2 Edifying Teaching

Teaching The Gospel A CES Resource for Teaching Improvement, (2000), 11

Principle to Emphasize

“Gospel teaching has to do with edification. . . . To edify means to build up spiritually or to bring one closer to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 2).

Suggested Training Activities (50 minutes)


Invite teachers to carefully read the second paragraph under “How It Is Taught” (handbook, 2) and look for what it means to edify. On the board write: To edify is to __________ or to ________. Invite teachers to provide a brief definition of edify by filling in the blanks.

Scripture Activity

Read Romans 14:19 together. Ask teachers: What “things” do you think a religious educator must “follow after” to be able to teach in an edifying way?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 50:10–26 and look for what is taught about edification. Ask teachers:

  1. What do these verses teach about edification?

  2. What will students experience if they are being edified?

  3. How might a teacher know if edification has taken place?

  4. Might some in a class be edified and others not? Why?

  5. Will a teacher always know who has been edified? Why or why not?


Invite teachers to individually or in pairs review one of the bulleted principles of edification identified on pages 2–3 of the handbook. As part of the review, invite teachers to read the scripture passages noted in parentheses and look for further insight about their assigned principle. Have them report their findings to the in-service group.


Examine and discuss principles of edification in light of each of the following relationships:

  1. Teacher and student

  2. Teacher and parent

  3. Teacher and priesthood leader

  4. Student and student

  5. Student and parent

  6. Student and priesthood leader

Writing Exercise

Distribute handout 2. Choose one or more of the following examples of religious education and invite teachers to look for how principles of edification are illustrated in the examples. Have them write their answers in the chart on the handout.

  1. Read John 3:1–21 or show presentation 2, “‘Heavenly Things’” (8:46). (You may have already shown this presentation as part of lesson 1, “Religious and Secular Education Differ.”) Discuss the way Jesus taught Nicodemus.

  2. Read John 4:1–30 or show presentation 9, “The Woman at the Well” (7:18). Discuss the way Jesus taught the woman of Samaria.

  3. Read Luke 15:11–32 and discuss the way Jesus presented the parable of the prodigal son.

  4. Read Alma 18 and discuss the way Ammon taught King Lamoni.

Ask teachers to discuss their findings with the in-service group.


Read together the last paragraph in the “Religious Education” section (handbook, 3). Ask teachers:

  1. How does a teacher’s violation of principles of edification affect religious education? Why? (see handbook, 3).

  2. How does a student’s violation of principles of edification affect religious education? Why? (see handbook, 3).


Invite teachers to determine which principle of edification on pages 2–3 of the handbook they would like to better implement in their teaching. Ask them to write down what efforts they will make to improve. Have teachers share their experience of applying what they have learned (with a colleague or in the next in-service meeting).