While the children of Israel were camped at Mount Sinai, God gave them the Ten Commandments. This lesson introduces the Ten Commandments and discusses the first five commandments in detail.
Note: This lesson provides an opportunity for three students to teach the class. To be sure these students have time to prepare, provide each student with a copy of the section he or she is to teach a day or two in advance. You could also choose to teach these sections yourself.
Explain that while the Israelites were gathered at the base of Mount Sinai, they heard the voice of God give the Ten Commandments to them from a cloud at the top of the mountain (see Deuteronomy 4:10–13; Exodus 19:9, 16–17; 20:18–19). Invite students to refer to the handout titled “Moses’s and Israel’s Experiences with Jehovah at Mount Sinai” (see lesson 48). (A completed version of the handout is located in the appendix of this manual.) Invite students to write the following on line 5 on the handout: God speaks the Ten Commandments to the Israelites.
To help students become familiar with the Ten Commandments, divide students into teams. List on the board the numbers 1 through 10 in one column for each team. Provide each team with a marker or a piece of chalk. Invite one student from each team to come to the board and write one of the Ten Commandments in their team’s designated column and then pass the marker or chalk to another student on his or her team. This will continue for two minutes with each team member writing an additional commandment or correcting one that is on the board. You may want to suggest that students try to write the commandments in their correct order. Students are not allowed to use their scriptures for this activity.
After the activity, ask the class the following question:
Ask several students to take turns reading aloud from Exodus 20:1–17. Invite the class to follow along and look for each of the Ten Commandments. You may want to suggest that students mark and number each commandment in their scriptures. After the verses are read, invite students to evaluate their lists on the board. Invite them to note how many of the commandments they listed correctly and in the proper order.
Explain that keeping the Ten Commandments would prepare the Israelites to receive greater blessings.
How would you respond to someone who says that the Ten Commandments were only meant for people in the Bible and do not apply to us today?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson:
“Although the world has changed, the laws of God remain constant. They have not changed; they will not change. The Ten Commandments are just that—commandments. They are not suggestions. They are every bit as requisite today as they were when God gave them to the children of Israel” (“Stand in Holy Places,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 83).
What stands out to you about President Monson’s statement?
The rest of this lesson is designed for three students to teach. The student teachers may take turns teaching the entire class, or the class could divide into three groups and rotate between teachers. Allow each student teacher about eight minutes to teach.
After each of the student teachers has taught, invite a few students to explain to the class what they learned. As part of the discussion of what they learned about the first two commandments, consider reading aloud the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:
“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities” (“The Great Commandment—Love the Lord,” Ensign, May 1988, 4).
Invite students to write in their scripture study journals or notebooks what they can do to improve their efforts to keep the commandments they learned about today.
Conclude with your testimony of the principles students discussed.