29 Develop Scripture Mastery

Teaching The Gospel A CES Resource for Teaching Improvement, (2000), 103–104


Principle to Emphasize

“Scripture mastery means being able to find certain basic scripture verses, to understand what they mean, and to apply them in daily life” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 35).

Suggested Training Activities (50 minutes)

Handbook

Have teachers carefully read the first paragraph of the section entitled “Develop Scripture Mastery” (handbook, 34–35). Ask:

  1. What is the purpose of scripture mastery? (see handbook, 35).

  2. Why is it so important that students be able to use the basic scriptures outside of class?

  3. How can you help your students learn the scripture mastery verses well enough to use them outside of class?

Quotation

Share the following statement by Bishop Henry B. Eyring, then a member of the Presiding Bishopric:

The Feelings Come Back

“One of my early memories is reading the scriptures in a school room. . . . One student, a different one each school day, read verses he or she had chosen from the Bible. . . . “So about every twenty-five school days, my turn came to choose the scripture. I always chose the same one [1 Corinthians 13:1–2], so my classmates must have known what was coming when it was my day. I don’t remember when I first heard the words; that is lost in the mists of childhood. But I can recite them to you now, and with them the feelings come back. It happened every time, and it still does” (“Come unto Christ,” in Brigham Young University 1989–90 Devotional and Fireside Speeches [1990], 37).

Ask teachers:

  1. What does Bishop Eyring’s experience teach us about remembering scripture passages?

  2. How does this relate to scripture mastery?

Scripture Activity

Share with teachers a scripture passage that has had an impact on your life. Explain to teachers that we remember scripture passages that have meaning for us and have had an impact on us. Read together Joseph Smith—History 1:11–12, 26. Ask teachers:

  1. Why did Joseph Smith remember James 1:5 years later?

  2. What scripture passages do you remember?

  3. Why do you remember these passages?

  4. As we strive to teach the scripture mastery verses, what will help students remember them?

  5. How does this apply to remembering other passages beyond the basic scripture mastery verses?

Handbook

Have teachers read the first and second numbered paragraphs in the section entitled “Develop Scripture Mastery” (handbook, 35). Ask:

  1. What are three of the elements that indicate a student has “mastered” a scripture? (see handbook, 35).

  2. What is the key to helping students master these scriptures? (see handbook, 35).

Write the following chart on the board:

Developing Scripture Mastery

Ask teachers:

  1. What are some ways we can help students practice finding scripture mastery verses? (see handbook, 35).

  2. What other ways have helped your students?

  3. What are some ways we can help students understand the meaning of scripture mastery verses?

  4. What are some ways we can help students apply scripture mastery verses to their lives? (see handbook, 35).

List teachers’ answers on the board in the appropriate columns. Explain to teachers that many scripture mastery activities focus only on finding the scripture verses. Explain that teachers should also help students understand the meaning of the verses and encourage students to apply the verses to their lives.

Video

Show presentation 30, “Develop Scripture Mastery” (4:20). In this presentation, Sister Harris helps students become familiar with the basic scripture mastery passages. Invite teachers to look for how Sister Harris helps students find, understand, and apply the passages.

Group Work

Separate teachers into small groups of four or fewer. Assign each group a scripture mastery passage from this year’s curriculum. Have the groups demonstrate for the in-service group (1) a way to help students find the passage, (2) a way to help students understand the meaning of the passage, and (3) a way to help students apply the passage to their lives.

Share your feelings about the importance of helping students find, understand, and apply the scripture mastery verses so the verses will have meaning for them and they will remember these scriptures throughout their lives.

Handbook

Have teachers read the third and fourth numbered paragraphs in the section entitled “Develop Scripture Mastery” (handbook, 35). Ask:

  1. What is the value of scripture memorization? (see handbook, 35).

  2. What are the dangers of using competition to develop scripture mastery? (see handbook, 35).

  3. What are some noncompetitive ways to develop scripture mastery? (see handbook, 35).

Application

Invite teachers to write their answer to the following question:

As I teach, how can I use scripture mastery 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).

Encourage teachers to not only help students find scripture mastery passages, but also help them in an upcoming lesson to understand the meaning of the passages and apply them to their lives. Have teachers share their experience of applying what they have learned (with a colleague or in the next in-service meeting).