Unit 4, Day 1: Matthew 13:24–58

“Unit 4, Day 1: Matthew 13:24–58,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)

“Unit 4, Day 1,” New Testament Study Guide

Unit 4: Day 1

Matthew 13:24–58


The Savior used parables to teach about the kingdom of heaven, the restoration and growth of His Church in the latter days, the gathering of the righteous, and the destruction of the wicked at His Second Coming.

Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43

Jesus teaches the parable of the wheat and the tares

Consider the following questions, and write a response to the last one:

  • Have you ever felt frustrated or upset because there is so much evil in the world?

  • Why doesn’t the Lord just remove the evil that surrounds us?

  • Why should you choose to be righteous when some people around you do not seem to experience negative consequences from their unrighteous choices?

As you study Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43, look for a truth that can help you find comfort while striving to live righteously in a wicked world. After studying the account in Matthew, consider reading Doctrine and Covenants 86:1–7, where the Lord gave additional understanding to the parable of the wheat and the tares.

In Matthew 13:24–30 the Savior taught a parable about wheat and tares.

Wheat and tares

Tares are a type of poisonous weed. Wheat and tares look very similar when they sprout, but you can tell them apart once they mature.

Read Matthew 13:24–30 and the portion of the Joseph Smith Translation in Matthew 13:30, footnote b, looking for what happened to the wheat and the tares.

What happened to the wheat and the tares?

Why do you think the sower of good seed told his servants to allow the wheat and tares to “grow together until the harvest” (Matthew 13:30)?

According to the Joseph Smith Translation, which was to be gathered first—the wheat or the tares?

After the Savior gave the parable of the wheat and the tares, His disciples asked Him to explain its meaning. Read Matthew 13:36–43, looking for the Savior’s explanation of the parable. (You may want to write the answers to the following questions in your scriptures.)

  • Who sowed, or planted, the good seed?

  • Who sowed, or planted, the tares?

  • What do the wheat and tares represent? (As you answer this question, remember that the wicked are those who choose not to repent [see Doctrine and Covenants 29:17].)

The Joseph Smith Translation clarifies that the phrase “the end of the world” in verse 39 refers to the destruction of the wicked at the Savior’s Second Coming. The Joseph Smith Translation also helps us understand that in the last days the Lord will send forth angels and messengers to help separate the righteous from the wicked (see Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 13:39–44 [in the Bible appendix]).

One truth this parable teaches is that the Lord will gather the righteous during the last days and then destroy the wicked at His Coming.

Ponder how this truth might bring you comfort while living in an evil world. How can it help you understand why you should choose to be righteous when some people around you do not seem to experience negative consequences from their unrighteous choices?

Because of our agency, we determine by our choices whether we will be gathered with the righteous or suffer with the wicked. Remember that because we all make mistakes, the Savior invites us to repent so that we can be gathered with the righteous.

Read the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, looking for what he said we must do to be gathered by the Lord:

Bednar, David A.

“The Lord gathers His people when they accept Him and keep His commandments. …

“… The Lord gathers His people to worship, to build up the Church, for a defense, and to receive counsel and instruction. …

“The Prophet Joseph Smith declared that in all ages the divine purpose of gathering is to build temples so that the Lord’s children can receive the highest ordinances and thereby gain eternal life [see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 416–17]” (“The Spirit and Purpose of Gathering” [Brigham Young University–Idaho devotional, Oct. 31, 2006],

According to Elder Bednar, what do we need to do to be gathered by the Lord?

Ponder the blessings that have come into your life as you have been gathered by the Lord.

Look at the following pictures:

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Consider how these pictures illustrate what we can do to assist the Savior in gathering Heavenly Father’s children.

Read the following statement by President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Nelson, Russell M.

“This doctrine of the gathering is one of the important teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. … We not only teach this doctrine, but we participate in it. We do so as we help to gather the elect of the Lord on both sides of the veil. …

“… We gather pedigree charts, create family group sheets, and do temple work vicariously to gather individuals unto the Lord and into their families.

“Here on earth, missionary work is crucial to the gathering of Israel” (“The Gathering of Scattered Israel,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 80–81).

Ponder the blessings you have received from helping the Lord gather the righteous through missionary work and temple work.

  1. Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. How can taking part in this gathering help you live righteously despite living in a world filled with temptation and sin?

    2. What will you do to gather yourself, your family, and others to the Savior and His Church?

Matthew 13:31–35, 44–52

Jesus uses parables to teach about the kingdom of heaven

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In several different parables the Savior compared the kingdom of heaven (or His Church and gospel) to a mustard seed, leaven (leaven, or yeast, is used in cooking and is added to bread dough to help it rise before baking), hidden treasure, a pearl, and a fishing net.

  1. Read each of the following scripture passages, looking for what the Savior taught His disciples in that parable. In your scripture study journal, write what truths you think the Savior taught.

    1. Matthew 13:31–32

    2. Matthew 13:33

    3. Matthew 13:44

    4. Matthew 13:45–46

    5. Matthew 13:47–50

One truth the Savior taught in the parables of the mustard seed and leaven is that the restored Church of Jesus Christ will grow from a small beginning to fill the whole earth. Consider writing this truth in the margin of your scriptures next to Matthew 13:31–33.

Joseph F. Smith

President Joseph F. Smith taught how followers of Jesus Christ can be likened to leaven: “While it may be said, and it is in a measure true, that we are but a handful in comparison with our fellowmen in the world, yet we may be compared with the leaven of which the Savior spoke, that will eventually leaven the whole world” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 74).

Oaks, Dallin H.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also taught about this parable: “We are to live in the world but not be of the world. We must live in the world because, as Jesus taught in a parable, His kingdom is ‘like leaven,’ whose function is to raise the whole mass by its influence (see Luke 13:21; Matthew 13:33; see also 1 Corinthians 5:6–8). His followers cannot do that if they associate only with those who share their beliefs and practices” (“Loving Others and Living with Differences,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 25).

Ponder what you can do as a Latter-day Saint to help the Savior’s Church grow.

Another principle the Savior taught in the parables of the treasure in a field and the pearl of great price is that because the blessings of the gospel are of eternal value, they are worth any sacrifice. Consider writing this truth in the margin of your scriptures next to Matthew 13:44–46.

  1. To help you understand this principle, draw a two-column chart in your scripture study journal. Label one column Blessings of the gospel, and label the other column Sacrifices to obtain blessings.

    In the “Blessings of the gospel” column, list some of the blessings of the gospel (examples may include knowledge from the scriptures, guidance from living prophets, saving ordinances, and eternal marriage). For each blessing listed, in the “Sacrifices to obtain blessings” column, write what sacrifices you may need to make to obtain that blessing. For example, to receive the blessing of Knowledge from the scriptures, we need to Search the scriptures daily.

Consider the blessings you listed, and ponder why obtaining those blessings is worth any sacrifice that may be required.

  1. Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. What blessing of the gospel do you desire to obtain?

    2. Why do you desire that blessing?

    3. How might you have to sacrifice to receive that blessing?

Matthew 13:53–58

Jesus teaches in Nazareth and is rejected by His own people

As recorded in Matthew 13:53–58, the people of Nazareth rejected the Savior and His teachings. As a result of their unbelief, the Savior was unable to perform many miracles among them.

Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth
  1. Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Matthew 13:24–58 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: