Introduction to Scripture Mastery

New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual, 2016

Seminaries and Institutes of Religion has selected 25 scripture mastery passages for each of the four seminary courses. These passages provide an important scriptural foundation for understanding and sharing the gospel and for strengthening faith. The scripture mastery passages for the New Testament course are as follows:

Seminary students are encouraged to develop a “mastery” of these passages. You will be better able to help your students if you master these passages as well. Mastery of scripture passages includes the following:

  • Locating the verses by knowing the associated scripture references

  • Understanding the context and content of the scripture passages

  • Applying the gospel principles and doctrines taught in the scripture passages

  • Memorizing the passages

Consistency, Expectations, and Methods

As you plan to help students master scripture passages, you will be more successful if you refer to scripture mastery passages with consistency, maintain appropriate expectations, and use methods that appeal to different learning styles.

Consistency and repetition in teaching scripture mastery will help students place truths in their long-term memories for future use. It may be helpful to outline the course of study for the year and create a plan to consistently provide opportunities in the classroom for students to master scripture passages. Be wise in determining how often and how much time to spend helping students learn the scripture mastery passages. Ensure that scripture mastery activities do not overshadow daily sequential study of the scriptures. You could decide to spend a few minutes each day reviewing scripture mastery passages with your students. Or you might decide to provide a short mastery activity once or twice each week for 10 to 15 minutes. No matter how you plan to help students learn scripture mastery passages, be consistent and appropriate in your efforts.

Base your expectations for scripture mastery on each student’s abilities. Mastering scripture passages takes effort on the part of the learner. Communicate to students that their success with scripture mastery depends largely on their attitude and their willingness to work. Encourage them to set goals that push their abilities to higher levels. Be sensitive to students who may have difficulty memorizing, and be willing to adapt your expectations and teaching methods according to the needs of your students.

To appeal to a wider range of personality and learning styles, vary the methods you use to help students master scripture passages. As in all gospel teaching and learning, be wise in your choice of activities so that the Holy Ghost can support students’ scriptural and doctrinal mastery. You will find a number of appropriate scripture mastery teaching methods in the lessons in this manual. For additional scripture mastery teaching methods, see the section called “Scripture Mastery Activities” in this appendix.

Scripture Mastery in the Curriculum

Scripture mastery is written into the curriculum in a number of ways. A scripture mastery icon scripture mastery icon identifies the treatment of scripture mastery passages in the lesson material. Scripture mastery passages are introduced and discussed in the context of the chapters in which they are located. Additional teaching ideas for scripture mastery passages appear at the end of the lessons in which they are located. These additional teaching ideas help balance the four elements of scripture mastery (locating, understanding, applying, and memorizing) with regard to each passage. For example, if the lesson helps students to understand and apply the scripture mastery passage, then the additional teaching idea will help them with locating or memorizing the passage.

The curriculum also regularly provides scripture mastery review activities that can be used as time allows and in harmony with the scripture mastery goals of your class. These reviews can be supplemented with the scripture mastery activities listed in this appendix. You might use extra time at the beginning or end of a shorter lesson to do one of these review activities.

Suggested Approaches for Scripture Mastery

To aid students with locating skills, you could plan to introduce the 25 mastery passages near the beginning of the course and then work on deepening mastery throughout the course. Or you could introduce a few passages each month and focus on mastering those passages during that month. Such introductions could include suggesting that students mark scripture mastery passages in their individual copies of the scriptures, helping students think of ways to remember key words and references, and explaining doctrines and principles contained in each passage. You could also involve students in introducing scripture mastery passages by assigning them to use passages in their devotionals or by inviting them to teach each other how to remember and locate the passages. Provide accountability for remembering scripture mastery passages with periodic quizzes and locating activities (see the scripture mastery activities in this appendix for examples). A list of the 25 scripture mastery passages for this course of study can be found on the student bookmarks and scripture mastery cards.

To assist students in their understanding of scripture mastery passages, emphasize these passages as they come up in your daily lessons. You might also use the scripture mastery activities in this appendix to increase students’ knowledge of and ability to explain the truths contained in the passages. Give students opportunities in devotionals or during class to explain how the truths in scripture mastery passages help them better understand the Basic Doctrines.

To support students in their application of truths found in scripture mastery passages, encourage them to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost to understand how the truths in the passages apply in their lives. To help students act on the truths they learn, you could occasionally post on a bulletin board in class a challenge related to a scripture mastery passage. Or you could give students opportunities in class to practice teaching doctrines and principles of the gospel using the scripture mastery passages (see the scripture mastery activities in this appendix for ideas). You might also invite students to apply the principles they learn in the lessons where scripture mastery passages appear. Provide students with opportunities—in devotionals or at other times—to report their experiences. This will help them to increase their witness of the truths they have learned from the scripture mastery passages.

To help students memorize the 25 scripture mastery passages, you could plan to commit to memory two or three passages each month in class. You could also challenge students to memorize certain passages at home (they could do this with their families or recite passages to a parent or family member). You could make memorization a part of daily devotionals by asking the class to recite a passage or by providing time for students to memorize in pairs. Giving students opportunities to recite scripture mastery passages in pairs or small groups or in front of the class can help them be accountable for their efforts. The scripture mastery activities in this appendix include a variety of memorization methods. Take care to tailor memorization expectations to each student’s abilities and circumstances. Students should not be made to feel embarrassed or overwhelmed if they are unable to memorize a scripture passage.