Leviticus 17–27

Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2003), 91–93


The first sixteen chapters of Leviticus dealt with issues of becoming clean. The last chapters focus on how Israel could remain clean before God and become more holy and godly. The following is an outline of these chapters:

  • Chapter 17—Personal holiness

  • Chapter 18—Holiness in family and sexual relations

  • Chapters 19–20—Holiness in social relationships, such as in a congregation

  • Chapters 21–22—Holiness in the priesthood

  • Chapters 23–25—Celebrations and sacred events that encourage holiness

  • Chapter 26—Blessings that come to those who keep their covenants

  • Chapter 27—Instructions for consecrating one’s possessions to the Lord

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Suggestions for Teaching

Leviticus 18–20. The Lord expects His people to separate themselves from the ways of the world and become pure and holy. (20–25 minutes)

Ask students to imagine visiting a school with five hundred students and only one of the students is a Latter-day Saint. Ask:

  • Do you think you could pick out the Latter-day Saint student by observing all the students?

  • What characteristics or traits would you look for?

  • What gospel teachings could help us be different from the rest of the world?

Read Leviticus 18:2–5, 27–30; 19:1–2, 37; and 20:7–8, 22–26 with your students and ask:

  • What did the Lord expect of Israel?

  • What would be the benefits of their being separate from the Egyptian and Canaanite lifestyles?

Assign students one or more of the following verses in Leviticus: 19:3, 4, 9–10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23–25, 26, 27–28, 29, 30, 31–34, 35–36; 20:9, 10. Have them complete the following tasks and share their responses with each other:

  1. 1.

    Identify the commandment found in the verse.

  2. 2.

    List ways that living the commandment may have helped remind the Israelites to separate themselves from the wicked practices of the world.

  3. 3.

    Consider what we can do to live the commandment today.

Have students quickly read Leviticus 18:19–26 and 20:6, 9–10 and identify the sins the Lord commanded Israel to avoid. Remind them that those sins were common then. Ask:

  • Are those sins prevalent today?

  • Why do you think Latter-day Saints should avoid those practices?

  • What else has the Lord asked us to do or to avoid that is different from what the world does? (Some good examples can be found in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet.)

  • Read Doctrine and Covenants 53:2. What has the Lord commanded us to do?

  • Is that easy or difficult for you? Why?

  • What benefits come when we forsake worldliness?

scripture mastery icon Leviticus 19:18 (Scripture Mastery). We should love and serve our neighbors. (10–15 minutes)

Ask students if they have a favorite neighbor and why that neighbor is their favorite. Ask them to consider some of the nicest things a neighbor has ever done for them or their family, and invite a few students to share their experiences with the class. Have students read Matthew 22:36–40 and identify the two great commandments. List the commandments on the board and ask: Why do you think all of the Old Testament laws and all of the teachings of the prophets hang on these two commandments?

Read Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5. Ask:

  • Is it surprising that these two laws were first mentioned in Old Testament times? Why or why not?

  • Why is loving our neighbors important?

  • Are your neighbors only those people who live near your home?

  • Who else may be considered your neighbor?

Have students read Luke 10:25–37 and look for who else should be considered our neighbor. Ask: What can you do to show that you love others as much as you love yourself?

Encourage students to do a simple service project or show an act of kindness toward a neighbor within the next few days. Conclude by singing the hymn “Love One Another” (Hymns, no. 308).

Leviticus 25. The year of jubilee was a time when Israel was commanded to forgive the debts of others. This was symbolic to them of Christ, who would one day offer forgiveness to the repentant sinner. (10–15 minutes)

Give each student a paper with three categories listed on it: housing, transportation, and other. Have them write down the average cost for those items and then add them together to find the total. This would be their debt. Write Today is a day of jubilee on the board and ask: If the total amount calculated on your paper was your personal debt, would you want to celebrate the jubilee as observed by ancient Israel? Most students will not know how personal debt and Israel’s jubilee are related. Ask them to read Leviticus 25:10–17, 25–27, 35–37 and find out what the jubilee celebration was.

Read to students the commentary for Leviticus 25 in Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel (pp. 188–89) and ask:

  • Why would it be nice to live during a year of jubilee?

  • How would your feelings during jubilee differ if you were a creditor rather than a debtor?

  • How does the Atonement offer us “jubilee” rewards?

  • How do you feel about Jesus Christ, knowing that He paid the price for our sins?

Make a list with students of what we can do to live the spirit of the jubilee every day. Have them read Doctrine and Covenants 64:9–11 and ask them what those verses teach about our responsibilities toward this “jubilee.”

President Howard W. Hunter conveyed the spirit of the jubilee in a 1994 Christmas message. He said that because of our love for Christ and in gratitude for what He has done, “we should strive to give as He gave.” He continued with the following admonition:

“This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again” (“‘To Give of Oneself Is a Holy Gift,’ Prophet Tells Christmas Gathering,” Church News, 10 Dec. 1994, 4).

Encourage students to regularly follow President Hunter’s counsel, not just at Christmas time.

Leviticus 26. Those who are faithful to their covenants will receive great blessings, while those who break their covenants will be cursed. (15–20 minutes)

Show a copy of any simple contract to the class. Write if and then on the board and discuss the following questions:

  • What do those two words have to do with a contract?

  • Why would a contract have an “if” attached to it?

  • How would you feel if you fulfilled your part of a deal but the “then” was not fulfilled—if the other party did not keep the promises they had made under the contract?

Ask the students to consider any contracts or covenants they have made with the Lord. Read Doctrine and Covenants 82:10 and ask students how they feel about what the Lord said. Read Doctrine and Covenants 130:20–21 and ask how those verses add to our understanding. Have students mark the words if and then in Leviticus 26:3–4 and if and I also will in Leviticus 26:14, 16. Discuss what those words have in common with the message in Doctrine and Covenants 130:20–21.

Have students read Leviticus 26:3–12, 14–28 and look for the blessings or cursings that awaited Israel, depending on their righteousness. Ask:

Which of those promises is most significant to you? Why?

Which of the cursings seems most severe? Why?

Discuss the Lord’s promises to us (for example, see Mosiah 18:8–10; D&C 20:77; 76:5–10). Share your testimony that God will fulfill all of His promises if we are faithful to Him.