Lesson 3: Teach by the Spirit

"Lesson 3: Teach by the Spirit," Part G: The Teaching the Gospel Course, ()


Purpose

To help class members seek the Spirit’s guidance and teach in a way that will help others feel the influence of the Spirit.

Note to the Teacher

We learn the truths of the gospel by the power of the Holy Ghost, or the Spirit (see Moroni 10:5). The Lord described the importance of teaching by the Spirit when He said, “The Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach” (D&C 42:14). As both teachers and learners live worthy of being led by the Spirit, “both are edified and rejoice together” (see D&C 50:13–22).

Some class members—especially those with little Church experience—may feel that they are incapable of teaching by the Spirit. As you teach this lesson, help class members see that they can teach by the Spirit. Help them understand that the qualifications for teaching by the Spirit are not eloquence, education, or long experience, but prayer, diligence, reverence, and humility.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study the scripture passages in this lesson. Seek to apply them to the purpose of the lesson.

  2. 2.

    Study the section of this book titled “Teach by the Spirit”(pages 40–48).

  3. 3.

    Ask two or three class members to prepare to talk briefly about their experiences as they have sought the guidance of the Holy Ghost in their teaching. (At the end of lessons 1 and 2, class members were assigned to write in their notebooks about such experiences.)

  4. 4.

    Bring to class a pitcher of water and a transparent glass.

  5. 5.

    Before class, write the following question on the chalkboard: In our efforts to teach the gospel, what matters most?

Suggested Lesson Development

Before the opening prayer, invite class members to sing “Help Me Teach with Inspiration” (Hymns, no. 281) or another reverent hymn. Following the hymn, ask the class member offering the prayer to ask for the guidance of the Holy Ghost during the lesson.

“It is the Spirit that matters most.”

Quotation

Direct class members’ attention to the question that you have written on the chalkboard. Invite class members to think about the question without answering aloud. Then tell them that an answer to the question is found in the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:

“If there is one message I have repeated to my brethren of the Twelve, it is that it’s the Spirit that counts. It is the Spirit that matters. I do not know how often I have said this, but I never tire of saying it—it is the Spirit that matters most” (mission presidents’ seminar, 3 Apr. 1985).

Explain that we often refer to the Holy Ghost as “the Spirit.” Teaching by the Spirit is the most powerful kind of teaching because it is only through the influence of the Spirit that we can understand the things of God (see 1 Corinthians 2:11).

As we learn and teach the gospel, the Spirit will attend us in many ways.

Scripture Discussion

Emphasize that the Spirit is usually manifested quietly and simply rather than in spectacular displays of power (see 1 Kings 19:9–12). Then have class members read the scriptures listed below. Ask them to explain what each passage teaches about how the Spirit can attend our gospel teaching. Write their answers on the chalkboard.

  1. a.

    John 14:26. (Teaches us all things and brings all things to our remembrance.)

  2. b.

    John 15:26. (Testifies of Christ.)

  3. c.

    2 Nephi 33:1. (Carries the truth to our hearts.)

  4. d.

    Doctrine and Covenants 6:14–15, 22–23. (Enlightens and brings peace to our minds.)

  5. e.

    Doctrine and Covenants 11:13. (Fills our souls with joy.)

  6. f.

    Doctrine and Covenants 50:21–22. (Edifies.)

Class Member Presentation

Invite the assigned class members to talk about their experiences as they have sought the guidance of the Holy Ghost in their teaching (see “Preparation,” item 3).

There are specific things we can do to invite the Spirit.

Chalkboard discussion

  • What can we do in our teaching to invite the Spirit? (Write class members’ answers on the chalkboard. Encourage class members to write these things in their notebooks.)

If class members do not mention some items from the following list, add them to the list on the chalkboard:

  1. a.

    Pray.

  2. b.

    Teach from the scriptures.

  3. c.

    Testify.

  4. d.

    Use hymns, Primary songs, and other sacred music.

  5. e.

    Express love for others and for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

  6. f.

    Share insights, feelings, and experiences that relate to the principles in the lesson.

  • Which of these have we done in class today? Have we done anything else in class to invite the Spirit?

Notebook Activity

Ask class members to think about a teaching opportunity that they will soon have. Invite them to consider how they can use some of the suggestions written on the chalkboard as they teach. Give them a few minutes to write their ideas in their notebooks.

Our best efforts will be enough when the influence of the Spirit is present.

Object Lesson

Write Who can teach by the Spirit? on the chalkboard.

Display the pitcher of water and the glass. Explain that in this demonstration, the glass represents us as teachers of the gospel. Then fill the glass partway. Explain that the water you have poured into the glass represents our best use of our talents.

Express that we may think that we could be truly effective in our teaching if only we had more talents. However, this glass cannot be filled by our talents alone. To be truly effective teachers of the gospel, we must teach by the power of the Holy Ghost. The miracle is that no matter who we are and no matter how talented we seem to be, the best we can do will be enough when the influence of the Spirit is present. As you explain this, fill the glass to the top.

Quotation

Have a class member read the following statement by Elder Henry B. Eyring:

“It is wise to fear that our own skills are inadequate to meet the charge we have to nourish the faith of others. Our own abilities, however great, will not be enough. But that realistic view of our limitations creates a humility which can lead to dependence on the Spirit and thus to power” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 114; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 82–83).

Each of us can qualify to teach by the Spirit.

Scripture Discussion and Chalkboard

Conduct the discussion below to help class members understand how they can qualify to teach by the Spirit.

Ask a class member to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:14.

Write the following on the chalkboard:

Ask a class member to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:77–78.

  • What does the Lord promise if we diligently teach the doctrine of the kingdom? (His grace will attend us.)

Write the following on the chalkboard:

Explain that grace is an enabling power. It is divine help and strength given through the mercy and love of God. Through the Lord’s grace, we can do good works that we cannot do on our own (see Bible Dictionary, “Grace,” 697).

Have a class member read Doctrine and Covenants 100:7–8.

  • What do these verses tell us about how we should declare the gospel? (“In solemnity of heart,” and “in the spirit of meekness.”)

Explain that solemnity means reverence and dignity. Then, to help class members understand the meaning of the word meekness, read the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“Meekness implies a spirit of gratitude as opposed to an attitude of self-sufficiency, an acknowledgment of a greater power beyond oneself, a recognition of God, and an acceptance of his commandments” (“With All Thy Getting Get Understanding,” Ensign, Aug. 1988, 3–4).

  • What does the Lord promise if we teach His gospel with solemnity and meekness? (See D&C 100:8. The Holy Ghost will bear record of the principles we teach.)

Write the following on the chalkboard:

Participation

Direct class members’ attention to the principles that you have written on the chalkboard. Emphasize that as we pray in faith and teach the doctrine diligently and in solemnity and meekness, we will receive the Spirit, which will bear record of the truths we teach. Invite class members to tell about times when they or others have invited the Spirit by following these principles.

Conclusion

Summary and Quotation

Briefly summarize the lesson. Then have a class member read the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson:

“Some of you may be shy by nature or consider yourselves inadequate to respond affirmatively to a calling. Remember that this work is not yours and mine alone. It is the Lord’s work, and when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Remember that whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1996, 62; or Ensign, May 1996, 44).

Testimony

Bear testimony as prompted by the Spirit.

Assignments

Encourage class members to:

  1. 1.

    Reflect further on the ideas about teaching by the Spirit that they have written in their notebooks. Use one of these ideas in connection with an upcoming teaching opportunity.

  2. 2.

    Continue to record their progress in their notebooks.

  3. 3.

    Review the principles taught in this lesson by studying the section of this book titled “Teach by the Spirit”(pages 40–48).