27 Summarize the Scriptures

Teaching The Gospel A CES Resource for Teaching Improvement, (2000), 97

Principle to Emphasize

“Teachers will not have time to teach everything in a scripture block with equal emphasis. . . . Summarizing means to tell in a few words, or briefly teach, what is contained in chapters or verses that are not emphasized in class” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 33).

Suggested Training Activities (50 minutes)


Describe the following dilemma to teachers: Religious educators are to teach the standard works block-by-block, in the sequence they appear, addressing multiple concepts and principles while considering the intent of the inspired writer and the needs and abilities of students—all in a limited amount of time! Ask teachers: From your experience, what usually happens in a scripture course when this dilemma is not successfully resolved? Explain that summarizing the scriptures is one way to resolve this dilemma.


Invite teachers to carefully read the section entitled “Summarize the Scriptures” (handbook, 33). Ask:

  1. Why is it sometimes necessary to summarize the scriptures? (see handbook, 33).

  2. What does “summarizing” a scripture entail? (see handbook, 33).

  3. How does summarizing relate to scripture teaching?

  4. What are some ways to summarize blocks of scripture?


Show presentation 28, “Summarize the Scriptures” (6:32). Invite teachers to look for how summarizing is used in Sister Stewart’s class to teach the book of Job. Following the video, ask teachers:

  1. In what three ways were the scriptures summarized in Sister Stewart’s class?

  2. How did her students participate in summarizing the scriptures?

Writing Exercise

Distribute handout 27. Ask teachers to practice summarizing the scriptures by completing the exercises on the handout. Invite teachers to share their answers with the in-service group.


Invite teachers to write their answers to the following question:

As I teach, how can I summarize the scriptures in a way that will “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).

Share your feelings about the importance of summarizing the scriptures in effective sequential scripture teaching. Invite teachers to use one or more of the following approaches to summarizing the scriptures in an upcoming lesson: (1) use chapter or section headings, (2) use CES-prepared curriculum materials, or (3) generate summary statements. Have teachers share their experience of applying what they have learned (with a colleague or in the next in-service meeting).