Category: Lesson Aids

NT Sunday School Lesson 6: Luke 4:14-32; 5; 6:12-16; Matthew 10

Before we look at some individual verses from this lesson, consider the overall structure of Luke’s narrative and think about how Luke’s story of the calling of the Twelve compares to Matthew’s. I have put in bold the parts that…

NT Sunday School Lesson 5: John 3-4

There is a tremendous amount of material in this lesson, more than I can deal with in a few pages. So I have shortened my study questions by focusing on John 3:1-10. Verse 1: The name “Nicodemus” means “conqueror,” and…

NT Sunday School Lesson 4: Matthew 3-4; John 1:35-51

Matthew 3 Verses 1-2: What function did the herald of a king serve in ancient times? Why did kings need heralds? Is John the herald of a king? Why does this King need a herald? Compare John’s message to Jesus’s…

NT Sunday School Lesson 3: Luke 2; Matthew 2

Matthew 2 Verse 1: Who were the wise men? The phrase “wise men” is a somewhat odd translation of the Greek word magoi, “astrologers.” It is because of this word that sometimes we refer to the wise men as “magi.”…

NT Sunday School Lessons: Between the Testaments

This is a sketch of the history between the fall of Israel and the New Testament. It may be helpful for understanding what is going on in the New Testament confrontations between Jesus and others and in understanding the tensions…

Sunday School Lesson 48: Zechariah 10-14, Malachi

Zechariah 1:7-6:8: We may be able to read the first six chapters of Zechariah as having a roughly chiastic structure. As with many chiasmi, however, deciding whether this is a chiasmus is a matter of judgment rather than fact. A…

Sunday School Lesson 47: Ezra 1-8; Nehemiah 1-2, 4, 6, 8

Note that the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were considered one book until well after the time of Christ. The rough chronology below will help place this week’s material in its historical context. 606 The fall of Nineveh, capital of…

Sunday School Lesson 46: Daniel 2

Verses 4-5: Why does the king make this demand on his wise men? Verses 10-12: What did it mean to be a wise man in Babylon? Why was the king angry? Why do you think that the gods of Babylon…

Sunday School Lesson 45: Daniel 1, 3, and 6; Esther 3-5, 7-8

Let me begin, once again, with a reminder that these are not intended for notes to help teachers, though they may also serve that purpose. I write them for people who want to study the lesson materials more thoroughly. So…

Sunday School Lesson 44: Ezekiel 43-44, 47

Ezekiel’s book goes back and forth between telling of the literal return from Babylon to Jerusalem in ways that we can also read to refer to the last days to speaking directly of the last days. (But when he thinks…

Lesson 43: Ezekiel 18, 34, and 37

Chronologically we turn backwards at this point. Jeremiah was the prophet in 597 B.C. when Jerusalem was finally captured and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and its people were carried into Babylon. Like Lehi, Ezekiel was a contemporary of Jeremiah, but Ezekiel…

Sunday School Lesson 42: Jeremiah 16, 23, 29, 31

As you read Jeremiah, you should do what the lesson materials for Isaiah suggested: ask how those to whom Jeremiah was speaking would have understood his prophecies, how those in the Book of Mormon (who had a record of part…

Sunday School Lesson 41: Jeremiah 1-2, 15, 20, 26, 36-38

Historical Background Like Isaiah, the book of Jeremiah is a collection of prophecies edited into a book after the fact rather than one, extended prophecy. It describes itself as a history rather than as a prophecy, though obviously it contains…

Sunday School Lesson 40: Isaiah 54-56, 63-65

As was true of the preceding several chapters, such as chapters 52-53, it is easier in these chapters for us to see their symbolic meaning than it is to see it in many of the early chapters in Isaiah. Nevertheless,…

Sunday School Lesson 39: Isaiah 50-53

These chapters are among the most beautiful in the Bible; they are an important part of Western literary culture, even for non-believers. Many scholars see the chapters as part of larger dramatic structure, a larger dramatic script as it were.…

Sunday School Lesson 38: Isaiah 40-49

These chapters begin a new section of Isaiah. The first 39 chapters focused on Judah and Israel before the exile in Babylon: the sin and iniquity of Judah and Israel. This section, chapters 40-56, focuses on Judah and Israel during…

Sunday School Lesson 37: Isaiah 22, 23, 24-26, 27, 28-30

Chapters 23 and 27 are not assigned for the lesson. Nevertheless, I have included them because I will refer to them. This week, rather than giving a list of questions to answer, I will suggest some exercises in reading that…

Sunday School Lesson 36: Isaiah 1-6

Scriptural Background The Savior tells us, “great are the words of Isaiah” (3 Nephi 23:1), and he commands us to search them diligently. (Towards the end of Book of Mormon history, Mormon repeats that command: Mormon 8:23.) Nephi tells us…

Sunday School Lesson 35: Amos 3, 7-9; Joel 2-3

Note to newcomers: These are not lesson notes. They are notes–and questions–to help people study the lesson material. Of course, as such they may also be helpful for preparing lessons, but that isn’t their primary purpose. Amos Though Amos is…

Sunday School Lesson 34: Hosea 1-3; 11; 13-14

The book of Hosea is an excellent example of a book that we often find difficult because we don’t understand “the manner of prophesying among the Jews” (2 Nephi 25.1). One of the most important of those ways of prophesying…

Sunday School Lesson 33: Jonah 1-4: Micah 2, 4-7

This is another long set of study notes. I have adapted parts of them from a set of notes that Arthur Bassett made several years ago—but don’t hold Art responsible for any mistakes you see here. They are probably mine.…

Sunday School Lesson 32: Job

Word Biblical Commentary quotes this very nice poem from W. H. Auden, “Thomas Epilogises”:   Where Job squats awkwardly upon his ashpit, Alone on his denuded battlefield, Scraping himself with blunted Occam Razors He sharpened once to shave the Absolute…

Sunday School Lesson 31: Proverbs and Ecclesiastes

I laughed when I saw what this lesson covers, “only” slightly less than 16,000 words in Proverbs and slightly more than 23,000 words in Ecclesiastes. If we have the full 40 minutes, that means we should try to cover the…

Sunday School Lesson 30: 2 Chronicles 29-30; 32; 34

As the Old Testament tells the history, Hezekiah was the 13th king after David and the 11th king of Judah: David, then Solomon, then Rehoboam (who was king at the time of the split between Judah and Israel, and became…

Sunday School Lesson 29: 2 Kngs 2, 5-6

A reminder: these are not notes for preparing a Sunday School lesson—though they may help a person do that. They are notes for studying the chapters assigned for reading. Arthur Bassett has pointed out these parallels between Elisha, on the…

Sunday School Lesson 28:1 Kings 17-19

Elijah We know from passages in the New Testament and, especially, from Latter-day revelation, that Elijah is one of the most important prophets to have lived. (In the Jewish tradition, he is second only to Moses.) Yet we know almost…

Sunday School Lesson 27: 1 Kings 12-14; 2 Chronicles 17, 20

The material of this lesson, especially that of chapters 12-13, is important to understanding the rest of Old Testament, for the eighty years that it covers details the split that occurred between the ten tribes of Israel in the north…

Sunday School Lesson 26: 1 Kings 3; 5-11

The Story This week’s lesson focuses on the construction of the first temple. Previously there had been many places for offering sacrifices and several buildings that we would call temples. But this is the first one built on the site…

How to write a revelation

I have been working on a paper looking at the Doctrine and Covenants, and my research has me thinking about how the texts of modern revelation were produced.  I think that there are a lot of Mormons who assume that…