Lesson 6

Heavenly Father Commands Nephi to Build a Ship

“Lesson 6: Heavenly Father Commands Nephi to Build a Ship,” Primary 4: Book of Mormon (1997), 19–21


To help the children want to be good examples and have a spiritual influence on their families by obeying Heavenly Father’s commandments.


  1. Prayerfully study 1 Nephi 17. Then study the lesson and decide how you want to teach the children the scripture account. (See “Preparing Your Lessons,”> p. vi, and “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii.)

  2. Select the discussion questions and enrichment activities that will involve the children and best help them achieve the purpose of the lesson.

  3. Materials needed:

    1. A Book of Mormon for each child.

    2. A pencil and a piece of paper for each child.

    3. Pictures 4-17, Nephi Melts Ore and Makes Tools, and 4-18, Nephi Subdues His Rebellious Brothers (Gospel Art Picture Kit 303; 62044).

Suggested Lesson Development

Invite a child to give the opening prayer.

Attention Activity

Invite a class member to review the story from last week’s lesson of Nephi’s broken bow and how Nephi obtained food for his family (see 1 Nephi 16:17–32).

Show a picture of a ship, or give each child a piece of paper and a pencil and have them quickly draw a picture of a ship. Then ask them some of the following questions:

  • What materials do you think you would need to build a ship large and strong enough to carry you and your family across the ocean?

  • What kind of help would you need?

  • Where could you go to learn how to build a ship?

Explain to the children that they are going to learn how Heavenly Father helped Nephi build a ship.

Scripture Account

Teach the account from 1 Nephi 17 of Nephi and his brothers preparing to build a ship. (For suggested ways to teach the scripture account, see “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii.) Use the pictures at appropriate times. (You might have the children identify the people in each picture and tell what they are doing.)

Discussion and Application Questions

Study the following questions and the scripture references as you prepare your lesson. Use the questions you feel will best help the children understand the scriptures and apply the principles in their lives. Reading the references with the children in class will help them gain insights into the scriptures.

  • What does the Lord promise if we obey his commandments? (1 Nephi 17:3.) How have you and your family been blessed because of your obedience?

  • Why did the Lord command Nephi to build a ship? (1 Nephi 17:8.) How did Nephi respond to this command? (1 Nephi 17:9.) What gave Nephi such great confidence? (1 Nephi 17:14–15.)

  • Why do you think the Lord did not just give them a ship?

  • Why did Laman and Lemuel not want to help Nephi build a ship? (1 Nephi 17:17–19, 45–46.) How would working together make building the ship easier?

  • How would you feel if your older brothers made fun of you because you were keeping Heavenly Father’s commandments? How have you been able to help your family? How have you felt when you have helped your family or have not helped your family?

  • What did Heavenly Father give Nephi power to do when his brothers tried to kill him? (1 Nephi 17:48, 54.)

  • How did Nephi show his faith in Jesus Christ? (1 Nephi 17:50–51.) How can you be like Nephi and show courage and faith in Jesus Christ?

Enrichment Activities

You may use one or more of the following activities any time during the lesson or as a review, summary, or challenge.

  1. Divide the class into two groups. Ask them to listen for what the Lord promises when we are obedient as one group reads 1 Nephi 17:3 in unison and then the other group reads 1 Nephi 3:7 in unison. Help the children understand that they will be blessed if they keep the commandments and ask Heavenly Father for guidance.

  2. Help the children memorize 1 Nephi 17:3, beginning with “And if it so be” and ending with “he has commanded them.” They could also memorize 1 Nephi 17:50: “If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them.”

  3. Place a jar with a lid on it on a table, and ask a child to try to open the jar using only one hand. (Have the child put the other hand behind his or her back.) After a few attempts, ask another child to help using only one hand. Explain that tasks are usually easier to do when we work together. Discuss family goals, such as having regular family home evenings, family prayer, and family scripture study, and ask how children can help the family achieve these goals.

  4. Distribute paper and pencils, and ask class members to list things they could do to help their families learn the gospel and keep the commandments, such as encourage daily scripture study, participate willingly in family prayer, help organize and participate in family home evening, obey their parents, help keep their homes neat and clean, pray for family members, show love and kindness to each other, share what they have learned in Primary, and so on. Have them choose one thing they would like to work on improving during the coming week.

  5. List on the chalkboard the similarities between Lehi and his family’s journey and the children of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness (see 1 Nephi 17:22–46). Ask the children what we can learn from these experiences.

  6. Sing or read the words to “Nephi’s Courage” (Children’s Songbook, p. 120), “Keep the Commandments” (Children’s Songbook, p. 146), or “Choose the Right Way” (Children’s Songbook, p. 160).



Testify that each child can set a good example in his or her family. Point out that we and our families are blessed when we keep the commandments.

Suggested Family Sharing

Encourage the children to share with their families a specific part of the lesson, such as a story, question, or activity, or to read with their families the “Suggested Home Reading.”

Suggested Home Reading

Suggest that the children study 1 Nephi 17:3–22, 45–55 at home as a review of this lesson.

Invite a child to give the closing prayer.