“Unit 11, Day 1: Luke 10:38–12:59,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 11, Day 1,” New Testament Study Guide
The Savior taught Mary and Martha in Martha’s home. Later, He taught many truths to His disciples about prayer and warned against hypocrisy and covetousness.
- In your scripture study journal, list as many of the choices you made yesterday as you can in one minute. Once you are finished, take a look at the entire list, and mark some of the good choices you made. What are some situations in which we might have to decide between two good choices?
As you study Luke 10:38–42, look for a principle the Savior taught that can guide you in your decisions—particularly when you must decide between several good choices.
While He was in Judea, Jesus traveled to Bethany, a short distance from Jerusalem, and visited the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
Read Luke 10:38–40, looking for what Mary and Martha each chose to do while the Savior was in the home.
In Jesus’s day, hospitality was very important. Martha was trying to do what would normally have been expected of her as the hostess. She was focused on temporal, or physical, concerns such as preparing and serving the meal.
Notice in Luke 10:40 that Martha felt “cumbered,” or burdened, and she wanted Mary to help her.
Read Luke 10:41–42, looking for the Savior’s response to Martha.
What might the Savior have meant when He said, “One thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part” (Luke 10:42)?
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “It was praiseworthy for Martha to be ‘careful and troubled about many things’ [Luke 10:41], but learning the gospel from the Master Teacher was more ‘needful’” (“Good, Better, Best,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 104).
When the Savior said that the “good part” that Mary had chosen would “not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42), He may have been indicating that by choosing to listen to the Savior rather than choosing to focus on temporal, or worldly, concerns, Mary would receive spiritual blessings, which are everlasting.
One principle we can learn from the Savior’s words to Martha is that if we choose to devote ourselves to spiritual matters over temporal concerns, then we will receive lasting blessings.
In the space provided, write a few examples of situations where a person might choose to devote himself or herself to spiritual matters over other good but less important issues, concerns, or activities:
Elder Oaks also taught:
“As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best. …
“Consider how we use our time in the choices we make in viewing television, playing video games, surfing the Internet, or reading books or magazines. Of course it is good to view wholesome entertainment or to obtain interesting information. But not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best. When the Lord told us to seek learning, He said, ‘Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom’ (D&C 88:118; emphasis added). …
“Some uses of individual and family time are better, and others are best. We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families” (“Good, Better, Best,” 104–5, 107).
- Review the list of choices that you wrote in the first assignment, and label each of your positive choices as “good,” “better,” or “best.” Then complete the following in your scripture study journal:
Write one way in which you have been blessed for putting spiritual matters ahead of temporal concerns.
Select at least one spiritual matter that you want to focus on more, and write a goal regarding what you will do to make this spiritual matter a higher priority in your life.
Imagine you are a full-time missionary and that you are teaching an investigator who has prayed several times and feels as though Heavenly Father has not responded. The investigator is wondering if he or she should continue praying. What would you say to help this person?
As you study Luke 11, look for truths that could help someone who feels God has not answered his or her prayers.
According to Luke 11:1–4, after listening to the Savior pray, one of His disciples asked if He would teach them how to pray, and the Savior did so. The Lord then used analogies to teach additional truths about prayer. Note that in the Joseph Smith Translation of Luke 11:4 it reads, “And let us not be led unto temptation; but deliver us from evil” (Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 11:4 [in Luke 11:4, footnote c]; italics added). Heavenly Father will never lead any of His children into temptation.
Study Luke 11:5–13, looking for what the Lord taught about prayer.
The Joseph Smith Translation provides additional insights into the Savior’s teachings on prayer. We learn that before he gave the analogy that begins in Luke 11:5, “he said unto them, Your heavenly Father will not fail to give unto you whatsoever ye ask of him. And he spake a parable, saying …” (Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 11:5 [in Luke 11:5, footnote a]). We also learn about the “good gifts” He spoke about: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good gifts, through the Holy Spirit, to them who ask him” (Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 11:14 [in Luke 11:13, footnote a]).
According to Luke 11:8, why did the second friend honor the first friend’s request for bread? (The word importunity in this verse refers to the man’s persistence in pleading with him, even when his friend initially refused his request.)
Through His analogies in Luke 11:5–13, the Savior taught that if we, being imperfect, are willing to grant the requests of those we love and care about, “how much more shall [our] heavenly Father give … to them that ask him” (Luke 11:13).
What is the purpose of prayer? “Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings” (Bible Dictionary, “Prayer”).
From what you have learned from Luke 11:5–13, complete the following principle: If we pray and persistently seek Heavenly Father’s blessings in times of need, then He will, in His own time and in His own way, .
In understanding this principle we must also keep in mind that not all blessings from Heavenly Father come in the ways we expect, desire, or immediately recognize.
- Write in your scripture study journal about a time when you received an answer to your prayers as you persistently sought Heavenly Father’s blessings.
Luke 11:14–54 contains an account of Jesus casting a devil out of a man, admonishing the people to hear the word of God, and chastising the Pharisees and scribes for their spiritual ignorance and wickedness.
Consider the following questions: Have you ever wanted something so badly that you thought about it all the time? What negative effects can wanting something so much have on us?
We read in Luke 12:1–13 that “when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people” (Luke 12:1), Jesus taught His disciples to beware of hypocrisy. He taught them that all hidden things would one day be revealed and that God knows and watches over His children. He also spoke about the need for His disciples to confess His name before men and about the sin of blasphemy. A man then asked the Savior if He would speak to the man’s brother and persuade the brother to divide an inheritance with him.
Read Luke 12:14–15, looking for the Savior’s response to this request.
What warning did He give to the people?
Covetousness means to excessively desire something. From the Lord’s counsel we can learn the following truth: The Lord commands us not to covet worldly possessions. He taught that there is more to life than the physical things we acquire and that a person’s worth does not depend on the abundance of his or her possessions.
After the Savior warned His disciples to avoid covetousness, He gave a parable to illustrate the importance of this commandment. Read Luke 12:16–19, looking for the number of times the man in the parable used the words I and my. You may want to mark each instance.
What does the man’s frequent use of I and my teach you about his concerns?
In what ways might we be tempted to be like this man?
Read Luke 12:20–21, looking for what God said in response to the man’s greed and covetousness.
Consider writing or noting in your scriptures the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “What matters most is what lasts longest” (“What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 44).
If the rich man in the parable knew he would die that night and could not take his possessions with him, what do you think he might do differently the day before his death? Consider how the command to not covet worldly possessions might apply to you.
We read in Luke 12:22–30 that the Lord emphasized that His disciples did not need to be overly concerned about their temporal needs. This instruction was given to the Apostles and those who had been called to serve full time as missionaries. Read Luke 12:31–32, looking for what the Savior taught His disciples to seek after rather than focusing on their own needs and desires (see also Jacob 2:18–19).
In the Joseph Smith Translation of Luke 12:31, we learn that the Lord instructed His disciples, “Therefore seek ye to bring forth the kingdom of God” (Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 12:34 [in Luke 12:31, footnote a]; italics added). The “kingdom of God” refers to the Church of Jesus Christ. “The purpose of the Church is to prepare its members to live forever in the celestial kingdom or kingdom of heaven” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven,” scriptures.lds.org). The Savior promised His Apostles and missionaries that if they would seek to bring forth the kingdom of God, He would help provide for their needs and give them a place in His kingdom.
- Write the following principle in your scripture study journal: As we seek to do our part in bringing forth God’s kingdom and His righteousness, God will help provide for our needs and prepare a place for us in His kingdom.
Ponder some of the ways you can seek to bring forth God’s kingdom. (As you ponder this, recall the principle identified earlier in the lesson about devoting yourself to spiritual matters over temporal concerns.)
We read in Luke 12:35–59 that the Savior taught His disciples to prepare for His Second Coming. He helped them understand that “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48), and He explained that His gospel would cause great divisions among people.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Luke 10:38–12:59 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: