“Lesson 30: ‘God Is No Respecter of Persons’” New Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual (2002), 125–28
To help class members recognize that the gospel is for all people and that the Church is guided by continuing revelation.
Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:
Acts 10:1–11:18. An angel appears to Cornelius in a vision and tells him to send for the Apostle Peter. Peter learns in a vision that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles (people who were not Jews). He goes to Caesarea to teach Cornelius and his family and friends. The Holy Ghost falls upon Cornelius and others, and they are baptized. Some members of the Church criticize Peter for teaching Gentiles, but when he tells of his vision, they accept it as revelation for the Church.
Acts 12. King Herod kills James and imprisons Peter. The Saints pray for Peter’s release, and an angel of the Lord frees him. Herod is smitten by an angel of the Lord and dies.
Acts 13–14. Saul (now known as Paul) and Barnabas make their first missionary journey, establishing the Church among the Gentiles in several cities.
Acts 15:1–35. Some Jewish Saints teach that Gentiles who join the Church must keep the law of Moses, including circumcision for men. The Apostles determine that this is not required by the Lord.
If a map showing Paul’s first missionary journey is available (map 13 in the LDS edition of the Bible printed in 1999 or later; map 19 in printings before 1999), you may want to use it during the lesson.
Suggestion for teaching: Elder Gordon B. Hinckley said: “Your students deserve more than your knowledge. They deserve and hunger for your inspiration. They want the warm glow of personal relationships. This always has been the hallmark of a great teacher” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1965, 52; or Improvement Era, Dec. 1965, 1124). Prayerfully consider how you can develop and show love for each class member. (See Teaching, No Greater Call , pages 12, 31–36.)
Suggested Lesson Development
Additional Teaching Idea
The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use this idea as part of the lesson.
The worldwide Church
To show class members how the Church has grown, display a map of the world. Point out areas where members of the Church lived in the time of Cornelius (modern-day Israel, Turkey, Greece, and the surrounding areas). Then have class members point out areas where Church members live today. Explain that at the beginning of 2002, the Church had over 11 million members living in over 160 nations. There were more than 60,000 missionaries working in over 120 independent countries, speaking about 50 major languages and many additional dialects. (You may be able to find more current statistics in recent Church magazines.)