28 "Liken" the Scriptures

Teaching The Gospel A CES Resource for Teaching Improvement, (2000), 99


Principles to Emphasize

Understand How Principles and Doctrines Apply, and Use Them

“To liken the scriptures means to understand how the principles and doctrines apply to one’s own life and to use them to become more like the Savior” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 33–34).

The Spirit Is Essential in Helping Students “Liken” the Scriptures to Themselves

“Ultimately, likening the scriptures happens when the Spirit helps the student see the importance of a principle and how it could be a blessing to him or her personally” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 34).

Note: Before we can liken a scripture to ourselves, we need to try to understand what that scripture is teaching. You may want to review with teachers the principle of searching, analyzing, and applying from lesson 18, “Decide the How,” before teaching the “liken” skill in this lesson.

Suggested Training Activities: Understand How Principles and Doctrines Apply, and Use Them (40 minutes)

Handbook

Invite teachers to read the first two sentences of the section entitled “‘Liken’ the Scriptures” (handbook, 33–34). Ask: What are the two aspects of likening the scriptures to ourselves?

Scripture Activity

Read together 3 Nephi 15:1. Ask teachers:

  1. What two questions did President Ezra Taft Benson encourage students to ask themselves while reading the scriptures?

  2. How does this relate to the two aspects of likening the scriptures that were discussed in the previous activity?

Handbook

Invite teachers to read the paragraph entitled “The intent of the inspired writer” (handbook, 22). Ask:

  1. What two questions did President Ezra Taft Benson encourage students to ask themselves while reading the scriptures?

  2. How could these questions help students liken the scriptures to themselves?

Scripture Activity

Direct teachers to a small scripture block. Invite them to ask themselves the two questions mentioned by President Ezra Taft Benson (handbook, 22) and consider how they might liken this scripture block to themselves. Have teachers share their insights with the in-service group. Suggest to teachers that they invite their students to ask themselves these two questions as they study the scriptures.

Handbook

Girl studying the scriptures

Invite teachers to read the section entitled “‘Liken’ the Scriptures” (handbook, 33–34). Ask: How can you encourage your students to liken the scriptures to themselves? (see handbook, 34)

As teachers answer the previous question, list on the board the six ways to encourage students to liken the scriptures to themselves (see the bulleted paragraphs in the handbook). Ask teachers:

  1. When have you experienced (as a teacher or as a student) the effective use of any of these six approaches to likening the scriptures to your life?

  2. What are some other ways to encourage students to liken the scriptures to themselves?

List teachers’ suggestions on the board. Then ask: How can each of these approaches help students remember the words of God and do them?

Video

Show presentation 29, “‘Liken’ the Scriptures” (8:48). Ask teachers to look for how Sister Christensen uses the original six approaches listed on the board to help her students liken the scriptures to themselves. Following the video, invite teachers to share their observations with the in-service group.

Scripture Activity

Direct teachers to the same small scripture block used in the previous scripture activity. Invite teachers to select one of the approaches listed on the board and prepare to demonstrate for the in-service group how they would use that approach to teach the assigned scripture block. Invite a few teachers to demonstrate what they prepared.

Quotation

Read together from handout 28 the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

May We Liken the Scriptures to Ourselves

“May we then do . . . what Nephi did when studying the scriptures, namely, to ‘liken all scriptures’ unto ourselves (1 Nephi 19:23). This is something that doesn’t happen often enough in the Church. We read the scriptures, but often we do not ‘liken’ them” (Jesus, the Perfect Mentor [CES fireside for young adults, 6 Feb. 2000], 1).

Bear testimony of the importance of encouraging students to liken the scriptures to themselves.

Application

Invite teachers to use in an upcoming lesson one of the approaches of encouraging students to liken the scriptures to themselves. Have teachers share their experience of applying what they have learned (with a colleague or in the next in-service meeting).

Suggested Training Activities: The Spirit Is Essential in Helping Students “Liken” the Scriptures to Themselves (10 minutes)

Handbook

Have teachers review the first paragraph of the section entitled “‘Liken’ the Scriptures” (handbook, 33–34). Ask:

  1. How does the Spirit help us liken the scriptures to ourselves?

  2. Why do you think this is ultimately a function of the Holy Ghost? (see handbook, 34).

  3. What is the role of a teacher in helping students liken the scriptures to themselves?

  4. Why do you think it is important to encourage students to liken the scriptures to themselves?

Quotation

Read together the first statement from handout 28 by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Scripture Reading Helps Us Receive Revelation

“The idea that scripture reading can lead to inspiration and revelation opens the door to the truth that a scripture is not limited to what it meant when it was written but may also include what that scripture means to a reader today. Even more, scripture reading may also lead to current revelation on whatever else the Lord wishes to communicate to the reader at that time. We do not overstate the point when we say that the scriptures can be a Urim and Thummim to assist each of us to receive personal revelation.

“Because we believe that scripture reading can help us receive revelation, we are encouraged to read the scriptures again and again. By this means, we obtain access to what our Heavenly Father would have us know and do in our personal lives today. That is one reason Latter-day Saints believe in daily scripture study” (“Scripture Reading and Revelation,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 8).

Ask teachers:

  1. How can scripture reading “lead to current revelation”?

  2. How can daily scripture study help us liken the scriptures to ourselves?

Quotation

Read together the following statement from handout 28 by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The Lord Personalizes Our Understanding of Truth

“To me, the word edified means that the Lord will personalize our understanding of truth to meet our individual needs and as we strive for that guidance” (Helping Others to Be Spiritually Led [address to religious educators at a symposium on the Doctrine and Covenants and Church history, Brigham Young University, 11 Aug. 1998], 12).

Ask teachers to think of times the Lord personalized their understanding of truth to meet their individual needs.

Quotation

Read together the second statement from handout 28 by Elder Dallin H. Oaks.

Specific Applications Are the Responsibility of Individuals

“Teachers who are commanded to teach ‘the principles of [the] gospel’ and ‘the doctrine of the kingdom’ (D&C 88:77) should generally forgo teaching specific rules or applications. For example, they would not teach any rules for determining what is a full tithing, and they would not provide a list of do’s and don’ts for keeping the Sabbath day holy. Once a teacher has taught the doctrine and the associated principles from the scriptures and the living prophets, such specific applications or rules are generally the responsibility of individuals and families.

“Well-taught doctrines and principles have a more powerful influence on behavior than rules. When we teachgospel doctrine and principles, we can qualify for the witness and guidance of the Spirit to reinforce our teaching, and we enlist the faith of our students in seeking the guidance of that same Spirit in applying those teachings in their personal lives” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1999, 102; or Ensign, Nov. 1999, 79–80).

Bear testimony of the Spirit’s role in helping students liken the scriptures to themselves.

Application

Invite teachers to write their answer to the following question:

As I teach, how can I encourage students to liken the scriptures 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 encourage their students to liken the scriptures to themselves in an upcoming lesson. Have teachers share their experience of applying what they have learned (with a colleague or in the next in-service meeting).