Peter encouraged the Saints to seek to become like Jesus Christ. Peter assured them that this spiritual growth could help make their “calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). Peter also spoke of his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration and emphasized that scripture is inspired by God.
Suggestions for Teaching
Peter teaches how to partake of the divine nature of Jesus Christ
Before class begins, write the following statement on the board (“The Will Within,” Ensign, May 1987, 68):
“Our task is to become our best selves” (President Thomas S. Monson).
Divide students into pairs. Invite them to read the statement on the board and discuss the following questions with their partners:
What do you think President Monson meant by becoming “our best selves”?
Why do you think it is important to become our best selves?
What can prevent us from becoming our best selves?
Invite students to look for a truth as they study 2 Peter 1 that can help them know how they can become their best selves.
Summarize 2 Peter 1:1–2 by explaining that Peter wrote to Church members who had obtained faith in Jesus Christ.
Invite a student to read 2 Peter 1:3–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Peter taught to help the Saints stay true to their testimonies of the Savior.
According to these verses, what did Peter teach the Saints?
What does it mean to “be partakers of the divine nature”? (verse 4).
Invite students to read 2 Peter 1:5–7 silently, looking for attributes of Jesus Christ that Peter invited the Saints to develop. Ask students to list on the board the attributes they find. Consider inviting students to locate in a dictionary the definitions of any of these attributes that they would like to better understand.
Invite students to think about examples of when the Savior demonstrated one of these divine attributes. Ask several students to report their thoughts to the class.
Write the following incomplete principle on the board: As we develop divine attributes within ourselves, we can …
Ask a student to read 2 Peter 1:8–9 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for a blessing we can receive as we develop the divine attributes of the Savior.
What blessing can we receive as we develop divine attributes? (After students respond, complete the statement on the board so that it reads as follows: As we develop divine attributes within ourselves, we can come to know Jesus Christ.)
Why do you think developing divine attributes helps us come to know Jesus Christ?
Invite a student to read 2 Peter 1:10–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for another blessing that can come to those who are diligent in developing divine attributes.
What blessing can come to those who are diligent in developing the divine attributes of Jesus Christ? (Explain that the phrase “to make your calling and election sure” [verse 10] means to receive in this life God’s assurance that you will obtain eternal life. Peter also referred to this as “a more sure word of prophecy” [2 Peter 1:19. See also D&C 131:5].)
What principle can we learn from these verses about why we should be diligent in developing our divine potential? (Students should identify the following principle: If we are diligent in developing our divine potential while in this life, we can receive God’s assurance of eternal life. Write this principle on the board.)
Consider sharing your testimony that developing divine attributes helps us come to know Jesus Christ and prepares us to receive eternal life.
Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals one of the divine attributes they would most like to develop. Ask them to write a specific action they can take to develop that attribute.
Peter shares his witness of Jesus Christ and teaches about scripture
Consider writing on the board the ages of some of the oldest current Apostles. Read aloud the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Others say we are too old. Well, it is true that nine of the Apostles are over 80 years of age! I am 85” (“Be Still, and Know That I Am God” [Church Educational System devotional, May 4, 2014], broadcasts.lds.org).
Why do you think some people are critical about the ages of some of the prophets and apostles?
How would you respond to the criticism that modern-day prophets and apostles are too old to be effective?
Invite students as they continue to study 2 Peter 1 to look for a truth about prophets and apostles that is more important than their ages.
Explain that in 2 Peter 1:12–19 Peter shared his eyewitness testimony of Jesus Christ.
Invite a student to read 2 Peter 1:20–21 aloud, including the Joseph Smith Translation of 2 Peter 1:20 found in verse 20, footnote a. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Peter taught about the role of “holy men of God,” meaning in this case prophets.
What did Peter teach about the role of prophets? (Students should identify the following truth: Prophets receive scripture through the Holy Ghost. Write this truth on the board.)
To help the class understand what scripture is, invite a student to read the following statement aloud:
“[Scriptures are] words, both written and spoken, by holy men of God when moved upon by the Holy Ghost” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Scriptures,” scriptures.lds.org; see also D&C 68:2–4). Some scripture has been canonized. A canon is “a recognized, authoritative collection of sacred books. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the canonical books are called the standard works and include the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Canon,” scriptures.lds.org).
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for his witness that prophets continue to receive scripture today.
“[Prophets are] the channel by which God has spoken to His children through the scriptures in times past. And it is this line through which He currently speaks through the teachings and counsel of living prophets and apostles and other inspired leaders” (“Two Lines of Communication,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 84).
Why do you think it is important to know that God uses this pattern to produce scripture for His children?
How does understanding this pattern give you greater confidence in the spoken and written word of both ancient and modern-day prophets?
Read the following questions aloud, and invite students to write their answers in their class notebooks or scripture study journals.
What passages of scripture, either from ancient prophets or from prophets today, have influenced your life? How have you been blessed through those scriptures?
Invite a few students to share their responses with the class. You might also share an example of how you have been blessed through scripture.
Refer to the preceding statement by Elder Oaks, and invite students to testify to others as the Spirit directs about the reality of prophets and scripture.
Commentary and Background Information
2 Peter 1:10. “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure”
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that “to have one’s calling and election made sure is to be sealed up unto eternal life; it is to have the unconditional guarantee of exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world … prior to the day when the faithful actually enter into the divine presence to sit with Christ in his throne” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 3:330–31).
Elder McConkie also taught the following:
“Everyone in the Church who is on the straight and narrow path, who is striving and struggling and desiring to do what is right, though is far from perfect in this life; if he passes out of this life while he’s on the straight and narrow, he’s going to go on to eternal reward in his Father’s kingdom.
“… If you’re on that path and pressing forward, and you die, you’ll never get off the path. … What you have to do is stay in the mainstream of the Church and live as upright and decent people live in the Church—keeping the commandments, paying your tithing, serving in the organizations of the Church, loving the Lord, staying on the straight and narrow path. If you’re on that path when death comes—because this is the time and the day appointed, this is the probationary estate—you’ll never fall off from it, and, for all practical purposes, your calling and election is made sure. Now, that isn’t the definition of that term, but the end result will be the same” (“The Probationary Test of Mortality,” Salt Lake Institute of Religion devotional, Jan. 10, 1982, 12–13).
2 Peter 1:19. “A more sure word of prophecy”
Modern revelation confirms and clarifies the meaning of the phrase “more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19). Doctrine and Covenants 131:5 states, “The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood.”
Faithful female as well as male members of the Church may obtain the blessing of having one’s calling and election made sure, or receiving the more sure word of prophecy.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:
“Those members of the Church who devote themselves wholly to righteousness, living by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, make their calling and election sure. That is, they receive the more sure word of prophecy, which means that the Lord seals their exaltation upon them while they are yet in this life. Peter summarized the course of righteousness which the saints must pursue to make their calling and election sure and then (referring to his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration with James and John) said that those three had received this more sure word of prophecy. (2 Pet. 1.)” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 109).
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:
“After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter. …
“Who is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; … when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend to him, or appear unto him” (in History of the Church, 3:380–81).
2 Peter 1:20–21. “Holy men of God”
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles commented on the advantages of having mature, experienced leaders in the presiding councils of the Church:
“There is something about the individual and combined wisdom of the Brethren that should provide some comfort. We have experienced it all, including the consequences of different public laws and policies, disappointments, tragedies, and deaths in our own families. We are not out of touch with your lives.
“Let me also observe that none of the Twelve are shrinking violets. We each have strong personalities. So when we are unified in a decision, you can rest assured that we have counseled together and come to that decision after much prayer and thoughtful discussion. …
“We are young at heart, and the Lord blesses us to move His work forward in remarkable ways” (“Be Still, and Know That I Am God” [Church Educational System devotional, May 4, 2014], broadcast.lds.org).
Supplemental Teaching Idea
2 Peter 1:4–7. “Divine nature”
Divine nature is one of the values emphasized in the Young Women Personal Progress program. This lesson provides an opportunity to encourage young women to work on or repeat a value experience related to divine nature.
Point out that developing Christlike attributes is an important part of being an effective missionary (see Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service , 115–26). Consider inviting students to complete the attribute activity at the end of chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel (126).