Scripture Study Helps

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 11–13


Study Helps in the LDS Edition of the King James Bible

In 1979 the Church published a Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible in English. Included in this edition were numerous helps to make a study of the scriptures more meaningful and rewarding. Speaking of this new edition of the scriptures, Elder Boyd K. Packer testified: “This work … will one day emerge as a signal inspired event of our generation. Because of it, we shall raise up generations of Latter-day Saints who will know the gospel and know the Lord” (Bruce R. McConkie, Apostle [address at the funeral of Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Apr. 23, 1985], 4).

See the section “Study Helps in the Latter-day Saint Editions of the Scriptures” in the student study guide for a detailed explanation of these study helps.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • The Latter-day Saint editions of the scriptures contain significant study aids that can help us increase our understanding of the scriptures.

Suggestions for Teaching

Scripture Study Helps. The study helps provided in the Latter-day Saint editions of the scriptures help us get the most out of our scripture study.

(40–45 minutes)

The Church has included numerous study helps in the scriptures. These are explained in the “Study Helps in the Latter-day Saint Editions of the Scriptures” section of the student study guide. The following suggestions can help you teach the study helps.

Chapter Headings and Section Introductions. Have students turn to the chapter heading for 1 Nephi 16. Read it and explain that the headings emphasize the main points of each chapter and often present doctrinal insights.

Have students read the chapter headings for the following chapters and answer the accompanying questions:

  • Ezekiel 38. What battle will usher in the Second Coming?

  • John 1. Who created all things?

  • Helaman 6. Who guided the Gadianton robbers in their murders and wickedness?

  • Moroni 1. What happened to those Nephites who refused to deny Jesus Christ?

  • Abraham 3. How did Abraham learn about the sun, moon, and stars?

Have students examine the two headings for a section of the Doctrine and Covenants. Explain that the first heading contains background information for the section and the second is a synopsis of the section’s contents.

Italicized Words in the Bible. Explain that italicized words in the King James Version of the Bible are words the translator inserted to render a correct English reading. When the Bible was translated from Greek and Hebrew, a literal translation into English was not always possible. It was sometimes necessary to insert words in order for the scriptures to be grammatically correct.

Footnotes. Choose a couple of pages in the Bible that illustrate the several types of footnotes available in the Latter-day Saint editions of the scriptures. Have the students turn to the pages, and share with them the advantages of the footnote system.

  • Point out that each verse is independently footnoted and that each footnote in the verse is in alphabetical order.

  • Show examples of footnotes that point to the Topical Guide (TG).

  • Show examples of footnotes that give Hebrew (HEB) and Greek (GR) meanings.

  • Show examples of footnotes that give modern synonyms and explanations (OR and IE) for archaic or obscure words and phrases in the scriptures.

  • Show examples of footnotes that present insights from the Joseph Smith Translation (JST).

Refer to the study helps section in the student study guide for additional help and examples.

Use the following questions to give students an opportunity to practice using the footnotes in the Doctrine and Covenants:

The Joseph Smith Translation. Share with students the information under “Joseph Smith Translation” in the Bible Dictionary (p. 717). Tell them that not all of the changes from the Joseph Smith Translation are included in the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible, but more than 600 verses with changes are included. Some verses or passages that are too long to be included as footnotes have been placed in a separate appendix in the Bible.

For examples of Joseph Smith Translation contributions, have your students refer to the JST footnotes for Exodus 4:21 and Amos 7:3 and determine what changes the Prophet made.

Topical Guide. Tell students that they can use the Topical Guide to search more than 750 gospel topics as deeply as they want. Help them understand that this guide contains scripture references from all of the standard works and that it can serve as a concordance or an index. The following exercises can help students become familiar with the Topical Guide:

  • Have students select subjects they would like to talk on if asked to speak in a church meeting. Have them use the Topical Guide to find scripture references they could use to prepare their talks.

  • Have students turn to the Topical Guide and note the various topic headings about Jesus Christ.

Index to the Triple Combination. Explain that the index in the triple combination is a combined index for the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price and contains numerous references from each on many topics. It is similar to the Topical Guide in the Bible except the index gives a short summary of each scripture reference, while the Topical Guide quotes from each reference. The index also gives only references from the triple combination, while the Topical Guide covers all of the standard works. Note that by searching for key words in the index, students can quickly locate scripture references. One helpful feature of the index is that it identifies people or places with the same name by superscript numbers and gives brief descriptions to differentiate them. Have the class turn to the first page of the index and find out how many men were named Aaron and who each one was.

Bible Dictionary. Look through the Bible Dictionary with students. Explain that it contains 1,285 biblical topics prepared from a Latter-day Saint point of view. Share several specific topics and point out the following sections:

  • Chronological tables (“chronology,” pp. 635–45)

  • A harmony of the four Gospels (“Gospels, harmony of,” pp. 684–96)

  • An analysis of the Apostle Paul’s letters (“Pauline Epistles,” pp. 743–48)

  • Old Testament quotations found in the New Testament (“quotations,” pp. 756–59)

  • A list of weights and measures mentioned in the Bible (“weights and measures,” pp. 788–89)

Bible Maps and Photographs. In 1999 the Church added a new maps and photographs section to the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Bible. Indexes and helps for both the photographs and maps are grouped together at the beginning of the section. The color maps and photographs themselves appear together at the end. (Note: If your copy of the scriptures does not include the updated maps and photographs, these can be purchased separately and inserted.)

Have students look at several photographs from the back of the Bible Maps and Photographs section and determine what each shows. The photographs in this section depict sites from Bible history. Ask the students to find a photo of the Temple of Herod (no. 9). Refer them to the description of the temple under the “Photographs of Scriptural Sites” heading at the front of the section. Ask them to name three important events that took place at this temple.

Have students turn to the “Maps and Index of Place-Names” heading. The first page of this subsection explains map features. Refer students to the second paragraph for an explanation of how to use the index of place-names. Show them the index, beginning on the next page. The index lists the names of places alphabetically and includes coordinates for locating them on the maps.

Some of the individual maps are accompanied by notes and scripture references related to locations on those maps. Have the students turn to map 12 and the accompanying page of notes. Ask them to find the temple and to identify two events that took place there during the life of Jesus Christ (see note 9).

Church History Chronology, Maps, and Photographs. In 1999 the Church also added new maps and photographs to the triple combination. These features are similar to the corresponding ones in the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Bible. (Note: If your copy of the scriptures does not include the updated maps and photographs, these can be purchased separately and inserted.) This section also includes a chronology of Church history events. Have the students turn to this section and find what year and month Joseph Smith completed his translation of the Book of Mormon. Have them turn to map 2 and locate the Joseph Smith Sr. log home. Ask: What important event occurred at this location? (see note 1).

Pronouncing Guide. The pronouncing guide at the end of the Book of Mormon provides a standard for the pronunciation of Book of Mormon names. Encourage the students to become familiar with this guide.

Scripture Study Helps. Using the study aids can help increase our understanding of the scriptures.

(5–10 minutes)

Share the following story from Elder Richard G. Scott, then a member of the Presidency of the Seventy. It illustrates the worth of the study aids in the new editions of the standard works.

“I remember when the new triple combination was introduced to the Brethren. Elder McConkie made the presentation. He held up a book and read from the flyleaf, ‘To Bruce R. McConkie.’ It was signed ‘Amelia’ [his future wife] and dated the day he entered the mission home. He said, ‘I have carried these scriptures all over the world. I’ve used them extensively. They have been bound three times. I can tell you the location on the page for many of the scriptures in that book.’ He then added, ‘But I’m not going to use that book anymore. It does not have the precious teaching aids and powerful tools to enhance study and understanding that are in this new volume.’ I was really impressed by that. The next day I had occasion to go into his office. He has a large desk, and there he sat, book in hand, with ruler and red pencil marking the new edition of the scriptures. Well, if someone who knows the scriptures as well as he does finds it worthwhile to use the new edition, I have resolved to do likewise” (“Spiritual Communication,” in Principles of the Gospel in Practice, Sperry Symposium 1985 [1985], 18–19).

Scripture Study Helps. Help students use what they learned about the scripture study aids.

(30–35 minutes)

After you have taught students about the scripture study aids, have them use the aids to complete the following quiz as a review of what they learned. You may want them to work in groups.

  1. 1.

    Answer the following questions about baptism:

    1. a.

      What does the word baptism mean?

    2. b.

      What evidence is there that baptism was practiced before the time of Christ?

    3. c.

      What does baptism symbolize?

    4. d.

      What are four purposes of baptism?

  2. 2.

    Find the meaning of the italicized word in each of the following phrases. Notice how knowing what these words mean brings added understanding to the scripture passages.

    1. a.

      “An help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18).

    2. b.

      “Ye kine of Bashan” (Amos 4:1).

    3. c.

      “Trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent” (2 Timothy 3:3).

    4. d.

      “The word of God is quick, and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12).

  3. 3.

    List three scripture references for each of the following topics:

    1. a.

      Last days

    2. b.

      Lost scriptures

    3. c.

      Prophecy

    4. d.

      Revelation

  4. 4.

    Answer the following questions after reading the verses and referring to the footnotes:

    1. a.

      Matthew 4:23. Why were those people in Galilee healed?

    2. b.

      Matthew 4:24. What is palsy?

    3. c.

      Matthew 4:25. Where is the region of Decapolis? (see the maps section).

    4. d.

      Matthew 5:3. What are some other meanings of the word blessed?

    5. e.

      Matthew 5:3. What does the Book of Mormon add to our understanding of this verse?

    6. f.

      Matthew 5:5. What are some other meanings of the word that was translated as meek?

  5. 5.

    Read about Lehi’s vision of the tree of life in 1 Nephi 8 and, using the cross-references in the footnotes, identify what the following symbols represent:

    1. a.

      River of water

    2. b.

      Rod of iron

    3. c.

      Mist of darkness

    4. d.

      Great and spacious building

  6. 6.

    Identify the following people and tell where they are mentioned in the scriptures:

    1. a.

      Antionah

    2. b.

      Josiah Butterfield

  7. 7.

    What states, territories, and countries did the Saints travel through during their migrations from New York to the Great Salt Lake Valley?