Lesson 34: Teaching from the Scriptures

The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A, (2000), 263–70


The purpose of this lesson is to help us prepare to teach from the scriptures.

The Scriptures Are Our Greatest Teaching Resource

  • Display visuals 34-a, “This teacher knows that she must not only study the scriptures but must also ponder the things she has learned,” and 34-b, “This sister teaches from the scriptures, and the children have their own copies of the scriptures to refer to in class.”

President J. Reuben Clark Jr. once stated to a group of teachers in the Church: “Your essential … duty, is to teach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. … You are to teach this Gospel using as your sources and authorities the Standard Works of the Church, and the words of those whom God has called to lead His people in these last days” (The Charted Course of the Church in Education [1938], 10–11).

Knowing the scriptures and using them as we teach is the greatest teaching aid available to us.

The Lord has taught the importance of knowing and teaching the scriptures. To the Nephites during His visit after the resurrection, He said, “Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things [scriptures] diligently” (3 Nephi 23:1). He also commanded them to teach the gospel to others (see 3 Nephi 23:14). In the Doctrine and Covenants He commanded us to work hard to search the scriptures (see D&C 1:37). We should teach them faithfully because they testify and teach about Him. The scriptures teach us all things that we must do to enjoy the blessing of eternal life.

In addition to the standard works, we have the word of the Lord today through His living prophet. Words of the living prophets when “moved upon by the Holy Ghost” are also considered scripture (see D&C 68:1–4). Church manuals and magazines help us learn the words of the prophets and the other scriptures.

  • Where can we obtain the words of the living prophet?

Applying the Scriptures to Our Lives

When Lehi and his family arrived in the promised land, Nephi taught his brethren the scriptures. He taught in a way that the people could understand. He stated, “For I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning” (1 Nephi 19:23).

The scriptures teach us “the doings of the Lord in other lands, among people of old” (1 Nephi 19:22). Although they were written in the past, scriptures still have meaning for us today. Good teachers are able to apply the scriptures to modern life and show us how the events of the past can help us understand the present.

Referring to the story from the Book of Mormon of Lehi’s family and the Liahona, President Spencer W. Kimball said:

“Can you think of yourself as being Nephi who heard his father excitedly call attention to something he had found just outside the door of his tent? It was … ‘a round ball of curious workmanship,’ made ‘of fine brass,’ and none of you had ever seen anything like it before. (1 Ne. 16:10.) …

“If you … observed very carefully the workings of this unusual ball, you would note that it worked ‘according to the faith and diligence and heed’ which were given unto it concerning the way you should go. (1 Ne. 16:28.) What would you think if, upon closer examination, you noted that there were writings upon the ball that were ‘plain to be read’ and … explained the ways of the Lord? And what if the instructions were ‘changed from time to time’ as additional demands were made of the Lord and this ‘according to the faith and diligence’ which the family gave to it? (1 Ne. 16:29.) …

“The ball, or Liahona—which is interpreted to mean a compass—was prepared by the Lord especially to show unto [Lehi] the course which he should travel in the wilderness. Wouldn’t you like to have that kind of a ball—each one of you—so that whenever you were in error it would point the right way and write messages to you … so that you would always know when you were in error or in the wrong way?

“That … you all have. The Lord gave to … every person, a conscience which tells him everytime he starts to go on the wrong path. He is always told if he is listening; but people can, of course, become so used to hearing the messages that they ignore them until finally they do not register anymore.

“You must realize that you have something like the compass, like the Liahona, in your own system. Every child is given it. … If he ignores the Liahona that he has in his own makeup, he eventually may not have it whispering to him. But if we will remember that everyone of us has the thing that will direct him aright, our ship will not get on the wrong course … if we listen to the dictates of our own Liahona, which we call the conscience” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1976, 115–17; or Ensign, Nov. 1976, 77–79).

  • How did President Kimball relate the scriptures to us today?

When we know the scriptures, we can apply true principles to our lives. The following examples show how one mother taught her children from the scriptures:

At prayer time one night, four-year-old Ann announced that she did not want to say her prayers. Mother coaxed, but Ann refused to pray. Then mother told Ann the story of Daniel.

  • Have the assigned class member read Daniel 6:1–23 or tell the story in her own words.

Mother then explained that prayer was very important to Daniel. He prayed even when he thought he would die for praying. She then asked Ann, “Now that you know how important prayer is, would you like some help with your prayer?”

Another time, Ann and her sister Jennifer were quarreling loudly. Each girl claimed the same doll. Mother came to the girls and asked, “Why don’t we cut the doll in half and give you each a piece?”

“No,” Ann said, “don’t cut her in half.”

“Yes, do!” Jennifer cried.

Mother answered, “It must be Ann’s doll. Can you guess how I know?” Then she read and discussed with the girls the story found in 1 Kings 3:16–27.

Preparing to Teach the Scriptures

President Harold B. Lee stated: “I say that we need to teach our people to find their answers in the scriptures. … But the unfortunate thing is that so many of us are not reading the scriptures. We do not know what is in them, and therefore we speculate about the things that we ought to have found in the scriptures themselves. I think that therein is one of our biggest dangers of today” (“Find the Answers in the Scriptures,” Ensign, Dec. 1972, 3).

No one will force us to study the scriptures. We can find many excuses not to study them. We must plan for scripture study. (See lesson 32, “Learning the Gospel in Our Homes,” in this manual.)

  • How can we overcome obstacles to scripture study?

If we want to teach from the scriptures, we must do more than just read them without thinking.

  • Have class members read Moroni 10:3. What does Moroni tell us about learning from the scriptures?

President Marion G. Romney said:

“As I have read the scriptures, I have been challenged by the word ponder. … The dictionary says that ponder means ‘to weigh mentally, think deeply about, deliberate, meditate. …’

Pondering is, in my feeling, a form of prayer. It has, at least, been an approach to the Spirit of the Lord” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 117; or Ensign, July 1973, 90).

Once we have read and pondered the scriptures, we can ask Heavenly Father to help us know they are true through the power of the Holy Ghost, as Moroni promised. Through the guidance of the Spirit we can also find comfort and answers to problems by studying the scriptures. Experiencing these things will help us teach others.

  • Invite class members to share how studying the scriptures has blessed their lives and helped them prepare to teach.

Conclusion

In order to teach the scriptures, we must prepare by reading them often. We must ponder the material by thinking about it. We must pray with real, sincere intent. Then we must practice what we have come to know and understand through the Spirit. When we have done this, we can teach the scriptures with power.

Challenge

Mark scriptures that are especially meaningful to you. Compare the scriptures to your own life. In family home evening, at mealtime, or in other family situations, talk about scripture stories. Apply the scriptures to your life.

Additional Scriptures

Teacher Preparation

Before presenting this lesson:

  1. 1.

    Study Gospel Principles chapter 10, “Scriptures.”

  2. 2.

    Review lesson 32 in this manual, “Learning the Gospel in Our Homes.”

  3. 3.

    Assign two class members to read the following scriptures or tell in their own words the stories related in these scriptures: Daniel 6:1–23 and 1 Kings 3:16–27.

  4. 4.

    Assign class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.