While the children of Israel were gathered at the base of Mount Sinai, God gave them the Ten Commandments. This lesson covers the last five of those commandments. After seeing the manifestations of God’s presence on Mount Sinai, the Israelites were afraid. The Lord, through Moses, gave additional instructions on how they should worship Him.
Before class, list the Ten Commandments on the board.
Begin the lesson by asking:
If someone were to ask you what the most important commandment is, what would you say? Why?
Explain that the Savior was asked a similar question during His mortal ministry. Invite a student to read Matthew 22:36–40 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Savior responded. Ask students to report what they find.
Write Love God and Love Thy Neighbor on the board. Explain that the Savior summarized all of God’s commandments into these two commandments. Ask students to categorize each of the Ten Commandments under one of these two headings. Write the number of the commandment under the heading students select. (For example, they might say that commandments 1 through 4 deal with loving God and commandments 5 through 10 deal with loving your neighbor.)
Write the following principle on the board: By living the Ten Commandments, we can show love for God and our neighbor. Invite students to ponder how this principle may relate to them as they continue to study the Ten Commandments.
In the following activity, students will study and then teach each other about one or two of the Ten Commandments. Divide students into four groups. Provide each group with a copy of one of the following four handouts. Explain that the groups will have five minutes to learn about a few of the Ten Commandments and prepare to teach the class using the outline provided. Student teachers from each group will have five minutes to teach the class about the commandment(s) they studied. (This activity was written for four groups with four students per group. You may need to adapt the activity if you do not have enough students. For example, you could create fewer groups and teach about one or more of the commandments yourself.)
If some groups finish their preparations before the allotted time is up, ask them to find a scripture reference that illustrates the importance of keeping the commandment(s) they learned about. They can use this reference when they teach the class.
After students have had time to discuss their assigned commandments in their groups, invite them to list numbers 1 through 4 in their class notebooks or scripture study journals. Ask them to write something they learn from each group of their peers.
Invite students from group 1 to come to the front of the classroom and teach as directed for no more than five minutes. Repeat for each additional group. Thank students for their participation.
Ask a few students to share what they wrote about what they learned from their peers’ instruction. Then ask the class:
How does living the commandments we have discussed help us show love for our neighbors?
How does living these commandments allow us to show love for God?
Summarize Exodus 20:18–26 by explaining that when the Israelites saw the thunderings and lightnings upon Mount Sinai and heard the Lord’s voice declare the Ten Commandments, they were afraid. Moses told them to “fear not” (verse 20). Moses’s words were meant to inspire their reverence and awe toward God and to motivate them to resist sin. From Moses’s response we learn that reverence for God helps us to resist sin. The Lord then gave instructions on how the Israelites were to worship Him.
Conclude by testifying of the truths and commandments students discussed today. Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals what they will do differently as a result of what they have learned.
To help students memorize Exodus 20:3–17, arrange students in groups of two to four and invite them to create a way to remember the Ten Commandments in the order they are listed in the verses. For example, students might develop memory devices using rhymes, pictures, hand gestures, or stories. After sufficient time, invite each group to demonstrate for the class what they came up with. After each group’s turn, invite the class to repeat the Ten Commandments using the method the group developed.