Lesson 1

Matthew 1–2; Luke 1–2; John 1:1–18; 17:1–5


The following assignments include various learning activities, such as questions, lists, essays, charts, comparisons, contrasts, and surveys. To receive credit for this lesson, you must complete the number of assignments indicated below and submit them to your institute instructor or administrator. You may submit your work either electronically or on paper, handwritten or typed.

Each lesson should take approximately 60–90 minutes to complete, the same amount of time you would typically spend in a weekly institute class. Since reading the scripture block listed in the lesson heading is expected of all institute students prior to class, the estimated time for each assignment does not include the time you need to spend reading the scripture block.

Complete assignments 1, 4, and one other assignment:

1.   Introduction to the Gospels

Read the Bible Dictionary entries listed in the next column, marking important information that helps you better understand the four Gospels. Write two or three sentences about each entry summarizing what you learn:

In the Bible Dictionary study the entry entitled “Gospels, Harmony of” (pp. 684–96). Divide your harmony of the Gospels into the four following time periods by highlighting in your scriptures:

  • “First Passover” (p. 685)
  • “Second Passover (brief trip to Judaea)” (p. 688)
  • “Passover: Return of the Twelve,” which is the third Passover (p. 689)
  • “To Jerusalem for Passover,” which is final Passover (p. 693)

Then fill in the chart below by finding the items listed in the first column in your “Harmony of the Gospels” and listing the locations where these events took place, the scripture references that contain these accounts, and any latter-day scriptures that reveal more about these events. From your list, choose three events that have multiple authors writing about that event. Read each of the different accounts and list how they add to the overall history of the event:

Explain in writing how this section about the harmony of the Gospels could be helpful in your study of the life and ministry of the Savior.

2.   John 1:1–14; 17:1–5. The Premortal and Mortal Savior

Search John 1:1–14; 17:1–5 and ponder the doctrinal connect between the two references. List at least five truths you learn about the premortal Jesus Christ and five truths you learn about His mortal life. Learn more about the following names or titles of the Savior. Use the Bible Dictionary and the institute student manual commentary for John 1:1, “How Is Jesus the Word of God?” (p. 15) and the commentary for “What Is the Meaning of the Titles ‘Christ,’ ‘Messiah,’ and ‘Jehovah’?” (p. 18). Write one or two sentences about the meaning of each title:

  • Christ
  • Messiah
  • Jehovah
  • Immanuel
  • The Word

3.   Luke 1:5–80. The Birth of John the Baptist

Read Luke 1:14 and write what Zacharias was told about the birth of his son, John the Baptist. Study Luke 1:5–25, 39–45, 56–80 and the Bible Dictionary entry, “John the Baptist” (pp. 714–15). Write a paragraph summarizing the reasons many people would rejoice over John the Baptist’s birth and mission.

4.   Matthew 1–2; Luke 1–2. The Birth of Jesus Christ

Study Matthew 1–2 and the student manual commentary for Matthew 1:18–25, “Mary Was Espoused to Joseph” (pp. 22–23). Respond in writing to the following questions:

  • What did Joseph initially want to do when he found out Mary was with child?
  • What did Joseph decide to do after the visit of the angel in his dream? What does this suggest about Joseph’s character?
  • How many times in these chapters was Joseph guided by the Lord in a dream? What does this suggest about Joseph’s spiritual sensitivity?
  • Although Joseph was not the literal father of Jesus, he was a righteous man entrusted by Heavenly Father to be a guardian to His Son in mortality. Write about at least two qualities Joseph demonstrated that you think you could develop to help you prepare to be a good parent.

How is Mary referred to in Luke 1:28? From the account in Luke 1:26–56 make a list of Mary’s qualities that you think distinguish her as one who would be “favoured” by God with the special mission of being the mother of the mortal Messiah. Write a paragraph about one of Mary’s qualities you want to develop more fully and what difference it would make in your life.

Matthew 1:1–17; Luke 3:23–38 contain genealogies of Jesus Christ. In the student manual, read the commentary for Matthew 1:17; Luke 3:23–28, “Jesus Descended from Kings” (p. 22). Write a statement about the possible significance of the genealogy of Jesus Christ and why the two accounts are slightly different.

Read the student manual Points to Ponder, “Jesus Was the First Begotten in the Spirit and the Only Begotten in the Flesh” (p. 16) and “Because God Was His Father, Jesus Had Power Over Life and Death” (p. 24). Read John 10:17–18; Mosiah 3:7. Then write a paragraph explaining why it was necessary for Jesus Christ to have an immortal Father and a mortal mother.

Study Luke 2:1–16 and complete the following assignments:

  • Write six questions that cover what you think are the most important details of the Savior’s birth. In parentheses after each question, write the correct answer and the verse where the answer can be found.
  • List five phrases from Luke 2:1–16 that you think would be good titles for a talk about Jesus Christ at Christmastime.

5.   Luke 1:39–45; 2:8–38; Matthew 2:1–18. Others Who Learned of the Birth of Jesus Christ

  • Fill in the chart below as you study the scriptures indicated:

Write a response to the question: What do I know about the Savior, how have I learned it, and what am I doing with what I know?

6.   Luke 2:40–52; JST, Matthew 3:24–26. The Childhood of Jesus Christ

Study Luke 2:40–52; Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 3:24–26; Doctrine and Covenants 93:12–14; student manual Points to Ponder, “Jesus Had to Overcome the Veil” (pp. 24–25) and “As a Child, Jesus Sought to Learn from His Father” (pp. 25–26). Then write an essay about what you learned from the childhood of Jesus Christ that can help you in your personal growth and development.