Hebrews 11–13

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 227–29


Introduction

The Lectures on Faith, compiled under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith, declare that faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel and the “foundation of all righteousness” (Lectures on Faith [1985], 1). They also teach that “faith is not only the principle of action, but of power also, in all intelligent beings” (13). Hebrews 11–13teaches us about faith and how it can become a principle of power in our lives.

Prayerfully study Hebrews 11–13and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • Faith is a hope for and an assurance of things that are not seen but that are true (see Hebrews 11:1–3; see also Alma 32:21).

  • Faith is the power by which the ancient Saints were able to keep the commandments of God and perform great deeds of righteousness (see Hebrews 11:4–40; see also Alma 26:22–36).

  • By faith we can endure the chastening of a loving Father and allow it to refine and perfect us (see Hebrews 12:5–13; see also D&C 95:1).

  • The marriage relationship is holy and ordained of God (see Hebrews 13:4; see also D&C 131:1–2).

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 394–401.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Hebrews 11–13.

New Testament Video presentation 20, “The Just Shall Live by Faith” (12:32), can be used in teaching Hebrews 11(see New Testament Video Guide for teaching suggestions).

Hebrews 11:1–12:3. Faith in Jesus Christ is a principle of action and power. This faith enabled the ancient Saints to keep the commandments of God and perform great deeds of righteousness.

(35–40 minutes)

Ask students if they have ever planted a garden. Ask: How did you know that the seeds would grow? Ask them if they have ever waited for a bus. Ask: How did you know the bus would come? Ask if they have ever mailed a letter. Ask: How did you know it would be delivered as intended? Help the students understand that they didn’t actually know these things would happen, but based on past experience they believed or trusted that they would. Ask: What are some other things that we do each day believing that they will bring the results we expect? (Going to school or work, accepting money, crossing a bridge.)

Write What is faith? on the board with the following references under it: Hebrews 11:1; Alma 32:21; and Ether 12:6. Read these three verses with your students and work together to write a definition of faith from the scriptures (see also Bible Dictionary, (“faith,” pp. 669–70). Discuss how this definition of faith helps explain why we are willing to plant seeds or go to school or work each day.

Tell students that in order for faith to be a principle of power, it must be more than just a strong belief in some future outcome. Write on the board: The first principle of the gospel is not faith. It is faith in _______________. Have students read the fourth article of faith and finish the statement on the board (the answer is “Jesus Christ”). Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Boyd K. Packer:

“I recognize two kinds of faith. The first is the kind which is apparent in the world. It is the common denominator of most everything that goes on. It is the thing that lets us exist. It is the thing that gives us some hope of getting anything done. Everyone has it, some in a larger measure than others. The second kind of faith, remarkably rare, unusual to find, is the kind of faith that causes things to happen. Faith is a power as real as electricity except a thousand times more powerful. Now did you ever exercise faith—exercise it, practice it, you see, not just take it for granted? When you look at yourself, ask yourself how faithful are you? It is a first principle of the gospel according to the Lord. Is it a first principle in the gospel according to you?” (Your Articles of Faith, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [21 Mar. 1962], 8).

Ask: How can centering our belief in Jesus Christ help us have this second kind of faith? To see examples of people who have experienced the power of this second kind of faith, read all or selected parts of Hebrews 11:2–40. Invite students to identify the examples that impressed them the most and share them with the class.

Ask: Why do you think Paul listed so many examples of faith? Read Hebrews 12:1–3and ask your students if they can find a reason. Ask: What does it mean to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us” (v. 1)?

Share the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, then a member of the Seventy:

“We must realize that the weight of the cross is great enough without our also carrying burdens that we could jettison through the process of repentance. Paul gave us wise counsel in this regard when he said, ‘… let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily [beset] us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.’ (Hebrews 12:1.) It is much more difficult for us to carry the cross when our back is already bent with the burdens of bad behavior” (Deposition of a Disciple [1976], 75).

Discuss the following questions:

  • How does patience help us handle life’s challenges?

  • How does looking unto Jesus Christ help us develop our faith?

  • How does His example of faith, patience, and endurance affect how you feel about your trials and sufferings?

Hebrews 12:5–11. By faith we can accept and endure the chastening of a loving Heavenly Father and allow it to refine and perfect us.

(25–30 minutes)

Write on the board When we suffer. Under that phrase, write Cause:. Ask:

  • How many of you have ever had a bad day?

  • How many have had a bad day because of some bad choices you made? (Note: Do not ask for examples.)

  • How many of you have had a bad day that was not caused by something you did wrong?

  • Have you ever wondered, “Why is this happening to me?”

Share with your students the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott. Have them listen for at least two reasons that bad things happen.

“No one wants adversity. Trials, disappointments, sadness, and heartache come to us from two basically different sources. Those who transgress the laws of God will always have those challenges. The other reason for adversity is to accomplish the Lord’s own purposes in our life that we may receive the refinement that comes from testing. It is vitally important for each of us to identify from which of these two sources come our trials and challenges, for the corrective action is very different” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 18; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 16).

Under Cause: write my own sins and to help me grow. Add the word purpose to the board and explain that even though our trials have more than one cause, they seem to have the same general purpose. Invite students to read Hebrews 12:6–11looking for the purpose of the Lord’s chastening (see also D&C 95:1). Consider using the following questions:

  • Why does the Lord chasten His children?

  • How will He deal with us if we endure His chastening?

  • What adversities do we suffer that are not the Lord’s doing?

  • What does Hebrews 12:9teach that explains why Heavenly Father is so interested in our growth?

  • How is knowing that we are spirit children of our Heavenly Father helpful as we strive to become like Him?

Invite your students to write a paragraph describing what it means to them to know that they are literally the spirit children of Heavenly Father. Have several students share what they wrote with the class. Conclude by reading the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott:

“When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. … What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet when you pray with real conviction, ‘Please let me know Thy will’ and ‘May Thy will be done,’ you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 18; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 17).

Hebrews 1–13. A review of the book of Hebrews reveals Paul’s testimony of the superiority of Jesus Christ over all things.

(20–25 minutes)

Make copies of the diagram entitled Jesus Christ Supersedes All Things found in the introduction to Hebrews (p. 222). Leave the boxes under Jesus Christ blank except for the scripture references. Give each student a copy as a handout. Tell them that this handout is an illustration of the theme of Hebrews.

Write the scripture references from the following chart on the board, and invite students to search them, looking for the theme expressed in each reference. (You could have them work individually or in groups.) As they discover the themes, have them write them in the boxes on the handout.

References

Theme

Additional Resources

Hebrews 1:4–6

Jesus Christ, the Son, is greater than the angels.

Commentary for Hebrews 1:13, 14and 2:6–9 in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, pp. 382–83.

Hebrews 3:1–6

Jesus Christ, the Son, is greater than Moses, the prophet.

 

Hebrews 5:5–10; 7:11–12; D&C 107:1–4

Christ’s priesthood is greater than the Levitical Priesthood.

Commentary for Hebrews 7:11–14in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, pp. 385–86.

Hebrews 7:1–4; JST, Hebrews 7:3

Jesus Christ is greater than Melchizedek and Abraham.

 

Hebrews 9:1, 10–14; 10:10–14; Alma 34:10

Christ’s sacrifice supersedes all Old Testament sacrifices.

Commentary for Hebrews 9:11–15, 23–28in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, p. 391.

Hebrews 11

Jesus Christ’s power is greater than any mortal problem or obstacle.

 

Review their answers. Testify of the majesty of Jesus Christ, encouraging students to believe in and rely more on the power of the Lord. He has the power to assist us and save us in this generation as much as He did in former times. Consider concluding by singing or reading the hymn, “How Great Thou Art” (Hymns, no. 86).