Acts 3–5

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 138–39


Introduction

In Acts 3–5the Apostles are shown directing the affairs of the Church in Jerusalem by the power of the Holy Ghost. Peter, the senior Apostle, with John beside him, healed the sick and lame, preached the gospel, boldly confronted Jewish religious leaders, wrought many signs and wonders among the people, and testified of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, described Peter, “this great church president,” as a man of “great faith, bold leadership, unwavering testimony, unparalleled courage, and almost limitless understanding” (Peter, My Brother, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [13 July 1971], 1; or The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 488).

Prayerfully study Acts 3–5and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 244–45.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Acts 3–5.

Acts 3:1–16. Healings occur through faith and priesthood power.

(25–30 minutes)

Make a likeness of a one million dollar check. Show the “check” to your class and ask:

  • Which would you rather have, one million dollars or your eyesight? Why?

  • Would you rather have one million dollars or your ability to walk? Why?

  • Read Acts 3:1–11. What did Peter offer the lame man that was more valuable than money?

  • Read verses 12–16. What makes healings like this one possible?

Share with the class accounts of healings that came through faith and priesthood power, or ask students if they would like to share any such accounts.

Explain that healings such as these can serve as types for spiritual healing. Just as the Lord has power to heal our physical illnesses and even disabilities, He can offer us forgiveness and strength to overcome our weaknesses and society’s ills. Reread Acts 3:2–8, and ask questions such as these:

  • Who holds Peter’s position in the Church today? (The prophet.)

  • If we compare Peter’s healing the lame man to spiritual healing, who does the man represent?

  • What do the words “fastening his eyes upon him” in verse 4 imply? (The man was important to Peter.)

  • How have the prophets of our time “fastened their eyes” on the youth? (One example is the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet.)

  • What does the word heed mean in verse 5? (The man paid attention to Peter and John.)

  • How does that apply to spiritual healing? (We must listen to and obey the current prophet and other priesthood leaders.)

  • What can we learn from Peter’s taking the man by the hand and lifting him up?

Have a student read the following quotation by President Harold B. Lee:

“Now in my mind’s eye I can picture [the lame] man, what was in his mind. ‘Doesn’t this man know that I have never walked? He commands me to walk.’ But the biblical record doesn’t end there. Peter just didn’t content himself by commanding the man to walk, but he ‘took him by the right hand, and lifted him up.’ (Acts 3:7.)

“Will you see that picture now of that noble soul, that chiefest of the apostles, perhaps with his arms around the shoulders of this man, and saying, ‘Now, my good man, have courage, I will take a few steps with you. Let’s walk together, and I assure you that you can walk, because you have received a blessing by the power and authority that God has given us as men, his servants.’ Then the man leaped with joy.

“You cannot lift another soul until you are standing on higher ground than he is. You must be sure, if you would rescue the man, that you yourself are setting the example of what you would have him be. You cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 178; or Ensign, July 1973, 123).

Acts 4:32–37. Saints have a responsibility for each other’s welfare.

(25–30 minutes)

Begin class by asking students questions about the first two chapters of Acts (you will need to prepare fifteen to twenty questions in advance). As students give correct answers, give them rewards, such as pieces of candy. Continue until some students have several rewards and others have few or none. Ask:

  • Do we measure our success more by how much material wealth we have, or by how much more we have than someone else?

  • How does society encourage this behavior?

Have students read Acts 2:44–45; 4:32–37, and ask: What did the members of the Church do with their material wealth in Peter’s day? Read Doctrine and Covenants 78:5–6.

  • Why is it important for Latter-day Saints to help each other in material ways?

  • What does it mean to have “all things common”?

  • What do we call this law today? (The law of consecration.)

  • What can we do to help others materially? (Answers might include paying tithes and offerings, participating in service projects, helping others find work, giving or aiding humanitarian service.)

Refer to the rewards given out at the beginning of class. Ask students: Would you like to put all your rewards together and distribute them more equally? Why or why not? Discuss issues that arise during this exercise. Have a student read the following quotation from President Ezra Taft Benson:

“Everything we have belongs to the Lord; and, therefore, the Lord may call upon us for any and all of our property, because it belongs to Him. …

“… The law of consecration is a law for an inheritance in the celestial kingdom. God, the Eternal Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and all holy beings abide by this law. It is an eternal law. It is a revelation by God to his Church in this dispensation. Though not in full operation today, it will be mandatory for all Saints to live the law in its fulness to receive celestial inheritance. You young people today abide a portion of this higher law as you tithe, pay a generous fast offering, go on missions, and make other contributions of money, service, and time” (“A Vision and a Hope for the Youth of Zion,” in 1977 Devotional Speeches of the Year [1978], 74–75).

  • What current Church programs embody the principles of consecration?

  • How does the Church’s welfare program allow us to live a portion of the law of consecration?

Invite each student to think of someone whose life she or he can make happier through service and to come up with a plan to help that person. Tell them you won’t be asking for details of their plans or the people they are helping, but that in a day or two you will ask them in a general way how they are doing.

Acts 5:1–11. Lying to Church leaders is the same as lying to the Lord.

(10–15 minutes)

Have students take turns reading aloud Acts 5:1–11one verse at a time. Ask: What lessons can we learn from this story? (We cannot lie to God; the consequences of lying may come immediately after the lie; we always suffer the consequences of our actions.) Have a student read the following statement by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley:

“In our time those found in dishonesty do not die as did Ananias and Sapphira, but something within them dies. Conscience chokes, character withers, self-respect vanishes, integrity dies” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 91; or Ensign, May 1976, 61).

Ask: According to this quotation, what are some of the consequences of lying? Invite students to share accounts of people they know who learned the value of total honesty with the Lord, Church leaders, or others.

Acts 5:34–39. Truth will eventually prevail over error.

(10–15 minutes)

Pass out to students copies of recent newspapers or news magazines. Have them browse them, looking for how prevalent sin and error are in the world. Ask: How do you think people must feel about life if they believe that these conditions will always prevail in the world?

Have students read Acts 5:34–39, and ask:

  • What did Gamaliel believe about the contest between right and wrong?

  • How can this knowledge help us have hope in a world filled with sin and error?

President Hugh B. Brown taught:

“You may be sure that ultimately righteousness will triumph. Truth will prevail. The Church has been organized and set up. It is the kingdom of God, and it will never be thrown down” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1961, 87).