jesus Christ must be called by His name and be built upon His gospel. Complete the statement on the board so that it conveys this truth.)

  • Why do you think it is important for the Savior’s Church to bear His name?

  • Why do you think it is important for the Church to not just bear Jesus Christ’s name but also be built on His gospel?

3 Nephi 27:13–22

Jesus Christ defines His gospel and teaches what we must do to stand guiltless before Him and His Father

To prepare students to study 3 Nephi 27:13–22, pour a small pile of salt on a plate or table at the front of the class. Then take a small pinch of pepper and sprinkle a few flakes on top of the salt.

  • If the salt symbolizes us being clean and pure, what might the pepper represent?

Ask students to think about how they have felt when they have been caught doing something wrong. (Do not ask them to share these experiences.) Then ask them to imagine what it will be like to stand before the Lord to be judged. Encourage them to ponder the following question:

  • How will you feel before the Lord if you have not repented of your sins?

Explain that the word gospel means “good news” (see Bible Dictionary, “Gospels”). Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 3 Nephi 27:13–15, and ask the class to look for good news in these verses. Ask students to report what they find.

  • The Savior testified that He came into the world to do the will of His Father. According to 3 Nephi 27:14, what did Heavenly Father send Jesus Christ into the world to do? (After students respond, write the following truth on the board: Jesus Christ did the will of His Father in accomplishing the Atonement.)

  • Because the Savior fulfilled the will of His Father, what will happen for all mankind? (We will be lifted up before Him to be judged of our works.)

Invite students to read 3 Nephi 27:16 silently, looking for what we must do to prepare for judgment. Ask students to report what they find.

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 27:17–19 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what will happen to those who do not repent or endure to the end.

  • What will happen to those who do not repent or endure to the end?

  • From what you have read, why do all of Heavenly Father’s children need the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 27:20–22 aloud, and ask the class to look for the Savior’s invitation to us.

  • What is the Savior’s invitation in these verses?

  • What promise is given to those who accept the Savior’s invitation?

  • What principle can we identify from verse 20? (Students may use their own words, but help them identify the following principle: If we repent, come unto Jesus Christ, and are baptized and sanctified by receiving the Holy Ghost, then we can stand spotless before Him at the last day. Invite students to consider marking each element of this principle in their scriptures.)

Help students understand that to be sanctified is to become “free from sin, pure, clean, and holy through the Atonement of Jesus Christ” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Sanctification,” scriptures.lds.org). When we sin after we are baptized, we can again be sanctified by the Holy Ghost when we sincerely repent and renew our covenants through the ordinance of the sacrament.

Point students’ attention back to the mound of salt with the flakes of pepper. Rub together a plastic spoon and a wool cloth to create static electricity. (If these materials are not available, you could try rubbing a different plastic object on your clothes or hair.) Then move the plastic spoon over the flakes of pepper. This should cause the pepper flakes to be lifted from the pile of salt and to stick to the spoon, leaving the salt without spots of pepper.

  • How can this demonstration relate to the principle we identified in 3 Nephi 27:20?

Earlier in the lesson, you asked students to ponder how they would feel before the Lord if they were guilty of sin. At this point in the lesson, invite them to ponder how they might feel before the Savior if they know they have been made clean through His Atonement.

Invite students to record their answers to the following question in their class notebooks or study journals:

  • Based on what you have studied today, how would you explain the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to a friend?

Invite a few students to share with the class what they wrote. Share your testimony that if we repent, come unto Jesus Christ, and are baptized and sanctified by receiving the Holy Ghost, then we can stand spotless before Him at the last day. Encourage students to consider what they each may need to do to be able to stand spotless before God at the last day.

3 Nephi 27:23–33

Jesus Christ instructs His disciples to become even as He is

Summarize 3 Nephi 27:23–33 by explaining that the Savior gave instructions to His twelve Nephite disciples and taught them about their responsibilities. Invite students to read 3 Nephi 27:27 silently, looking for the commandment He gave the disciples to help them fulfill their role as judges of the people.

  • What commandment did Jesus Christ give to His disciples?

  • What truth can we identify from the commandment the Lord gave His disciples? (Students may use their own words, but help them identify the following truth: The Lord commands His disciples to become as He is. Invite students to consider writing this statement in their scriptures next to verse 27 and to consider marking the cross-reference to 3 Nephi 12:48 in footnote d.)

  • Why is it important for disciples of Jesus Christ to be like Him?

Ask students to review 3 Nephi 27:21.

  • According to verse 21, what did the Savior command the disciples to do?

  • What is the relationship between doing the works of the Savior and becoming like Him?

  • What are some works we can do as we follow His example?

  • In what ways have you been blessed as you have tried to follow the Savior’s example?

Conclude class by testifying of the blessings that come as we strive to become like Jesus Christ. Invite students to choose one way in which they will seek to become more like the Savior by doing what He did.

Commentary and Background Information

3 Nephi 27:8. The name of the Church

The First Presidency stated:

“The use of the revealed name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (D&C 115:4), is increasingly important in our responsibility to proclaim the name of the Savior throughout all the world. Accordingly, we ask that when we refer to the Church we use its full name wherever possible” (First Presidency letter, Feb. 23, 2001).

President Harold B. Lee (1899–1973) taught:

President Harold B. Lee

“When he [the Lord] revealed the name by which the Church was to be called, he used some interesting expressions. He said, ‘For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’ (D&C 115:4.)

“The word the is significant: not just Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, because to say ‘The Church’ distinguishes this as the only true church on the face of the earth. He didn’t say Mormon Church; he didn’t say LDS Church, but the clear, firm, unequivocal statement, ‘even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’” (Harold B. Lee, “The Way to Eternal Life,” Ensign, Nov. 1971, 13).

3 Nephi 27:13–21. The gospel of Jesus Christ

The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–1844) explained the central message of the gospel of Jesus Christ:

Prophet Joseph Smith

“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” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 49).

3 Nephi 27:27. Becoming like Jesus Christ

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) taught:

President Ezra Taft Benson

“That man is greatest and most blessed and joyful whose life most closely fits the pattern of the Christ. This has nothing to do with earthly wealth, power, or prestige. The only true test of greatness, blessedness, joyfulness is how close a life can come to being like the Master, Jesus Christ. He is the right way, the full truth, and the abundant life” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations” [Brigham Young University devotional, Dec. 10, 1974], 1, speeches.byu.edu).