John 17: "This Is Life Eternal"

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 89–90


Just before He went to Gethsemane for the last time, Jesus gave what is known as the great Intercessory Prayer. It is given this name because in it the Savior prayed to His Father on behalf of His disciples and all those who believe in their words. President David O. McKay testified, “I know of no more important chapter in the Bible” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1967, 5). Read John 17 and ponder why it might have been so important to President McKay.

Understanding the Scriptures

John 17

Before the world was, before the foundation of the world (v. 5, 24)Before the earth was created 
Manifested (v. 6)Made known 
Sanctify them (v. 17, 19)Make them holy 

John 17:11–17—How Can You Be “in the World” but Not “of the World”?

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, an Apostle, said, “Perhaps all of us sometimes would like to withdraw and isolate ourselves from the storms of life and from the fiery darts of Satan. However, we must be in the world but not of the world, meaning to go forward in the midst of the sin, evil, and corruption that are in the world but resisting and rejecting them” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 84; or Ensign, May 1993, 68).

John 17:12—Who Is the “Son of Perdition”?

The Lord was referring to Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him. Perdition is another name for Satan (see D&C 76:25–27). A person who chooses to do evil “becometh a child of the devil” (Alma 5:38–41).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study John 17.

Activity A Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—John 17:3

It is the intention of most Latter-day Saints to obtain eternal life, which is the kind of life that God lives.

  1. 1.

    Explain the difference between “knowing” the only true God and just “knowing about” Him.

  2. 2.

    You may want to cross–reference John 17:3 with 1 John 2:3–6. From 1 John 2:3–6 and from other scriptures you may find, list some ways we can become like Heavenly Father and His Son.

  3. 3.

    Explain how becoming like Them can help us to know Them better.

Activity B icon“That They All May Be One”

Read and compare John 17:9–11 with John 17:20–23 and do the following:

  1. 1.

    For each reference, identify who Jesus was praying for and what He desired for them.

  2. 2.

    Read Doctrine and Covenants 38:27 and share what it adds to the importance of the Lord’s prayer.

  3. 3.

    Read Doctrine and Covenants 88:67–68, explain what having “an eye single” might have to do with the Lord’s prayer, and describe the blessings that would come into your life because of it.

Activity C iconA Prayer for a Friend

Imagine that you have moved to a new city. After several months you receive a letter from one of your closest friends. This person has new friends and is participating in inappropriate activities. List at least two ideas from the Savior’s prayer in John 17:11–17 that you could include in your own prayers for your friend. Explain how they could help your friend.