Sunday School Lesson 40

Lesson 40: 3 Nephi 16, 20-21

Chapter 16

Verses 8-10, especially 10: Who are the Gentiles? Look at each condition for when these things will happen. What does each mean? What, for example, does it mean in this context to sin against the gospel? What does it mean to reject its fullness? (Are those two things or one?) What does it mean to be lifted up in pride above all nations of the whole earth? When will the conditions described here occur? What does Christ mean when he says, “I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them�? (Why “bring� and not “take�?) We have been told the gospel will never be taken from the earth again. Does that mean we will never lose it? We have been promised that the Church will not be removed from the earth again. So do we have any reason to worry about the fulfillment of this scripture? If so, what reason?

Verses 11-15: What does it mean that when he brings his gospel from the Gentiles, he will give it to the house of Israel? To who among them? What would it mean for the house of Israel to go among the nations and to tread them down?

Chapter 20

Verse 23: How could Moses think to have compared himself to Christ, especially by saying “Christ will be like me�? When mentioning the prophets after Moses, the scriptures consistently say, “the prophets from Samuel and those that follow him� or something like that. Why do they omit Joshua? Why is Moses such a central character in Israelite history, so central that time seems to have been reckoned around him—“before Moses� and “after Moses�—much as we measure time around Christ?

Verse 25: What does it mean to say they are the children of the prophets?

Verses 28-29: These verses repeat the warning given in 16:8-10. Why is this warning emphasized?

Verse 38: What does it literally mean that the daughters of Jerusalem have sold themselves for naught? What does it mean figuratively? What does it literally mean that they will be redeemed without money? What does it mean figuratively?

Verse 39: What does it mean that the Lord’s people will know his name?

Chapter 21

Verse 8: What does it mean that kings will shut their mouths? What will they see that they hadn’t been told of? What will they consider that they hadn’t heard?

Verses 9-10: Is this a reference to Joseph Smith? If not, to whom does it refer?

Verse 14: What is being prophesied here? Few of us own horses anymore, and I suspect none of us has a chariot.

Verse 16: What are soothsayers? Do we find them among us in any significant numbers? What is this scripture prophesying?

Verse 17: What are our graven images today? What are the works of our hands?

Verse 18: What are the “groves� that will be removed from our cities? In ancient Israel, some pagans worshiped in sacred groves. What might be comparable?

Verse 19: What is priestcraft? Where do we find it among us today? Do we see outside of religion as well as within? Where?

Verse 25: What does it mean that the power of heaven will come down among them?

5 comments for “Sunday School Lesson 40

  1. Jonathan Green
    October 11, 2004 at 6:07 pm

    I may have missed an explanation back in the dawn of time somewhere, but I’ve been curious ever since I saw the posted lesson outlines: are these the same notes you walk into class with and teach from? If not, what is the relation between what you have here, and what you have with you in class? If this is what you use, how do you turn these notes and questions into a 35- to 45- minute lesson, generally speaking? Are you planning for some of these questions to elicit particular answers? I know I often did and do, even when posing seemingly open-ended questions, although I also know to expect a few surprises. Feel free to point me to the right place if you’ve already discussed this before.

  2. Jim F
    October 11, 2004 at 7:24 pm

    Jonathan Green: I intend these are things people can use for scripture study. When I go to class I pick out a few things and arrange a discussion around them. I never plan on covering more than a few questions.

    There are two kinds of questions here. The first are ones that I hope will make readers look at something that they’ve perhaps not seen before and think about what it means. I often, but not always, have some idea of what I think people will see by thinking about those questions. The second kind are genuinely questions that I am interested in but don’t have answers to.

  3. Bryce I
    October 11, 2004 at 8:27 pm

    Jim, I ended up substitute teaching Gospel Doctrine for my wife yesterday, and I wanted to thank you for posting your notes. While I ended up going off in quite a different direction than your questions led, they were a valuable starting point for me to organize my thoughts around.

    I actually taught lesson 37, but since there’s some discussion here, I’m posting here.

  4. Jim F.
    October 12, 2004 at 1:14 am

    Bryce, I’m always glad to hear that someone actually uses these notes. And it makes sense to me that you would go off in another direction. The notes are really only that, notes. I hope they will help people begin to think about the passages in question rather than to tell them what they are supposed to think.

  5. Bryce I
    October 12, 2004 at 10:46 am

    Jim, I should mention that ever since I discovered your notes and showed them to my wife, she makes a point of looking at them in the course of her lesson preparation. Your work is very much appreciated.

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