Lesson 34

“Keep the Ordinances, As I Delivered Them”

“Lesson 34: ‘Keep the Ordinances, As I Delivered Them’” New Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual (2002), 141–45


To help class members recognize the importance of living according to the doctrines of the gospel and receiving priesthood ordinances.


  1. Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. 1 Corinthians 11:1–3, 11–12. Paul teaches of husbands’ and wives’ relationships with each other and with the Lord.

    2. 1 Corinthians 11:17–29. Paul teaches that the sacrament is an emblem of the Savior’s sacrifice and should be partaken of in remembrance of Him.

    3. 1 Corinthians 12–14. Paul teaches that there are many spiritual gifts and that they are all important to the Church. He teaches that charity is more important than any other gift or quality. He teaches that spiritual gifts should be used for the benefit of all.

    4. 1 Corinthians 15. Paul teaches that because of Jesus Christ, we will be resurrected. He also speaks of baptism for the dead and of the three degrees of glory.

  2. Additional reading: 3 Nephi 18:1–14; Moroni 7:44–48; 10:8–18; Doctrine and Covenants 46:1–26; 76:50–119; 88:27–32, 95–102.

  3. If the following pictures are available, use some of them during the lesson to illustrate charity: Waiting Our Turn (62316); Sharing the Tricycle (62317); Family Fun (62384); Administering to the Sick (62342; Gospel Art Picture Kit 613); Home Teaching (Gospel Art Picture Kit 614); Serving One Another (Gospel Art Picture Kit 615).

  4. Suggestion for teaching: To teach the gospel effectively, teachers need the gift of an understanding heart. To better understand class members’ needs, teachers should have charity and be guided by the Holy Spirit. Teachers should prayerfully consider the needs of each class member and how to help meet those needs. (See Teaching, No Greater Call [36123], pages 12–13, 31–39, 92, 98–99, 102.)

Suggested Lesson Development

Attention Activity

As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

Ask class members if they know what a railroad switch point is. Draw one on the chalkboard (as shown on the next page), and explain that a switch point is a location on a railroad track where a train can be switched from one track to another.

railroad track switch

Share the following experience related by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley:

“Many years ago I worked in the head office of one of our railroads. One day I received a telephone call from my counterpart in Newark, New Jersey, who said that a passenger train had arrived without its baggage car. The patrons were angry.

“We discovered that the train had been properly made up in Oakland, California, and properly delivered to St. Louis, from which station it was to be carried to its destination on the east coast. But in the St. Louis yards, a thoughtless switchman had moved a piece of steel just three inches. That piece of steel was a switch point, and the car that should have been in Newark, New Jersey, was in New Orleans, Louisiana, thirteen hundred miles away” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1972, 106–7; or Ensign, Jan. 1973, 91).

When you finish the story, refer to the railroad switch point on the chalkboard and ask the following questions:

  • How could such a seemingly small change have such a significant effect on the location of the train? What are some potential switch points in our lives? (Answers may include events, decisions, new knowledge, or anything that changes the direction of our life. Switch points can be negative if they lead us from the truth or positive if they put us back on the right track.)

The last chapters of Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians address four doctrinal switch points where the Corinthians had departed from the truth. Explain that as we study Paul’s teachings in these chapters, we can strengthen our commitment to follow the path of righteousness that will lead to our Father in Heaven.

Scripture Discussion and Application

As you teach the following scripture accounts, discuss how they apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

1. Husbands’ and wives’ relationships with each other and with the Lord

Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 11:1–3, 11–12.

  • What three relationships does Paul speak of in 1 Corinthians 11:3? Why do you think Paul included all of these relationships together? What qualities exist in the relationship between Jesus Christ and his Father? (See John 5:20; 8:29; 17:21–22.) How can we develop these qualities in our relationship with Jesus Christ? How can husbands and wives develop these qualities in their relationship?

  • What does it mean that “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord”? (1 Corinthians 11:11). Why is the relationship of husband and wife so important in the kingdom of God? What does this teach us about how husbands and wives should treat each other?

    President Marion G. Romney taught: “[A husband and wife] should be one in harmony, respect, and mutual consideration. Neither should plan or follow an independent course of action. They should consult, pray, and decide together. … Remember that neither the wife nor the husband is the slave of the other. Husbands and wives are equal partners” (“In the Image of God,” Ensign, Mar. 1978, 2, 4).

If you used the attention activity, discuss how these relationships can act as positive or negative switch points in our lives.

2. The purpose of the sacrament

Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 11:17–29. Explain that many of the Saints in Corinth were not observing the purpose of the sacrament service. Instead of focusing on the sacrament ordinance, they were contending with each other and eating and drinking to excess (1 Corinthians 11:18–22).

  • What is the primary purpose of sacrament meeting? (See 1 Corinthians 11:20, footnote 20b, which provides the Joseph Smith Translation of this verse: “Is it not to eat the Lord’s supper?”)

    Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught: “With so very much at stake, [the sacrament] should be taken more seriously than it sometimes is. It should be a powerful, reverent, reflective moment. It should encourage spiritual feelings and impressions. As such it should not be rushed. It is not something to ‘get over’ so that the real purpose of a sacrament meeting can be pursued. This is the real purpose of the meeting” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 89; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 68).

  • According to Paul, what are the purposes of the sacrament? (See 1 Corinthians 11:23–26; see also Luke 22:19–20.) How can we better keep our minds and hearts focused on Jesus as we partake of the sacrament?

  • What did Paul teach about the importance of partaking of the sacrament worthily? (See 1 Corinthians 11:27–29.) What does it mean to partake of the sacrament unworthily? Why is examining our worthiness an important part of the sacrament?

  • How has partaking of the sacrament blessed you? How can we make this ordinance more meaningful in our lives?

If you used the attention activity, discuss how our attitude toward the sacrament can be a switch point in our lives.

3. The importance of all spiritual gifts

Discuss 1 Corinthians 12–14. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud. Explain that Paul’s letter suggests that the Saints in Corinth may have placed too much importance on the gift of tongues (1 Corinthians 14:2–14, 27–28). In chapters 12–14, Paul explains that all the gifts of the Spirit are important, but that the Saints should seek gifts that will be for the benefit of all.

  • What are spiritual gifts? (Spiritual blessings or abilities given through the Holy Ghost. See 1 Corinthians 12:7–11; D&C 46:11.) Why does God give spiritual gifts? (See D&C 46:26.)

  • What gifts of the Spirit have you experienced or observed? (You may want to list and discuss some of the spiritual gifts as revealed in 1 Corinthians 12:8–10, Moroni 10:8–17, and D&C 46:13–25.) How have these gifts blessed you or others?

  • Why do you think Paul compared the members of the Church to different parts of the body? (1 Corinthians 12:12–25. To show that each member is important to the other members and to the Church as a whole.) How can we apply this comparison to the different gifts of the Spirit?

  • The scriptures counsel us to seek spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31; D&C 46:8). What should be our reasons for seeking spiritual gifts? (See 1 Corinthians 14:12; D&C 46:9. If necessary, explain that to edify is to build up, instruct, improve, and enlighten.)

  • What did Paul teach is the greatest of all spiritual gifts? (See 1 Corinthians 13. Define each of the attributes of charity mentioned in verses 4–7, and discuss how we can apply them in our lives. You may want to list the attributes on the chalkboard.) Why is charity more important than any other spiritual gift? (See 1 Corinthians 13:1–3, 8–13.)

  • How have you been blessed by another person who has shown charity toward you? How can we develop greater charity? (See Moroni 7:44–48.)

If you used the attention activity, discuss how charity can act as a switch point in our lives.

4. The Resurrection and the degrees of glory

Read and discuss selected verses from 1 Corinthians 15. Explain that many of the Corinthians had begun to dispute the reality of the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12).

  • What witnesses of the Resurrection did Paul cite? (See 1 Corinthians 15:5–8.) Why do you think Paul cited so many witnesses of the Resurrection? (See 2 Corinthians 13:1.) Why are witnesses of the Resurrection important to you?

  • What did Paul teach about the relationship between the Fall of Adam and the Resurrection? (See 1 Corinthians 15:20–23.)

  • How did Paul use the doctrine of baptism for the dead to teach about the Resurrection? (See 1 Corinthians 15:29. The ordinance of baptism for the dead would be meaningless without the Resurrection.)

  • What did Paul teach about the kingdoms of glory? (See 1 Corinthians 15:35–44. We are resurrected into different kingdoms of glory—celestial, terrestrial, or telestial. See also D&C 88:27–32.) How does your knowledge of the Resurrection and the kingdoms of glory influence the way you live?


Testify of the importance of following the doctrines that will lead us back to our Father in Heaven. If you used the attention activity, invite class members to examine their own lives for switch points—attitudes and actions that, if followed, could change the direction of their lives. Encourage them to choose directions that will affect their lives positively.

Additional Teaching Ideas

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or both of these ideas as part of the lesson.

1. “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33)

Have class members read 1 Corinthians 14:33. Then ask the following questions:

  • What are some subjects about which there is much confusion and contention in the world? Why do you think there is so much confusion in the world? How is God the “author … of peace”?

2. Youth activity

Before class, think of several situations in the daily lives of youth in which they have the opportunity to show charity (for example, seeing a person who needs help at school, disagreeing with a brother or sister, or having a friend who is feeling lonely or unappreciated). Present these situations to the youth, and ask how they could use the attributes of charity, as taught by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, to improve the situation.