“Unit 1: Day 3, The Role of the Learner,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 1: Day 3,” Old Testament Study Guide
This lesson can help you understand and fulfill your role in learning the gospel. To understand your role, you must also understand the roles of the Holy Ghost and the teacher. You may need to review the principles taught in this lesson regularly to remember your responsibility in gospel learning.
Think of a team sport or activity that is popular where you live. What is the objective of that sport or activity? How does the team succeed at accomplishing that objective?
On a piece of paper draw a diagram of the playing field or court of that sport, and put an X where each player would be positioned. What do you think is the most important position on the team? What position do you think is the least important? What would happen if you erased either of those positions from your team and then tried to compete?
It is important for each player to understand and fulfill the responsibilities of his or her position in order for the team to be successful in achieving its objective. Being in seminary is like being on a team.
The purpose of seminary is “to help youth and young adults understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven” (“The Objective of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion,” Gospel Teaching and Learning: A Handbook for Teachers and Leaders in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion , x).
Consider writing this statement in the front of your scripture study journal. Read the statement aloud, and ponder what you can gain as you participate in seminary.
- After pondering the statement and the purpose of seminary, consider one of the outcomes you most want in your life. In your scripture study journal, write what the outcome is, why you want that outcome, and what you think you have to do to attain it.
Receiving the blessings from participation in seminary in individual home study, in class, and in other gospel settings requires the influence and efforts of three different individuals, each with a unique role to fill in the process.
- Write the headings Holy Ghost, Teacher, and Student across a page of your scripture study journal.
Which position or role do you think is the most important? Which do you think is the least important? What would happen if one of these individuals were removed from your seminary experience?
You have the primary responsibility for your own learning. No one can learn for you, and no one can force you to learn. The more you choose to fulfill your role as a learner, the more influence you will feel from the Holy Ghost. When you feel the Holy Ghost, greater gospel learning will take place. However, if you choose not to fulfill your role, neither the Holy Ghost nor your teacher will be able to force you to learn the gospel.
In order for you to better understand your role in gospel learning, you need to understand the roles of the Holy Ghost and the teacher.
What role do you think the Holy Ghost plays in your seminary experience?
Read 2 Nephi 33:1, looking for what the power of the Holy Ghost does.
According to this verse, what is the role of the Holy Ghost when gospel truths are being taught? Answer this question by completing the following doctrine: The Holy Ghost carries .
Write your completed statement under the heading “Holy Ghost” in your scripture study journal.
What do you think might happen to your experience in seminary if you do not invite the Holy Ghost to be with you?
A story in the Old Testament can help you better understand the role of the Holy Ghost. The prophet Elijah was discouraged because of the wickedness of the people. The Lord communicated with him as he stood atop a mountain. Read 1 Kings 19:11–13, looking for how the Lord communicated with Elijah on this occasion. How does knowing that the Lord communicates with us through the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost help you as you try to learn by the power of the Holy Ghost? How does knowing how the Holy Ghost speaks help you?
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ speak to us: “Please know that your Father in Heaven loves you and so does His Only Begotten Son. When They speak to you—and They will—it will not be in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but it will be with a voice still and small, a voice tender and kind” (“The Tongue of Angels,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 18).
The phrase “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) may sometimes be misunderstood to mean only a voice that is heard with the ears. The Holy Ghost commonly works through feelings, such as love, joy, peace, and goodness (see Galatians 5:22–23). You can feel the enlarging, enlightening, and expanding influence of the Spirit as you learn gospel principles (see Alma 32:28, 34). These feelings and influences can also be described as the still, small voice.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why do you think Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ speak to us through the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost?
What do you need to do to make sure you can hear the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost?
Ponder what your seminary experience will be like if you invite the Holy Ghost to help you learn the gospel.
If the role of the Holy Ghost is to carry the truth to your heart as you learn the gospel, what do you think the teacher’s role is in seminary?
Although you may not have daily interactions with a teacher, you will still meet regularly with your teacher for instruction. In addition, this manual can be considered a teacher as it guides you through your study of the Old Testament.
From these verses we learn that the Lord commands gospel teachers to teach by the Spirit. Write this truth under the heading “Teacher” in your scripture study journal.
- Ponder the characteristics of a teacher who teaches by the Spirit. What does he or she do? How do you know the teacher is teaching by the Spirit? Write your thoughts in your scripture study journal.
Now that you better understand the roles of the Holy Ghost and the teacher in accomplishing the purpose of seminary, what do you think your role is in accomplishing this purpose?
When a person lifts weights to increase muscle strength, is there any way for the weight lifter to transfer the muscle strength he or she is gaining to a person standing nearby? How might this relate to strengthening our gospel knowledge and testimony?
Read the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and underline what he taught about your role as a student:
“A learner exercising agency by acting in accordance with correct principles opens his or her heart to the Holy Ghost and invites His teaching, testifying power, and confirming witness. Learning by faith requires spiritual, mental, and physical exertion and not just passive reception. It is in the sincerity and consistency of our faith-inspired action that we indicate to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, our willingness to learn and receive instruction from the Holy Ghost …
“… A student must exercise faith and act in order to obtain the knowledge for himself or herself” (“Seek Learning by Faith,” Ensign, Sept. 2007, 64).
Write the following statement under the heading “Student” in your scripture journal: Obtaining spiritual knowledge requires effort on our part.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What are some spiritual, mental, or physical efforts you need to make to obtain spiritual knowledge?
What do you think the relationship is between you fulfilling your role in the learning process and the Holy Ghost being able to fulfill His role?
The following account from 2 Kings 5 illustrates how the role of the Holy Ghost, the role of the teacher, and your role as a student can work together to help you learn and grow:
Naaman was a Syrian army captain suffering from a disease called leprosy. A Jewish maid in his house suggested that the Israelite prophet Elisha in Samaria could heal him. Naaman and some of his soldiers journeyed to see Elisha.
Read 2 Kings 5:9–15, looking for the roles of the student, the Holy Ghost, and the teacher.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What did Naaman need to learn and do? What were the results?
Who filled the role of a teacher in this account?
How do you think the Holy Ghost might have played a role in Naaman’s experience?
- Think about times when you have felt the Spirit in seminary or in other gospel settings. In your scripture study journal, write about why you think you were able to feel the Spirit at those times. Can you identify how the Holy Ghost, the teacher, and the student each fulfilled their roles in that experience?
Think of one or two things you want to do to fulfill your role in seminary this year. Consider setting a goal to act on these desires, and write this goal in your scripture study journal or on a piece of paper. If you need help thinking of goals, consider the following ideas:
Develop a habit of daily scripture study.
Participate in activities that prepare your heart and mind for the influence of the Spirit.
Look for and write down doctrines and principles that are relevant to you.
Deepen your understanding of the scriptures through diligent study, meditation, and prayer.
Write down your questions and seek for answers that help you better understand the gospel and how it applies to your life.
Record insights, experiences, and feelings you have as you study the scriptures.
Explain and testify of the truthfulness of the gospel doctrines and principles you learn about to others.
Develop scripture study skills, such as marking, cross-referencing, and using the scripture study aids.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied “The Role of the Learner” lesson and completed it on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: