26 Take a Broader Perspective

Teaching The Gospel A CES Resource for Teaching Improvement, (2000), 92–93

Note: You may want to teach this lesson after lesson 24, “Use ‘Look for’ Skills” since the content of the lessons is closely related.

Principles to Emphasize

Take a Broader Perspective

Teachers and students can “take a broader perspective” of the scriptures by synthesizing, or “taking the parts and seeing their broader meaning or relationships” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 33).

Synthesis Can Show Patterns and Principles

“Synthesis can show patterns and principles that the scriptures are meant to teach” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 33).

Suggested Training Activities: Take a Broader Perspective (30 minutes)


Invite teachers to read the section entitled “Take a Broader Perspective” (handbook, 33). Have them look for a definition of synthesis. Ask teachers:

  1. What is synthesis? (see handbook, 33).

  2. How does synthesis relate to scripture study? to scripture teaching?

  3. What are some ways to use synthesis to take a broader perspective during scripture study or scripture teaching? (see handbook, 33).


Distribute handout 24 (or display it as an overhead transparency). Explain that we can take a broader perspective within a scripture block as well as beyond a scripture block. Ask teachers to consider the following comparison: If practicing “look for” skills is looking at the specific trees in a forest, taking a broader perspective is comparing greater parts of the forest. Invite teachers to read the handout. Let teachers know that, ultimately, both skills described on the handout are intended to help us discover the principles the scriptures teach.


Distribute handout 25 and use it to demonstrate examples of scripture chains, patterns or repetition, and scriptural contrasts. Explain to teachers that these are examples of ways to help students take a broader perspective.


Show presentation 27, “Take a Broader Perspective” (9:03). Have teachers look for how Sister Thomas helps the students take a broader perspective of Malachi 3 by having them note patterns or repetition, create scripture chains, and make scriptural contrasts.

Following the video, ask teachers: How did Sister Thomas help the students take a broader perspective through noting patterns or repetition? through scripture chaining? through making scriptural contrasts?

Group Work

Distribute handout 26, and organize teachers into small groups. Invite them to take a broader perspective of Doctrine and Covenants 122 by completing the activities on the handout. After finishing the activities, invite the groups to share their discoveries with the in-service group.

Suggested Training Activities: Synthesis Can Show Patterns and Principles (20 minutes)

Note: The suggested training activities in lesson 24, “Use ‘Look for’ Skills,’” under the heading “Analysis Can Reveal Principles and Is Part of the Spirit of Inquiry” would also work well here. If you have already conducted those activities, a brief review of them may be all that is necessary here.


Separate Principles from Detail

“As you seek spiritual knowledge, search for principles. Carefully separate them from the detail used to explain them. Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances. A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and compelling circumstances. It is worth great effort to organize the truth we gather to simple statements of principle” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 117; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 86).

Explain to teachers that synthesizing by scripture chaining, noting patterns or repetition, and discovering scriptural contrasts helps us gather the “detail.” Ask: Why is it important for us to search for principles in the scriptures and “separate them from the detail used to explain them”?


Invite teachers to again read the section entitled “Take a Broader Perspective” (handbook, 33). Have teachers look for what synthesis can show. Ask: What can synthesis show?


Invite teachers to write their answers to the following question:

As I teach, how can I encourage students to take a broader perspective to “help students learn how to read and study the scriptures for themselves so that the students can feel the Spirit teaching them the important truths of the gospel”? (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 32).

Invite teachers to help students take a broader perspective in an upcoming lesson. Have them share their experience of applying what they have learned (with a colleague or in the next in-service meeting).