“The Godhead,” Doctrinal Mastery New Testament Teacher Material (2016)
“The Godhead,” Doctrinal Mastery New Testament Teacher Material
Note: The following doctrinal mastery activities could be done over the course of several class sessions or in a single class session.
Explain that as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are blessed with a clear understanding of the roles of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
After sufficient time, invite several students to report to the class what they discussed in their groups.
Ask students to turn to doctrinal topic 1, “The Godhead,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Then ask:
What verse is used to teach the doctrine that God is the Father of our spirits? (Hebrews 12:9.)
Invite students to turn to Hebrews 12:9. Explain that this verse contains instruction from the Apostle Paul to Church members in his day who were Jews. Paul sought to help Church members understand how to respond to God’s chastening, or correction and instruction (see Hebrews 12:7, footnote b).
Invite a student to read Hebrews 12:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a title Paul used to refer to God.
What title did Paul use to refer to God?
Invite students to consider writing the following truth in their scriptures next to Hebrews 12:9: God is the Father of our spirits. Because it is a doctrinal mastery passage, you may want to suggest that they mark Hebrews 12:9 in a distinctive way so they will be able to locate it easily.
Read Hebrews 12:9 aloud together as a class. Ask students to state the doctrine about God that we learn from this verse.
To help students further understand the doctrine that God is the Father of our spirits, invite several students to take turns reading aloud paragraphs from the following statement from the Gospel Topics section of LDS.org. (If possible, you may want to show students how to navigate to Gospel Topics so they know how to locate this statement on their own.)
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that all human beings, male and female, are beloved spirit children of heavenly parents, a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother. …
“Latter-day Saints direct their worship to Heavenly Father, in the name of Christ, and do not pray to Heavenly Mother. In this, they follow the pattern set by Jesus Christ, who taught His disciples to ‘always pray unto the Father in my name’ [3 Nephi 18:19–21]. Latter-day Saints are taught to pray to Heavenly Father, but as President Gordon B. Hinckley said, ‘The fact that we do not pray to our Mother in Heaven in no way belittles or denigrates her’ [“Daughters of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 100].
“As with many other truths of the gospel, our present knowledge about a Mother in Heaven is limited. Nevertheless, we have been given sufficient knowledge to appreciate the sacredness of this doctrine and to comprehend the divine pattern established for us as children of heavenly parents” (Gospel Topics, “Mother in Heaven,” lds.org/topics).
Why is it helpful to understand that we have both a Father and a Mother in Heaven?
After sufficient time, invite one or two students who are comfortable doing so to share what they wrote.
You might consider using a few minutes at the beginning of the next few lessons, perhaps as part of the class devotional, to have additional students share what they wrote in this activity. If you do so, invite the first student who shares to read Hebrews 12:9 aloud and restate the doctrine that God is the Father of our spirits. Repeating this passage and doctrine can help students remember this truth.
Ask students to turn to the “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” section in their copy of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Review the meaning of the three principles: act in faith, examine concepts and questions with an eternal perspective, and seek further understanding through divinely appointed sources.
After sufficient time, invite several students to report what they discussed in their groups.
You may want to conclude by testifying that God is the Father of our spirits and that He loves and cares for each of us as His children. Invite students to always remember that they are children of God.
List on the board each of the New Testament doctrinal mastery passages students have learned so far during this course of study. Assign each student a different doctrinal mastery passage. Instruct students to write a scenario or description of a situation on a piece of paper in which the principles and truths contained in their assigned doctrinal mastery passage could be applied.
After students have finished, collect their written scenarios. Read a scenario aloud, and invite students to identify a doctrinal mastery passage that could be helpful in responding to that scenario. Follow up by inviting them to explain how the truths taught in the doctrinal mastery passages they identified could be applied in the scenario. Repeat the activity by reading aloud other scenarios. You could also present some of the scenarios at the beginning or end of the lessons during the coming week.